The ‘Instant Gratification Economy’

At Re/code, Liz Gannes kicks off a special series exploring the “instant gratification economy,” which is driven by tech companies creating apps allowing you to instantly access almost anything you can think of — transportation (Uber), takeout delivery (Seamless), groceries (Instacart) dry-cleaning (Washio), makeup and blowouts (Glam Squad), medical marijuana (Eaze) — and have it delivered to you immediately.

Perhaps it’s because I prefer to do some things myself (laundry and grocery shopping) and save money (taking public transit rather than ordering car services), because I’ve managed to avoid using many of these kinds of apps (plus, some of these services are only available in San Francisco, or select large cities). They also make it easy for you to part with your money.

“I need to delete the Uber app from my phone,” a friend told me recently. “I got a new job and I use it constantly — lifestyle creep! Before, I used to plan my time so I could take the subway, but now I think, ‘Oh, I’ll just order a car.’”

And perhaps ease is the allure and the danger of these new companies — like buying a bunch of music on iTunes without thinking about what the bill will be later. Instant gratification can be nice, if you don’t think about the price.


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