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[双语阅读] 时尚生活:还在乎曾经拥有吗?









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发表于 2010-2-26 23:51 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式


It's fun to get something new, but the thrill wears off pretty quickly, and the costs of ownership can be endless. For proponents of the anti-stuff movement, renting is in.

Having shelled out close to $700 in car repairs last month and facing a chimney repair that is creeping up to $5,000 or more, I'm fed up with the endless cost of owning stuff.

Ownership is supposed to be the key that unlocks the American dream. But there are hidden costs that no one talks about, like the constant repairs and upgrades and attention that possessions demand.

Is it any wonder that people are flocking to the small but feisty anti-stuff movement, bartering instead of buying, swapping instead of shopping and, in the latest trend, opting to rent things rather than own them at all?

All hail the new "transumerism"! It's hard to tell whether temporary materialism is any cheaper than keeping up with the Joneses, but an unfettered way of life looks awfully appealing right now.

A lease on life

What, exactly, is transumerism?

The transumer philosophy is largely based on a "leasing lifestyle," according to an analysis by Trendwatching.com, a global trend-spotting company based in the Netherlands. Rather than spending your money on individual things, which you then have to keep (suddenly an old-fashioned idea), you purchase access to an array of objects and experiences. It can save time as well as cash: The more you own, the more you have to worry about, maintain and upgrade.

"We're seeing the rejection of the accumulation society," says Kristina Dryza, a trend consultant based in London, in her report "Temporariness" (.pdf file).

Trendwatching has been tracking the lifestyle rental trend for a few years now, and CEO Reinier Evers says the worldwide recession is making nonownership more appealing.

"The 'save money' aspect of the transumer trend is definitely making it more popular," he says.

Some say it's better for you, too.

"You can get rid of the stuff that is clogging your life," said Eric Ginsberg, the vice president of marketing for BookSwim, a Netflix-like service for books. "Free it up for what you actually want now, and when you're done with those things you can go ahead and get rid of them without the constant cost and expenses."

Oh, the things you can rent!

Transumers are able to enjoy a vast and ever-changing number of experiences. For example:

* Why buy one pricey designer bag when you can rent a dozen at Bag Borrow or Steal or From Bags to Riches?

* Why pay for the upkeep of a car when you can car-share for a fraction of the cost, renting a Prius for your grocery trip, a Mini for your date and a truck for bringing home your latest Craigslist bargain? (Check out CarSharing.net to find dozens of services, like Zipcar, in cities all over the world.)

* Why buy a piece of artwork when you can adorn your home with a series of low-priced rentals from a local museum or online gallery such as Art Rent & Lease, or even free pieces on loan from a library?

Less is more in the short term

There's nothing new about renting, of course.

Renting has long been an alternative to buying things that were unaffordable or pointless to purchase because you needed them only temporarily (whether a tuxedo, pressure washer or diamond tiara for the Oscars).

But the seesawing economy has highlighted a big advantage of renting: Smaller, incremental payments are more manageable when you're worried about cash flow and job security.

Is renting really a cheaper way to go? It can be. Using a car-sharing service only when you need it can save hundreds, possibly thousands, over the full-on cost of car ownership.

When you count gas, maintenance, insurance, repairs, loan payments and depreciation, the average cost of car ownership is $8,095 a year, according to AAA. Yet the majority of cars in North America are driven only 66 minutes a day, according to a 2008 study by Susan Shaheen of the University of California, Berkeley. That works out to about $20 an hour, two to three times the hourly cost of car sharing.

But it depends on how often you rent. A Tory Burch tote (retail value $395) from Bag Borrow or Steal would cost $13 a week, plus a yearly membership fee of $60. I could swap designer purses with my own every other month for a year before catching up to the price of buying that one bag. On the other hand, if I rented a purse every week, I'd shell out about $740 in a year.

According to the old rules, I would have nothing to show for the money I'd spent. But under the transumer rules, you're not renting to own -- you're renting so that you don't have to own.

You're taste-testing, test-driving, flirting but never committing. And for some people, the parade of experiences and objects is more meaningful than purchasing them -- and therefore worth the money.

What about wearing it out?

There is something enticing about this idea of enjoying the transient pleasures of different things, rather than being wedded to certain fixed objects.

I never thought I would find myself writing this. I've been struggling for years now to follow the mantra: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

But the downside of that sort of vintage American practicality is that, ideally, you're supposed to be loyal to the same handbag and shoes and rug and sofa and house for . . . decades.

That saying is rooted in an era when many things didn't change for decades. Now a decade is an eternity. The beauty of transumerism is that it assumes you can't possibly afford to keep up with every change -- but don't want a stagnant life.
Putting your money where your life is

Lately I've found myself doing a new sort of math on the cost of owning a home and whether my financial and life priorities are adding up.

We have about $50,000 sunk into our house (although it wouldn't be doing much better in the market). Our mortgage and taxes come to an affordable $1,350 per month. But that doesn't include the long list of repairs the house requires -- thousands of dollars' worth and counting.

And with a 95-year-old house, the repairs aren't likely to lessen over time. They'll just be different each year.

This past week, faced with all these expenses, I found myself considering a radical new approach to our lives:

What if we shared the ownership of this old house (and all its repairs) with two or three other families? That would dramatically ease the financial drag of maintaining one big home (buh-bye, American dream). We could rent a small apartment and ditch our car for an occasional car share. Then we could spend our money on seeing the world and doing things (such as visiting friends) instead of on chimneys and deck repairs and paint jobs and transmissions.

That's true transumerism: You divest yourself of costly material goods and put your money where your life is.

I'm not saying I want to rent objets d'art and designer duds to make myself look fancy. But maybe the rental lifestyle offers a new way to spend money on what you really want.










“我们目睹着‘堆积社会’被拒绝”,来自伦敦的潮流顾问克里斯蒂娜·扎拉萨(Kristina Dryza)在她的报告《临时性》中写道。

Trendwatching已经对生活方式上的租赁潮流做了好几年的追踪,其首席执行官克拉克曼·埃弗斯(Reinier Evers)表示,世界性的衰退让“不拥有”变得更有吸引力。



埃里克·金斯伯格(Eric Ginsberg)是和Netflix类似的图书租赁公司BookSwim的市场营销副总裁,他说:“你可以丢掉一切阻碍了你的生活的东西,为你现在正想要的东西腾出空间,然后当你用完的时候,你又可以摆脱这些它们继续向前,不用负担那些持续的成本和费用。”



-当你可以在Bag Borrow or Steal或者From Bags to Riches那里租来十数个设计师品牌挎包时,你为啥还要付大把的钱来买一个呢?

-当你可以拿出相当于维修费中一小部分的钱来租车,弄辆普锐斯去一趟杂货店,弄辆Mini去约会或者弄辆货车把你在Craigslist 上买的便宜货给拉回来的时候,你干嘛还要花钱维修汽车呢?(你可以在和Zipcar类似的CarSharing.net上找到好些在世界各个城市都能享受的服务)

-当你可以从当地博物馆或者诸如Art Rent & Lease的在线画廊低价租来一系列的艺术品,甚至可以从图书馆免费借来艺术品的时候,你作甚还要掏钱去买它们用以装饰家居?






根据AAA公司的统计,当你把汽油钱、维护费、保险费、修理费、偿还贷款额以及折旧计算进去的时候,拥有一辆车一年平均要花去8095美元。然而,加州大学伯克利分校的苏珊·沙欣(Susan Shaheen)在2008年所作的一项调查表明,北美大部分汽车每天只行驶66分钟,这让每小时行驶的成本达到20美元,相当于每小时租车费用的两到三倍。

但(是不是省钱)要看你多久租一次了。去Bag Borrow or Steal租一只零售价为395美元的Tory Burch tote挎包大约每周花费13美元,另加年度会员费60美元。我可以把设计师出品和我自己的手袋每隔一个月轮换着来用,一年下来花的钱肯定比买一只那样的手袋来得少;另一方面,要是我每周都要租一个手袋,那一年下来我可能要花上740美元。

















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