Saturday, January 21, 2023

Quote of the Day (Amanda Mull, on Opening a Package in the Digital Age)

“Opening up a brand-new purchase is the carefully orchestrated emotional crescendo of the consumer experience, and it has the power to give basically anyone a dopamine hit. These opportunities used to be more isolated—maybe you went to the grocery store once a week and the mall a couple of times a month. Now, if you have an internet connection and a credit card, something new to open can always be on the way. It feels good to dig through all those layers and unearth a little treat, no matter if it’s just hair dye or sweatpants….

“This phenomenon has only accelerated as Americans have shifted more of their consumption online, where they can’t touch or smell or otherwise size things up the way they would in a store. On the internet, packaged products are often judged by how attractive they look in photos, and there’s no shortage of alternatives on offer. As the sheer number of consumer choices has grown exponentially, the purposes that packaging serves have grown more intricate. At this peculiar moment in American consumer history, the experience of opening and handling a purchase can be more important than the thing itself.”— Amanda Mull, “Unwrappers' Delight,” The Atlantic, December 2021

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