Synergic Consumption

By Timothy Wilken The following is an excerpt from a new book being readied for publication. It is provided to you in synergic trust.

Trust is not a new word for humanity. It was coined long ago when the world was first dominated by the adversary way.

Trust –def-> Trust meant that I could rely on you not to hurt me. It was safe to assume that you were not my enemy. Trust meant the ability to rely on the absence of a negative.

Synergic Trust –def-> Synergic trust means that I can rely on you not to hurt me, but further, I can rely on you to help me. It is safe to assume that you are not my enemy, and to futher assume that you are my friend. Synergic trust is more than the ability to rely on the absence of a negative. It is that, plus the ability to rely on the presence of a positive.


Individual Actions

Even though we humans are an interdependent class of life, we choose our actions based not on what we are, but on what we think we are. Today, modern humans are convinced they are an independent form of life. This deep belief in human independence means that most modern humans seek to meet their needs as individuals and make their choices independently of their fellow humans.

In our present culture humans meet their needs by purchasing products and services as independent individuals. In todays fair market there are providers of products and services and there are consumers. Both the providers and the consumers for the most part think of themselves as independent and make their choices without great awareness of what others are doing.

In today’s marketplace, the providers and consumers meet only in the retail space. They have little or no direct relationship with each other. In this ignorance, both are for all extent and purposes blind and ignorant. The provider doesn’t know his consumers let alone what they might need or when they might need it. And often the consumer don’t know the providers.

Birds Eye View

Let us imagine an aerial view of our community on an average evening at 10:00pm. Looking down we notice that within one square mile there are several small convenience stores open from seven to eleven. These small stores are all competing with each other as well as with larger supermarkets now staying open 24 hours in order to compete with them. At this hour of night there are only a few available customers to be divided up among all these providers.

Each store is paying one or more clerks to staff the store, plus the costs for lighting and heating each store. From our view above our community it is obvious that most of the clerks could be sent home and most of the stores closed and still allow every customer seeking products and services at that hour to get what they needed. This would also produce enormous savings for this group of providers. To all stay open, the providers must pass the costs of doing business on to their customers, so this means that the prices in all of these stores is higher to subsidize this inefficiency.

Why is this happening? In today’s world, we mostly ignore each other. After all, we are all independent. Each individual is supposed to look out for himself. So there is little communication between provider and consumer. The providers are keeping the stores open in hopes that someone will need something. If they were communicating with their customers, they would know when to be open and when they could close. They could then operate much more efficiently.

Now imagine that this same inefficient process is going on with many different kinds of products in every community in our nation and you start to sense the enormous amount of wasted time and money.

Lets return for a moment to our bird’s eye view of our community. Only this time let us imagine a time lapse video camera above our neighborhood. Imagine, a family of four two adults and two older teenagers in local college having four automobiles. If we focus the video camera on the garage and parking area next to their home we would discover that there are times when there are no cars at home. Meaning the family has four cars in use. Sometimes there is one car parked?meaning three cars are in use. Sometimes there are two cars parked?meaning two cars are in use. Sometimes there are three cars parked meaning?meaning only one car is in use. And sometimes we will find all four cars parked?meaning this family has no cars in use.

Now careful analysis of our time lapse photography will reveal that this family is on average making use of only only 1.8 cars?this means that on average 2.2 cars are always parked and not in use. Yet this family is making payments on four cars, paying insurance and taxes on four cars, and experiencing depreciation on the value of four cars whether the cars are in use or not. And, this is without considering the expense of operating the cars. Since most modern humans solve all their problems as individuals, they have chosen the most expensive solution possible.

Now if we move our time lapse camera higher, we discovery that this same phenomena is occurring at every home in the neighborhood. If we examine all the homes within just a few blocks we discover that there are always cars in the neighborhood that are not in use.

Now as we continue to watch we see that often the members of this community are going to the same place. They all go to the same supermarket, they all rent from the same video store. They use the same post office, and drug store. As we watch we discover that often one individual will make the same trip to the same place maybe only a few minutes later then a neighbor. Again we see that solving our problems individually means that we have chosen the most expensive option. We are doing this because in our neutral culture we don’t even know  our neighbors let alone when their transportation needs are.

Now if we move our aerial time lapse camera high enough to see the entire community, we can now see the parking lots at stores, supermarkets, shopping centers, places of work and schools. And again at any one time most of the cars are parked.

We also discover that one individual living at the north edge of the community is driving to the south edge of the community to his work in a retail store. While another individual is passes him going in the opposite direction, this individual lives on the south edge of the community and is driving to work on the north edge of the community to a similar job. Of course neither individual knows the other. Or even how similar and paradoxical their situation is.

We could also analyze these same neighborhoods and discover that each garage contains a lawn mower and numerous tools that are only being used once every two weeks and all of these tools are expensive and require maintenance. I would imagine that in the neighborhood I live in that on any given moment ninety five percent of the tools in our garages are not in use.

Individual Actions are Expensive

This current reality guarantees that we pay the highest price for the products and services we need, and usually with the great inconvenience in terms of time and expense spend physically acquiring those same needs, since we must also include the cost of travel and the value of our time wasted in just physically acquiring our products and services.

In any average week if we total the time and expense involved in making multiple trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, hardware store, nursery, dry cleaners, video shop, post office, etc. etc. etc… Remember to add the cost of individual transportation with each individual acquiring, maintaining, insuring, and operating their own car. And, then we must consider our consumption of fossil fuels and pollution of our environment. It would be hard to imagine a system that could be more expensive and inconvenient than our present reality.


Co-OPERATION

While limited forms of cooperation are and have been used in the production of both products and services. Co-Operation is almost non-existent in product and service consumption. Almost all of us consume as individuals.

This has several effects. It insures that the prices we pay for products and services are much higher than they have to be. It further insures that the hidden costs we pay in time and expense related to simply acquiring needed products and services is also much higher.

Synergic relationship is the win-win relationship. We first discover synergic relationship in the microscopic universe. It is the basis of human cellular organization. Each of us has approximately 40 trillion cells organized within our bodies. These cells are related synergically, each acting in a highly co-Operative way.

Synergic relationship becomes available to human individuals because of our human intelligence. Our ability to invent and to understand new ways of doing things creates a new possibility for co-Operation which does not exist in the world of the plants and animals.

Co-OPERATION  -def-> Operating together to insure that both parties win and that neither party loses. The negotiation to insure that both parties are helped and that neither party is hurt.

Here are some examples of how Co-Operative Action might be used in the future by consumers to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
 

Co-Operative Videotape Rentals

The provider of videotape rentals operates much as to all small stores in our communities. The provider must select those available tapes which he feels will be popular and then make them available for rental. He keeps is store open long hours for the convenience of his customers, which travel on a regular basis to pick-up and drop-off tapes. This of course results in lots of travel time and expense for the consumer, and if the consumer fails to have time to view the tape and is late in returning it they are charged significant late fees.

Now imagine this alternative scenario. Instead of going to the video store you connect to the store via a web page on the internet. The available video tapes are listed with images from the movies, a list of actors, and even reviews.  You select the tapes you want to rent. And they are delivered to your home.

You have a locked delivery box outside your home in which you can retrieve new tapes when you order, and return for pick up when you are finished.

Co-Operative Consumption means that in addition to this scale of convenience, the provider and consumer now have a synergic and intelligent relation. Using the same internet web page technology. The provider would query their customers as to which new releases of tapes they would be willing to rent. These choices again provided with images, list of actors, and reviews. You could select one of three choices?Yes, Maybe, No. This information will allow the provider to  order appropriate numbers of new tapes to fill the needs of their customers. Also, if your choices were popular and these tapes would be viewed many times, you could realize a rental at much lower cost. And, if your selection was unpopular, i.e. you were the only one wanting to see a particular tape, then cost of rental could equal the cost of the tape itself.

This is what is meant by an intelligent relationship with the provider.

The implications of this alternative are great in reducing the cost of rentals, increasing the likelihood that those tapes you are interested in are available, and with all the loss in time and inconvenience, let alone cost of picking up and dropping off tapes eliminated.

If this becomes the primary mechanism of videotape rental. The provider can close the Video Store in the high rent district and operate out of a low cost wherehouse with delivery vans reducing the costs even more. Now imagine, how this same process could be be applied to many other products or groups of products.
 

Co-Operative grocery shopping

Recently a new company has created  a prototype for what I am recommending.

Peapod is an online virtual grocery store now available on the internet. You connect to a web page on the internet where you select and purchase items you would like delivered to your home. Peapod uses professional shoppers to go out to major supermarkets and drug stores in your community, and then delivery those items right to your door. Their supermarket partners include Jewel/Osco in Chicago, Kroger in Columbus, Randalls in Houston and Austin, Stop & Shop in Boston, Safeway in San Francisco, and Tom Thumb in Dallas. In Peapod’s own words:

You place the order …
And soon you’ll be cruising the aisles of our virtual store. Selecting from the most popular products and brands you would find if you shopped in the store yourself. You will have thousands of products to choose from, including meat, produce, drug store and specialty items.

We shop for you …
Your grocery order receives personal attention from Peapod’s professional shoppers. They make sure everything you ordered is exactly as you would expect—fresh, healthy, and temperature-controlled. At Peapod we pride ourselves on picking only the highest quality meat and produce available. In fact, we have trained Produce Specialists whose only job is to pick the highest quality produce available in the store.

We deliver your groceries when it’s convenient for you…
Peapod delivers groceries to your door any day of the week — you choose the delivery time that’s convenient for you. Peapod guarantees that your groceries will be there, and that you’ll receive friendly service every step of the way.

The same high quality groceries you would select yourself
  ïChoose from thousands of name brands — the same ones you buy at your
   local grocer and drugstore
  ïCertified professional shoppers shop for your order, including Produce
   Specialists who hand-pick only the best fruits and vegetables using Produce
   Marketing Association standards
  ïItems stay fresh (or frozen) with temperature controlled delivery containers

Convenient shopping, we guarantee it
  ïNo bad weather, no traffic, no parking, no lugging, no rushing, no stress
  ïOrder 24 hours a day, 365 days a year ? from anywhere
  ïPeapod promises to provide friendly and superior service to every one of its
   customers, and we guarantee every order we deliver

Never create a shopping list from scratch again
  ïYou can always review your last three grocery orders — we keep them for you
  ïCreate individual shopping lists to fit your unique household needs

You’ll never need to go to the grocery store again
  ïPeapod can take care of all your shopping needs so you never have to go to
   the grocery or drugstore
  ïOur professional shoppers and delivery people work together to ensure that
   your order is just what you want, when you want it

Shop for a week’s worth of groceries in about 20 minutes
  ïBrowse virtual aisles, just as you would in a conventional grocery store
  ïLocate a specific item or brand in seconds by using innovative features like
   “Find Item”

FDA nutritional information at your fingertips
  ïReview the FDA nutritional labels for thousands of items while you shop
  ïClick to sort lists of foods by criteria such as fat, cholesterol, sodium, Kosher, etc.

Choose a delivery time that is convenient for you
  ïNext-day delivery, in most cases
  ïArrange for delivery to your home, 7 days a week
  ïIf Peapod ever makes a mistake, we’ll make it right

Save money and time
  ïInstantly sort groups of items by unit price to get the best value
  ïRedeem paper, store circular, and electronic coupons
  ï Stay within budget ? Peapod displays a running total of your order as you shop

Were here to help
  ïTrained Technical Support Specialists are there when you need them
  ïCustomer Care Specialists handle all customer service inquiries
  ïOne call does it all! 1-800-5-PEAPOD (1-800-573-2763), or e-mail us

You can experience Peapod for yourself. While the service is only available in few cities at this time, they have a demo store which allows you to see what it would be like: Their internet address is (http://www.peapod.com/). In the San Francisco Bay Area there is a recent competitor at (http://www.vanweb.com/).

Now Peapod is an step in the right direction. But they are only going part of the way. As their customer base stabilizes, they would soon be able to know exactly what their customers need and begin realizing more significant savings by purchasing scale. They could even dispense with the retail stores altogether purchasing wholesale. Some of these savings can be passed onto to the consumers with the elimination of retail stores and expensive parking lots in high rent areas etc. etc. etc..

Co-Operative Neighborhood Garages

Imagine purchasing a membership in a modern community garage within easy walking distance of your home. This garage could have a variety of automobiles that would be available for your use anytime day or night. The garage would be clean, well lighted, and safe. It would be staffed 24 hours a day, the automobiles would always be clean, serviced and full of gas.

Using either computer or telephone you could reserve a car for your own personal use. The garage could easily have many different types of vehicles available to serve your particular needs. You could reserve a station wagon, sports car, utility vehicle, or limousine. The garage could also run shuttle services to those destinations that were commonly and frequently requested.

The number of automobiles needed to meet the needs of the members co-Operatively would be much fewer than the number needed for the same members individually. Total costs would be much reduced and the secondary advantages would be tremendous.

On those occasions when all the cars happened to be in use, transportation needs could be supplemented by taxies or rental cars arranged by the garage.

What would the cost of such a service be. Well first, realize that “attached garage” now a part of almost every home could be eliminated or turned into additional living space. Your cost of membership would be reflective of you use of automobiles. I would expect most families would experience major savings. Those very heavy needs for an automobile would find the costs to approach the same costs as owning their own automobile.

Now there is no reason the Co-Operative Garage should just offer automobiles. It could also provide garden tractors, lawn mowers, and tools of all kinds. The extent and value of co-Operative action is limited only by your imagination.


What is the size of your Biosphere?

Science defines the term biosphere as that environmental zone wherein a living organism can meet its needs and act to survive.

How large is your current biosphere?

How far do you have to travel to meet your needs. If you get out a map and place your home in the center and draw a circle with a radius of large enough to enclose all of the stores and businesses you visit to meet your needs. This is your biosphere. The larger it is the more expensive and time consuming you life is.

If you are seeking to save time and expense, reduce the size of your biosphere.

Co-Operative Actions are a powerful way to reduce the size of your biosphere. The savings individually and collectively are enormous. This will quickly translate into a major increase in the quality of one’s life.

Time is the most valuable commodity that any human being can have.

By this I mean time spend doing what you want do do. This does not include time spent working for others, nor time spent transporting yourself or your family, nor the time spent physically acquiring the products and services you need to survive and enjoy life.

Integrated Communities

Another prototype for future living that takes advantage of co-Operative action is the emergence of integrated communities. Integrated communities defined as those unitary environments structured so that the residents there can live, work, and recreate in one safe and pleasant place with all activities within easy walking distance. Integrated communites will offer their residents the greatest savings of time and expense. As integrated communities becomes available, I predict they will be so attractive that humans will move almost anywhere to live in them.