“Look,” she told me one day in a Millsport coffeehouse, “Shopping – actual, physical shopping could have been phased out centuries ago if they’d wanted it that way”
“People. Society.” She waved a hand impatiently. “Whoever. They had the capacity back then. Mail order, virtual supermarkets, automated debiting systems. It could have been done and it never happened. What does that tell you?”
At twenty-two years old, a Marine Corp grunt via the street gangs of Newpest, it told me nothing. Carlyle took in my blank look and sighed.
“It tells you people like shopping. That it satisfies a basic, acquisitive need at a genetic level. Something we inherited from our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Oh, you’ve got automated convenience shopping for basic household items, mechanical food distribution systems for the marginalized poor. But you’ve also got a massive proliferation of commercial hives and speciality markets in food and crafts that people physically have to go to. Now why would they do that, if they didn’t enjoy it?”
I probably shrugged, maintaining my youthful cool.
“Shopping is physical interaction, exercise of decision-making capacity, sating of the desire to acquire, and an impulse to more acquisition, a scouting urge. It’s so basically fucking human when you think about it. You’ve got to learn to love it, Tak. I mean you can cross the whole archipelago on a hover; you never even need to get wet. But that doesn’t take the basic pleasure out of swimming, does it? Learn to shop well, Tak. Get flexible. Enjoy the uncertainty.” — Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon
I’m going to call this Product Design Principle #1. When building something new, exploit an urge that’s so basically fucking human that people can’t help but not do it.