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Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

Probably one of the most memorable openings ever in English literature was written by Charles Dickens in ‘A Tale of Two Cities’.

A fuller quote reads: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way’.

In these words did Charles Dickens so eloquently describe the parody of life – that paroxical tapestry containing both greatness and stupidity, of good and evil, of optimism and negativity. And those contradictions can be found not just around us but within us too. We have our moments of generousity and other moments of callousness, moments of profundity and clear thinking and other moments of murkiness and indecisiveness. Moments where the world looks like a bight place and other times where everything looks despairingly bad.

If we are to believe the media, we are certainly living right now in the worst of times. Economic doom and gloom is all that they see on the horizon. But Dickens’ timeless words are equally as applicable today as they were back when he wrote them. So it is quite likely that we are living both in the worst of times and in the best of times and that there is a silver lining to the current economic situation.

It turns out that those heady days of constantly rising asset prices that existed before the recession hit was just a bubble after all. But living in a bubble is living a lie of make-believe. Ultimtely human beings are far happier with the truth even when that truth is not as pretty as the deception.

So how has the recession affected us in a positive way and how are we in fact living in the best of times? The following report from ‘Visit Britain’ is very illuminating in that it holds up a mirror to our innermost thoughts and desires particularly the desire to get back to the basics of defining and living a good life.

Their meticulously compiled report which utilises source material from Trendwatching.com is titled ‘Overseas Visitors to Britain – Understanding Trends, Attitudes and Characteristics – September 2010’ and makes very interesting reading. Here is an excerpt:

‘Savvy consumers in advanced economies know the difference between brands who want to sell happiness and brands that want to facilitate it, and they will endorse those brands that help them find and create happiness within themselves. Values that cannot be bought such as family, love, and friendship are very much at the forefront.’

‘This provides a challenge for companies to capture such emotions in their products. Brands would do well to associate themselves with something carefree, possibly to the extent that it makes people “feel like a child again”.’

‘There has been a definite shift towards “simpler lives” as a backlash against extreme consumption. Consumers are realising that having more doesn’t necessarily make us any happier. Consumers are becoming more focussed on what makes them happy and are finding that true happiness comes from a life that acknowledges the good in the small and everyday, that finds happiness in the now and the present, that sees worth and abundance in what we already have and feels prosperous in the simple presence of life and nature, friends and family.’

‘As a result consumers are starting to consume less and really examine what they buy. There is a realisation that a constant desire for more, new, fashionable stuff is not necessarily the road to a happy and fulfilled life. Similarly consumers are trying to “make do” with things they already have, as much of what we throw out or replace is based on perceived obsolescence. Look after, fix up and make-do has become the new craze. Sharing, borrowing and renting has also become trendy. There is an acknowledgement that we don’t need to buy items we rarely use and most things are available to borrow or rent. This in turn reduces clutter in our homes, saves money and reduces waste.’

‘Shopping has become a worldwide pastime or even hobby. On the weekends the shopping centres and malls are filled with people eager to spend hard earned money on all kinds of stuff. The more time we spend surrounded by stuff to buy the more likely we are to buy it. However as consumers strive to become more satisfied with less, it is likely that shopping will be swopped for alternatives such as visiting art galleries or museums, the park or a walk in the countryside.’

So, in essence there is much that is positive about our current situation. As a group we are being more real, honest and in touch about what constitutes ‘the good life’.

Every company working in the retail or tourist trade would do well to consider the content of the above when considering how best to market themselves. We at www.goodwheelrentabike.co.uk certainly emphasie the various aspects of our product that has wide appeal for the consumer which are: a value for money bike rental service, the uplifting feeling of being out in the great outdoors getting plenty of fresh air and exercise and the opportunity to meet people, engage socially and feel the rhythm of the city when out in the open.

We hope you indeed find fulfillment in these simple  pleasures of life.