Yesterday, we annoyed a large contingent of the easily annoyed population with our column about people not understanding the difference between wants and needs.
Actually, our column was about the absence of ride-services such as Uber and Lyft — services we’ve enjoyed and aren’t opposed to, by the way.
Specifically, the column was about inconvenienced people, many of them journalists oddly enough, taking to social media to vent their frustrations about long taxi lineups at the airport, and resorting to the common refrain “We NEED ride sharing NOW!”
And that’s what we took umbrage with — the notion that people need it, and the levels of exasperation used in expressing this fallacy.
We’d like Wi-Fi that actually works whenever we take BC Ferries, but are we complaining on social media that “We NEED Wi-Fi on BC Ferries NOW”?
Partially because the crappy Wi-Fi prevents us from using social media on our ferry rides, but mostly because it’s a convenience we want rather than one we actually need.
Let’s use another analogy: Insta-pots.
They’re supposedly great and convenient and can cook a chicken in a fraction of the time as a clunky old oven, and we didn’t even know they existed until a few years ago. But imagine that the government hasn’t let Insta-pots on the market just yet because they want to properly vet them, or maybe the government is in the pocket of the oven industry and is dragging its feet. Whatever the case, just because you don’t have the convenience of an Insta-pot like your neighbours to the south doesn’t mean you NEED one — and no amount of taking pictures of your food cooking agonizingly slowly in an oven and posting it on the internet with a snarky comment is going to change that.
Which brings us to our last point: privilege.
Not everyone can afford the luxury of taking a taxi or ride-sharing service. And those who work in those jobs don’t make a heck of a lot of money. So instead of demanding the expansion of a low-paying industry where there’s no stability or benefits to better serve you and make your life more convenient, and conflating what you need with what you want, why not put your energy into publicly calling for improved job conditions in that industry or better public transit or later hours for the SkyTrain — something that benefits more than just you.