Seth Godin recently wrote a short piece on producers and consumers. In it he noted,
In the short run, it's more fun to be a consumer. It sure seems like consumers have power. The customer is always right, of course. The consumer can walk away and shop somewhere else.
In the long run... the smart producer wins, because the consumer comes to forget how to produce. As producers consolidate (and they often do) they are the ones who ultimately set the agenda.
This got me thinking, Have opticians forgotten how to produce, how to handcraft frames, how to make repairs, how to artfully edge a pair of lenses, how to add value and personal touches to a pair of glasses, how to create a meaningful and enjoyable experience for their customers? Have opticians become little more than consumers (and passers on) of disposable frames, ready-made eyewear, and corporate marketing? If so, is it any wonder consolidating corporations call the shots, and customers see fit to bypass opticians all together?
He concludes with,
The more you produce and the more needs you meet, the more freedom you earn.
I would also add that while we (humans) tend to look for fulfillment in consumption; we are much more likely to find it in creating, producing, and contributing to the lives of those around us.