Positional Gift Wrap

One of the concepts I recall from economics is that of a "positional good." The value of such an item is not intrinsic but based on its exclusivity -- the fact that there aren't too many others around with the same. That is the appeal of limited editions and a slot in the "in" group, whether it is a school, neighborhood, or country club. The concept also applies to a quality that marks something as more desirable. Consequently, I would apply it to a type of gift wrap that has become popular in recent years -- the type that does not conceal the gift within colored paper but puts it on display with clear plastic and artificial flowers as trim. I first encountered this style of gift wrap at a particular Brooklyn store, which made it a type of signature of theirs. Gift buyers opted for this type of wrapping because it made their gifts so conspicuous when on display at vorts and such where people have reverted to the tradition of publicly exhibiting their gifts. But the thing about a positional good is that it loses its value when others take on the same aspect. Thus if everyone is giving glasses or silverware artistically arranged with some pink or red fabric roses and ribbon, your particular set no longer stands out. In fact, I have noted that many stores now are using the exact same style of gift wrap. In fact one store on Central Avenue has just such a display in its window. So for those in pursuit of positional advantage with respect to gift wrap will find that this style of gift wrap will no longer do the trick. I wonder what could be next? Perhaps the gifts will have to announce themselves audibly with digital recordings built into the flowers.


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