élite statius-ism.

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  • May 1, 2014

I have no idea if he’s right about Silvercar. But as some­one who used to have all kinds of élite sta­tus with all kinds of travel com­pa­nies, I can tes­tify to the big­ger truths he’s get­ting at.

The Future of Luxury: Avoiding People:

When Silvercar sells you car rental that “doesn’t suck,” they’re really sell­ing you car rental that doesn’t involve ordi­nary peo­ple, that end arounds the inef­fi­cien­cies of large-scale prac­tice by buy­ing out of it. The truth is, Hertz doesn’t suck. Avis doesn’t suck. Sure, things about them suck, like the usu­ri­ous fuel charges they impose if you return a car with­out refill­ing its tank… It’s not car rental that sucks, but deal­ing with the every­man, being in his pres­ence, even know­ing he exists…

This isn’t a busi­ness meant for the pub­lic any­way. It’s a tech startup ulti­mately des­tined to ser­vice the beau monde élite pro­duced by enter­tain­ment, by energy, by finance, by other tech star­tups. A lux­ury car only gets to be a lux­ury if not every­body gets one…

My dri­ver pulls up to the Delta ter­mi­nal, curb­side, directly in front of the Medallion pri­or­ity check-in (I nod as he asks, “You have pri­or­ity with Delta, right?”). I check in for my flight—my upgrade had cleared—and head to the Delta SkyClub to cash in on unearned elit­ism. As I sit in the quiet of the lounge sip­ping my com­pli­men­tary latte, I try to remind myself how good I have it. How can I even tell this story, full of priv­i­lege and for­tune? Few will empathize with me and my priv­i­leged upper middle-class lifestyle perks, nor should they.

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