Sunday, 17 August 2008

Market gaps

Classical economics, curse its worm-infested body, teaches us that the market will generate innovations which meet demand. Leaving aside for a moment the obvious problem with this - that there is no account of how fast such creativity will happen - my recent travels have convinced me that there is a massive opportunity at the moment for operating companies to make more money from transport. I, and I am sure many others, would pay more for a ticket in a guaranteed child free carriage on a train or cabin on a plane. After all, if I took a tuba with me on my journey, and attempted to learn how to play for the entire trip, I would quickly be silenced. But the same volume of noise can easily be created by one child. First class is no guaranteed of peace as I found out on one memorable trip to New York: the front of a 747 is not the best location for a creche. So, please Mr. Planeman, Mr. Trainman, can I please pay more for a child free trip? I rather suspect the answer will be no, not because the scheme wouldn't work, but because of the opprobrium some of the breeders would foist upon anyone who dared to suggest their dearest's screams were unwelcome: Adam Smith is no match for the pram wielding classes.



Blogger Cognitive Overload said...

Ah, but there is a solution in progress... the 'family' train carriage, a terrifying place where toddlers, crisps, sticky drinks, crayons and foolish folks who dare to stray into in on the way to the buffet mix to create crumb-spattered multicoloured mayhem. If we start a campaign to have more family carriages (or similarly family airline seats) as a special service to the bechilded, then just as 'special' family parking spaces have kept small sticky fingerprints away from my car, so too will the producers of progeny and their noise-generating offspring gravitate towards their 'special' spaces (doubtlessly whilst glaring at anyone who dares to sit within these areas without a minime in tow), leaving the rest of the train with only the wild-eyed, the hissy-headphoned and the on-spec buskers (not too much of a problem at 20000 feet, that one) to worry about (and if you're a wild-eyed hissy-headed on-spec busker, you really should be worrying. Right now). Not to mention a good idea of which seats in the transport will usually be furthest from the carnage.

That said, I like children and have travelled many times with well-behaved tots, confidently able parents and sympathetic fellow passengers (it's rough at altitude for a baby). I've also tickled or poked faces at my wonderfully boisterous and often very wild, noisy nephews until they giggled and whooped. But I'm not sure I could survive a 10-hour flight with them without some serious chemical help... pass the calpol...

8:57 pm  

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