Yesterday I found an article on Apartment Therapy posted about retailers now offering “life skills” classes for millennials. There was an example in the article of a Home Depot video that teaches the viewer how to use a tape measure.
Wow. I mean seriously, wow.
Heck, when I was a kid, playing with a tape measure was a form of entertainment. I’d pull the flexible, metal ruler out, bend it into fun shapes, mainly circles, and then I’d press the button, and let it fly back into the housing, trying to keep my fingers out of the way. Now, I make a solid investment in a good tape measure that has ticks in different colors that I would never abuse because let’s face it, a good tape measure can be hard to find.
This article made me think, is the whole notion of DIY dying. And not just DIY home projects, but DIY anything. With the influx of service apps/ providers (think Shipt for groceries or Task Rabbit, now owned by IKEA), is the whole notion of getting the job done yourself fading away?
For the last two weeks, Andy and I have used the HEB curbside service. I shop for my groceries at my computer desk Sunday mornings, chose a time to pick them up, arrive at HEB, park, text my parking spot number, and like magic, my groceries are brought to my car. They even bring you booze and wine if you order it. All of this for just five bucks. Plus we get a cookie. And while we have not tried it, friends and relatives of ours have used food delivery services like Door Dash to bring them their dinner. Not because they are sick. Not because they had a car issue. Simply because they did not want to go out, they’d rather have someone else do it. However, we have tried Hello Fresh, and that gave us the opportunity to avoid coming up with a grocery list, someone else did, and a shipping company delivered the food to our house.
And it doesn’t stop at food. There are so many clothing, shoe, and cosmetics services out there that do the shopping, or product selection on your behalf, and send it to you. I tried Stitch Fix for a couple of months. At first, it was exciting having a brand-new outfit waiting at my front door that was curated “just for me.” Eventually, the outfits started to suck. Seriously, I’m 35, don’t try to dress me like I am 25. The clothing was expensive and the quality sucked. So, I stopped. I still prefer to do my own clothing and beauty products shopping.
Then there are the home services. Who knew interior decorating could become so affordable and e-based? Thanks to services like Laurel and Wolf or HomePolish, you can pay someone to design your dream space. Even stores like Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware offer these services in-store, often complimentary. When you purchase something for your home from Amazon, there is almost always the option to pay for someone to install or build whatever it is you are buying.
For the people who are design-challenged, super busy, bed-bound or whatever, I get why these services exist. There is totally a market and a need for them. If you are traveling most of the week, why spend your weekend doing lawn work? But for the people who have no excuse other than “I don’t want too,” are these services creating an even larger problem? I think it is. This is part of the reason why so much of our youth feels entitled. This is why we are ending up with kids who do not know how to use a tape measure.
The remedy? I suppose it would be to get out there and do something for yourself every once and a while. It’s surprising how satisfying doing lawn work or finding an amazing pair of shoes on clearance can be. When you designed a space and everyone tell you it looks beautiful, it feels amazing. When you cook a meal that people rave about, it’s incredibly rewarding. When you stretch a tape measure out 15 feet, hit the retract button, and not a single finger gets cut, you feel like a total boss.