FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Best Experiences Money Can Buy

Need a holiday gift for the man or woman who has everything? Instead of falling back on the candy that won't be eaten, the gadget that will be broken or lost, or the sweater that will be regifted, give them an experience they'll never forget.

The retail trendwatching firm Springwise has zeroed in on the trend toward "experience stores," cropping up precisely because, in our affluent economy and a $250 billion-a-year gift-giving market, we're simply running out of clever stuff to give to each other (or ourselves).

Simply purchase a gift card or certificate for the experience of your choice, whether it be hypnosis, personal fitness training, make-up instruction, floral arrangement, an arts-and-crafts activity, or a glamour photo shoot. Experiences are available for all interests and budgets, but for those with a taste for the exotic, consider a chance to drive a NASCAR racer or fly in a Russian fighter jet.

If you're not careful, you may be able to get some experiences for free. Credit cards such as Diners' Club and American Express are allowing their customers to spend their membership points on being a rodeo clown for a day (is that a gift or a punishment?) or meeting Sting backstage.