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Paying to Be In the Company We Prefer to Keep

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Sat in sunny Rhodes, I am acutely aware that the families sitting in the 'deluxe' area of the resort have one unspoken benefit. They have paid to be amongst the sort of company they prefer to keep.

In every other regard they have the same holiday: the same accommodation; access to the same food; and an opportunity to 'enjoy' the same entertainment.

Separated from the masses by the merest of lilac wrist band, they can lounge like lizards without being bothered by the ignorant masses with their tattoos and surplus children.

I believe much of my purchasing power is invested in similar strategies of avoidance. The motivation to buy is not driven by the primary benefit of the service on offer. But by the desire to escape the vast swathes of people that blight the world with their leggings and bad highlights.

Private schooling is a perfect example. I am sick of state sector parents that: turn up late; have scruffy kids in the wrong uniform; fail to fill in forms; do not pay their voluntary contribution (despite the fact their kids are replete with iPhones); do not ensure home learning is completed; and do not value school.

I am paying for my children to be with children whose parents are investing time, energy and attention in helping their children to succeed. I am paying to be away from the lethargic and the lame.

A more domestic example is grocery shopping on-line, promoted as convenient alternative for those with time sensitive lives.

We know it takes ages to shop on line. Being at home to receive groceries is inconvenient. The goods are never as good as we would self select in store.

But the benefit is that we haven't had to dally in the aisles with Shelia and her bingo wings. Or Shirley and her ankle tights.

It may not be terribly British to talk about it. We may still listen to the benefits of a service with a knowing nod and a tap to the nose.

But many of us are prepared to pay to restrict the people we interact with to a class of company we prefer to keep.

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