One's Staple is another's Scarcity

I noticed families of construction workers, living close to where we stay, slaving at a fire in the process of cooking. It was meat they were smoking. And my instant thought was, what an irony! The very same smoked preparations appear on snobby restaurant menus as delicacies at premium prices.

Its easy to see why.

It isn't easy for the rich to come by what's staple for the poor. The scarcity thus felt poses an opportunity that's been cashed in. The food's smoked delicately, garnished finely and served. A hefty bill follows.

One man's staple is another's scarcity. Therein lies an opportunity. The dirt and squalor of an Asian street is saleable to the westerner, who drops in to experience it, hoping nirvana is tucked away at some cubbyhole corner. The contrast is Asians gleeing in delight at walking down a neatly tiled street in some European country. The Westerner strips down on beaches to burn his bleached skin. He calls it a tan. The Indian on the other hand covers up in layers so he can climb the hills and take in the chill.

We desire what's scarce. As consumers too, we do exactly the same. For brands to rake in desire, scarcity becomes a must. If that scarcity's real, the job's easy. If it isn't, it becomes quite a task to keep the brand scarce.

Either way, the key remember, is in keeping consumers away from laying theirs hands easy, on what you sell.


The reason why Slumdog millionaire won the Oscars was the westerners were shown what they want to see. The poverty in India et al.

Typical of the Satyajit Ray movies of the earlier era. They were also pretty much acclaimed in the West.

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