There has been a lot of talk about inflation in 2023. But it’s not just currencies that are affected – even words are sometimes exposed to inflation and devaluation. A word that is currently in the risk group is the word “experience”. Nowadays, you can hardly step outside the walls of your home without immediately being asked how you experienced it. If I fill up the car, buy a kettle, call tech support or do a bank transaction, a text will soon pop-up asking me to evaluate my experience. As if everything we do is an experience.
In the vast majority of cases, on the contrary, there is a very big difference between a purchase and an experience. Buying a litre of milk is rarely an experience to speak of. Maybe if something dramatic happens in the store – if there is a fight over at the meat counter, or if someone slips on a packet of butter in the dairy section – that the visit to the store can feel like an experience. Most of the time it is not. Rarely does someone slip on butter, and so far there has been little trouble over at the meat counter.
I get the feeling that our world has not kept up with language development. It’s time to step up! For the question of my experience to feel relevant, the world needs to evolve! If a visit to a café or the purchase of milk is to be compared to an “experience”, I believe that it must also be combined with, for example, a happy cabaret orchestra, a massive film on the big screen or group therapy. Then I could answer the question in the pop-up.
But until the world catches up with our language, these pop-ups will remain unanswered. I still hope that the word “experience” can somehow survive inflation, with some kind of meaning retained. It’s sad when words die and disappear.
Mattias is an author, editor and illustrator
Photo: Street art in Malmö, Sweden