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Rent a granny?! Has the sharing economy gone too far?

Grandmother cooking

Nope, you’ve not read it wrong – older, wiser individuals are leading cooking classes and offering sage advice for a price. It’s a genuine ‘thing’ and is all down to the growing popularity of the sharing economy.

Lou Papé is a new app-based service seemingly taking France by storm. The technology allows those of perhaps more advanced years to offer their culinary skills either as a cookery teacher or chef. Their customers could be anyone from those looking to learn new kitchen skills to a busy couple who just want to enjoy some quality home-cooked food.

Rent a retiree

Now, I recognise that there’s potentially tonnes of social good in this app.

For one, it helps connect what could be a big isolated group of senior citizens with a whole other generation that could frankly learn a lot – not just about traditional cooking, but life in general.

While it seems like a good idea to connect these people in a structured way, it does, however, leave me wondering whether the sharing economy is going a bit too far? It’s one thing to share a taxi fare with a stranger, but it’s another to share a grandmother or grandfather…

I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be with my grandmother sharing her closely guarded recipe for chicken soup or even barmbrack. And equally, I’m not convinced I’d pay for a grandmother or grandfather to come round and cook a four course meal for me and my friends.

That said, this service is thriving in France and has just celebrated its second birthday.

Sharing economy

It would be fair to say that I’m really intrigued by the sharing economy and have used lots of useful services.

It’s not just Airbnb, Uber or Borrow My Doggy either – there are also more practical services like renting out your washing machine to someone local so they can use it when you aren’t or even in some cases, hiring out your front room for a few hours each day so someone can come and work from it. And if I had my own place then I could definitely see myself renting out my washing machine for a couple of hours.

So where do you stand on this? Would you share your washing machine for a few hours, your car or culinary skills with a complete stranger? Can you think of anything else you’d be willing to share?

Comments
Member

I’m curious: how is this idea any different from a part-time job? Teaching (which is what it seems to be) is a perfectly normal way to earn a living, so I don’t really see a problem. And it’s in a very different class from renting out your washing machine and certainly your car.

Member

Thanks Ian. I suppose it’s not very different from a part time job but because it’s app/ digital based, it forms part of the sharing economy. It’s the sharing of knowledge.

Curious though, would you be willing to share your washing machine or your car for a fee?

Member

People with skills or equipment show enterprise if they make money out of lending them to other people. It is what the self employed do, part or full time. Many do hair, fix cars, decorate, garden for money. And, by the way, grannies (and grandads) can be in their 40s and many are certainly useful in the 70’s, and far from belonging to a “big isolated group of senior citizens”. Perhaps this is a bit ageist?

I think an online site that helps put people with skills in touch with those that need them is a good idea – perhaps something useful coming out of Europe.

There is another movement – men’s sheds – where like minded people – including the older members of society – get together to fix and make things. I also heard on the radio today about groups who will meet regularly in premises and fix stuff for you – computers, CD players and the like – to save something mendable being chucked when it has stopped working properly. Many older people have the skills and time to contribute to this sort of activity.

I’m all for it.

Member

So am I malcolm and agree with your post . I put this down to the modern brainwashing of young people you now get in schools. Engineering skills are lost because engineering isnt high on females agendas even though the brain washers try to force females into those areas -so far with limited success . Facts have to be faced this is now a service industry economy males are forced into jobs , because of poverty , that females are much better at . This will only get worse as the hidden agenda is to transform this society into servile obedience to buy all things that are advertised no matter how much is complete c**p . making excuses for the massive changes in society doesn’t work humans male or female are different in mental structure in thought patterns etc its only minority groups that are trying push this and they couldn’t careless for the consequences. You might hate what I said but it wont be long to even my words are censored because I dont conform and then you know for sure this is no free society .

[Sorry Duncan, we’ve tweaked your comment to align with our Community Guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Member

Fair point, Malcolm and I’d agree with you that people can lend their skills at any age – my grandmother teaches others of a similar age to herself to crochet and knit at a local cafe 🙂 I suppose that the difference is that it’s not an app service that’s doing the structured organising for her group as it’s a well known activity in the local community.

Just to clarify that this service and app appears market itself as a means of connecting older more isolated people in France who can share their traditional cooking skills – and appears to be fairly successful at doing so too.

Member

I have been pleased to note that more and more female students are entering engineering courses [around 15% of the intakes now] and there are many more women in engineering roles that were closed to them for years for mostly unsustainable reasons. Female workers used to be the backbone of light manufacturing industry and their education was restricted to supplying that demand. I am glad we have moved away from that and that there is now much more equality of opportunity in all labour forces in all sectors of the economy. I have seen no evidence to support any of the assertions in the statement that “males are forced into jobs, because of poverty, that females are much better at”. Changes in workplace structures have been taking place continuously for generations for a whole range of reasons so I am not sure it is possible to be so dogmatic as that.

One of the things that struck me was the series of advertisements that Network Rail placed in the lead-up to the Easter engineering works programme, every one of them featuring a young woman engineer in charge of a particular project. This raises the profile of women in engineering and other technical occupations and will hopefully inspire future generations to pursue such careers. I have also noted in articles and documentaries how a number of the major projects within the biggest civil engineering operation in Europe, the new Crossrail railway line through London, are being led by women. They are also involved in many contracting companies designing and building infrastructure and industrial projects.

I don’t know the exact split, but unless we include public services, medical, educational and military roles in the ‘service sector’ I doubt that sector completely dominates the employment spectrum. There is still a lot of technological, manufacturing, production, agricultural, research, design, creative and maintenance employment in this country and neither sex has a monopoly on capability.

Member

I’m happy to lend things to friends, neighbours and sometimes people I know through working with charities. Usually it’s tools. Occasionally I’ve let neighbours use my washing machine or put food in the freezer when their appliances have died. I used to occasionally lend my car to trusted friends when we were on holiday, but that was when it was insured for any driver over 25.

I would not think of asking for money if I helped someone and people help me without being paid. A friend with a large van transported the large items when I moved home last year. I have helped him with various projects over the years and enjoy using his well equipped workshop.

I’ve spent too much of my life repairing electrical stuff for others but am happy to help anyone who is prepared to try and help themselves.

I’ve not thought of enlisting the help of a granny to do catering, but recently remembered at the last minute that I had promised to do some baking for a society event. I invited a friend round to make sausage rolls while I baked a cake.

Why can’t we help each other and ask for help without thinking about money?

Member

Very altruistic Wavechange and I really admire you . I started off on the same premise but got it thrown back in my face from people who ended up admitting they were only using me , they had no intention of being “friends ” . As the saying goes many times in Judge Judy,s Court — no good deed goes unpunished , what happens now is you get blamed for things even though you arent to blame but are just used as an excuse because of other peoples ,either incompetence , jealousy ( competing trades ) or downright sneakiness. I spend my time helping real people who need real help not actors and actresses .