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Abstract renting: The new cool

Abstract renting: The new cool

Most of us have rented a car, but for an hour? What about a top-rated movie from a box conveniently located at your grocery store for a mere dollar? Or a painting? A theater? A garden? Even breathalyzers are available to rent in the United Kingdom as a unique and useful service for party throwers. 

The scheme of this new way of renting is alluring many. For some, it’s the attraction of allowing a test drive before making a purchase. For others, it’s a method of providing something short term that typically isn’t within one’s budget. It’s also an alternative for those afraid to commit long term, for those who tend to grow bored easily, who prefer change or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, want everything new. 

While traditional rental companies are getting more creative (think Zipcar, the short-term car rental option, or Redbox, which offers US$1 movie rentals at your local grocery store), philanthropists are also jumping on the rental bandwagon. CherryAid is an awareness campaign to save the British cherry tree. You can rent a local tree, pick, eat and enjoy all the cherries for the season. Or, if you decide to get married in Japan but can’t afford to fly out your family and friends, no worries — there’s a solution for that:  family rentals! Either way you look at it, the new rental schemes are as diverse and strange as ever and trending to the point of being “the new cool”!

Solar panels

Interested in free green energy but put off by the high upfront price tag? If you happen to live in America, there is a company that rents out whole systems for your home before committing to the permanent expense. Growing annually, I predict this business to become a huge trend not just in the United States, but globally.

Wheels

Renting cars is common, but what about renting wheels? Ideal for those with a fabulous car but boring wheels or a boring car needing some wow factor, I can see this being a hit with the number of car aficionados out there. Founded in 1996, this California-based company has grown to 86 locations thriving on its rim and wheel rentals. 

Paparazzi

Want to make someone feel like an A-lister for the day? Through Celeb4aday, a crowd of photographers will follow your guest, (or you!), snapping and flashing wherever you go. Although some of us may feel completely ridiculous with the “who is she/he?” stares, the fame-hungry wannabes literally rent this service to create a buzz around themselves. It’s a piece of the self-branding pie, and, of course, a great service for surprise parties, toasts and corporate events!

Villages

Many in hospitality have heard about renting your own island. But a village? The unique concept was the brainchild of Karl Schwarzler, who says the idea occurred to him in the late 1990s while he was working as a hotel director. “A key client wanted a unique corporate retreat, so we told them to rent the entire village and we’d make it their own!”  From renaming the streets, carving your company logo in the white snow of the slopes and introducing your own currency for the duration of your stay, Rent-a-Village by Xnet attracts new corporate clients each year with unique transformation experiences in villages throughout Austria and Germany.

Handbags

The rent-a-handbag idea was made famous by Jennifer Hudson’s character in the Sex and the City film who was renting designer bags since she couldn’t afford to purchase one on her own. Now there are a number of companies renting handbags, dresses, coats and high-end accessories for a fraction of the retail price. On BagBorrowSteal.com, the lowest rental is US$9 per week for a designer cosmetic bag, but hold on to your hat — some clients are dropping US$1,632 per week to carry a Hermes Crocodile Satchel. The rent-a-bag trend has transcended into monthly dues membership clubs popping up all over the Internet, and there are no signals of it slowing down.

Watches

Similar to the handbag trend for women, men are getting in on the action of renting luxury watches. StealtheTime.com, a New York-based luxury watch company, recently outfitted a groom and four groomsmen with Rolex watches ranging from US$52 to US$308 per week for pieces that retail for US$850 to US$14,200. A business concept definitely worth keeping an eye on. 

Goats and caskets?

Two particularly odd rental options happen to be prospering. Goat rentals, for those wanting to cut the grass but who prefer to leave a smaller carbon footprint, are very attractive in regions where houses sit on acres of land. Rent-a-Ruminant rents a herd of goats to nibble your grass away. 

The grand finale of rental options is rent-a-casket. We all know funerals are costly and the price of a casket enormous. Dublin-based Rom, Massey & Sons offers clients a novel casket rental scheme that saves thousands on the interment budget. 

For families opting for cremation, a beautiful oak casket is used for the service while immediately after, the deceased is privately cremated in an inexpensive plywood casket. This penny-wise option has become quite popular, as I found similar concepts available globally.

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