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Most customers are two-income couples with homes valued at $400,000 or more, says Tolkacz, a "middle market" of people who would not have hired professionals in the past. Some less-affluent single parents also hire the company because they "don't want to get on the roof." The service appeals more to baby boomers than to the over-60 crowd, who tend to believe that hiring someone to install holiday lights is frivolous.
That disparaging attitude toward aesthetics affects us not only as consumers deciding where to spend our money but as citizens trying to understand the sources of future economic growth. We mourn the loss of manufacturing jobs—"real jobs"—and ignore growing aesthetic professions, from installing holiday lights and landscaping lawns to giving manicures and facials, from designing brochures to crafting granite countertops.
Yet in an advanced economy, in which competition is pushing the prices of goods ever lower and their quality ever higher, enhancing the look and feel of people, places, and things will become more and more important over time. Just as surely as the horsepower of a car engine or the warmth of a blanket, the pleasure of twinkling Christmas lights offers real value.