I’m so wrapped up in the idea of spending $700 for another communication device that will introduce no new benefit to my day, and for some reason I find little justification not to buy-in to the hype. The pressure to consume is immense, and I find it hard not to crumble under all of this commercial influence. Last year I was romanced into the purchase of a new “class leading” communication device, and yet my excitement and passion for this now ‘old’ device has vanished. 10 months have passed since my purchase and the craving to do it again thrills me. I was totally convinced that I needed to buy that new phone last year, full well knowing the following year a new model would arrive. It was my right of passage, a social form that I had to support and fashion. The pressure is immense, and it can break the best of us.
My impulse control is always weak around this time in September every year. Im bombarded with media every where I turn. I battle the strong urges to jump on this new wave of technology being release in the new iphone. I don’t want to be left out or be considered behind the times with my peer group do I? Or maybe I might be overlooking some small details!
What do I use my phone for?
Off the top of my head: Netflix, talking, texting, web browsing, email, blogging, taking a few pictures, and using a couple apps here and there.
Since we are on a fact finding mission here, the next question I should really ask myself is “can my old (10 months) phone still perform all these tasks for me? And, will the purchase of a new device change any of my typical uses for a phone?”
At a foundational level most of the phones we use today have way more power than a typical user will ever need. Logic unfortunately does not seem to always prevail, and we are met by this voice inside that says “I gotta have that new phone”.
We have all been there, out for lunch with friends and someone notices your new purchase. “Hey isn’t that the new iphone? Wow, it is beautiful, can I see it? Instantly we are socially rewarded for our purchase and in a sense perpetuating the marketing cycle for Apple. This type of interaction is exactly what Apple loves. A bunch of young people showcasing their new phones every year with a bit of pride and glamour.
Can we not just sit back and be satisfied with our current electronic devices? Or have we all bought into this new social qualification. Visualize yourself walking through a grocery aisle and noticing a stranger looking at a presumable list on their phone. What do you notice? Immediately we notice if it is a flip phone, an Android, or even the beloved iphone! Does your mind then follow this quick judgement with assumptions about the person? Their role, their job, what kind of person they are? It really is sick, but I think most of us make these rash judgements about each other without even being aware of it. We don’t really pay attention to our thoughts and judgements, but they are there regardless. The device has become a symbol of recognition. A value statement about an individual that we place on complete strangers that incorporates a summary of their complete lifestyle in a fraction of second. Has it gone too far?
Marketing works! Apple has fine tuned their approach to sales and it really has proven to dominate the market. Imagine if you were influenced to make healthy, mature, positive life decisions with that same marketing power? Imagine if you were put under that much pressure to do the right thing every day. Talk about winning friends and influencing people! This powerful machine has created a culture buy-in, and what do we really get? A metal and plastic luxury good that will soon be outdated, planned obsolescence if you will. People research these phones months in advance, devoting their time and energy into something that will loss half its value by the time the new phone is launched the following year. A $700 piece of plastic and metal that will be consider ‘less than’ in only short year from now. Think of the waste! Think of the stock piles of unused phones that will need to be disposed of every year! Can you just hold off on that new upgrade until your phone stops working and then really does need to be replaced?
Regardless of this realization, you will still probably go out and buy that new iphone. Sad, isn’t it!