Saturday, January 28, 2012

If you give a kid a tablet...

You want to know why Americans today feel poorer than their parents? It's because there is so much more crap we feel compelled to buy, which is putting us in debt and/or making us feel poor.

Just think about the number of gadgets the average family (two adults, two kids) feels it is "necessary" to have these days -- vs. our parents' generation (for those of us over 35):

Satellite radioTransistor radio (AM, FM)
A television in every roomA television in every home
Cable (or satellite or "phone company" TV)Rabbit ears
Premium channels (HBO, Showtime, etc.)ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS
DVRSh*t out of luck
Computers (typically two or more)The library, an encyclopedia, a calculator (or pencil and paper)
Smart phones -- and texting and data plansParty lines -- and yelling out the window
Wii/Xbox 360 + gamesStickball, riding your bike up and down the street
iPadsDrawing pads, board games

You add up all those things and that's thousands of dollars we are spending, each year. (The spouse and I did the math.) And all so we can, what? Watch the Super Bowl on a 60-inch plasma HDTV? Buy sh*t on eBay we don't really need? Play games at work? Drunk text semi-nude pictures of ourselves? Brag about where we are having dinner or are staying on vacation on Facebook?

And does your 3-year-old really need her own special kid-friendly $479 tablet?! (Apparently the people at VINCI think so.)

At some point, you gotta stop the madness -- or stop whining about how broke you are.

Btw, lest my Republican friends start reading me the riot act about free-market capitalism, I'm not advocating Communism, just a little (or a lot) less Consumerism.

That said, if one of you does have a 60-inch plasma HDTV and is planning on watching the Super Bowl on it, can we come over and watch with you?


Pat said...

I totally agree with you! Our family of 4 can barely get by with 2 "family" computers. Our middle school kids get so much homework requiring use of a computer that neither of us parents could touch a computer screen today. Fortunately, dad has his work laptop and blackberry because otherwise he would have been off to the Apple store!!! Before Christmas my hair stylist was talking about possibly getting her KINDERGARTEN daughter a cell phone - but got her a portable DVD player instead. We are all out of control....

Ange said...

A sobering thought. Consumerism has really gripped us. I keep thinking we're living in a science fiction age. This is the sort of stuff we used to watch on Star Trek. Pretty cool but I think life might have been a little simpler back in the day.