Why Do I Want Stupid Gadgets?

I think they spike electronics so when you get near them you breath in some addictive chemical which keeps you looking at things for way longer than you should.  Or something else, because I seem to be abnormally attracted to some gadgets.  My current obsessive thoughts are about getting an ebook reader.

I know that in all practical terms I don’t need one.  Actually I would have limited use for one since most of my books come from the library.  So that would leave me reading a highly limited number of books  which I would have to pay for while paying like $300 to $400 for the thing.  Not really a good investment, since the technology is likely to improve over the next few years and the price will drop.

Yet despite all of that I still find myself wanting one.  Hence the title of the post: why do I want stupid gadgets?  It’s like a drug or hard wired problem in my brain.  I think perhaps I’m obsessed with the idea of carrying a few hundred books in a light weight object.  It is irrational but I know the source of the obsession is those lovely ‘news articles’ that tell you about new product releases like somehow it is ok to have an ad posing as an article when the product is brand new.

So how am I dealing with this new obsession? Actually fairly simple.  I’m putting the thing on my Christmas wish list and ignoring it for the next few months.  I’ve done with many times over the years and it seems to work out well.  It costs too much for most people to bother buying it so I won’t likely get it, but I might get some gift cards I can use on it.  In the mean time I can save up for it and buy it myself after Christmas if I’m still obsessing.

So what irrational things do you obsess over? How do you manage your obsession?

9 thoughts on “Why Do I Want Stupid Gadgets?”

  1. Oh man, I wanted a Sony eReader so badly a while ago.
    I wanted one to read manga on, mostly. Plus the thought of carrying around dozens of books at a time was very, very seductive. Books can get heavy, and when I have to carry them back and forth, not to mention find space in my bag, I find myself reading only one book at a time. 😛

    What actually helped squelch my desire for one was that the newest upgrade had a touch screen feature which actually reduced the contrast and made the screen less book-like to look at. If I’m going to pay $400 for a book analog, it darn well better be just as eye-friendly as a paper book!
    I’m waiting for the next upgrade to see if they fix that (major, in my opinion) problem, and then I’ll see if it makes me want one again.

    I know I’ll get one eventually, but it’ll probably be far enough in the future that book-like e-book readers are are common and come in as many price ranges as MP3 players.

  2. I had the exact same feeling about a GPS Unit. I travel outside my city probably 4 times a year at most and of those 4 trips, 3 are to a place that I know well. Therefore, for all practical purposes, I do not NEED a GPS unit.

    I kept putting off buying it and eventually it dropped off my wishing list.

    Now, if someone has a gadget that can eliminate noise from the back-seat driver, I’m ready to buy it right away!

  3. My obsessions only bother me if I allow myself to think about them. Fortunately, my little mind can only think about one thing at a time.

    I’m a boat freek. Canoes, kayaks, sailboats and motorboats. Even beautiful little rowboats. Also homemade skin boats.

    So far my fleet has only grown to a total of 4 boats and three of them are small enough to fit on the top of my car.

  4. You want it because you are told to want it. The marketers own you! I’m exactly the same way. “OMIGosh! It’s so awesome and cool, and on sale. Just think what I could do if I owned that!”

    I used to collect movies, books and they filled up my house. I had ambitions of building robots and I now have several hundred dollars in obsolete robot components on my workbench. I have 5 dead computers with the good intentions of automating my house one day. I own tools that I’ve only used once or twice. I have a pool in the backyard (came with my house) that I use only about 50 times per year. Clothes I rarely wear, kitchen gadgets I never use, channels I don’t watch, food I don’t eat, etc.

    That’s the consumer lifestyle. You are conditioned to want and want and buy and buy some more. Every purchase I made was a good one. Something I would use, or would save money, or make me happier. In the end most of them don’t get used as I intended.

  5. Caitlin, I also wanted it for manga reading (LCD hurts my eyes). So I bought a PRS-505 last year. It might not have touchscreen, but the contrast is good. The manga’s text is a bit on the small side, though. So I am currently wanting the Daily Edition with a slightly bigger screen. (This one I don’t really need!).

    I also borrow books from library, but I found my ebook reader to be extremely useful for classics such as Arsene Lupin series. I mean, they don’t stock those in the library, and as far as I can tell, nobody else sells them anymore. That’s my justification. ^_^

  6. Electronics are my weakness as well… I have in the past few years succumbed to the desire to own a handheld GPS, Ipod Touch, Blu-Ray player, vintage arcade dual Joystick for playing classic MAME ports (Donkey Kong etc.), HD video camera… and I could go on.

    My life would be perfectly fine without any of these items… but I go weak in the knees when I walk into a Best Buy.

  7. as long as your ‘addiction’ isn’t crack or strange women, buy the gadget already. Life is short, and relative to all your other savings, the device is peanuts. Go. Be happy, buy the damn thing already. 🙂

  8. I have to let you guys know about this. I was discussing this issue with my wife and she said “Of course you want that, your a geek.” Which of course does explain it fairly damn good. I just like cool ‘toys’.

    Now Really,

    Oh I know money isn’t the issue. I could have ordered the thing on a whim with no problems. The reality is by pushing it off I get to research the crap out of which model I want to ensure when I do buy it I get exactly what I want. Besides, dreaming about something new is often more fun than having it.


  9. Travelling is my obsession. I constantly read travel blogs, visit the Fodors chat room, and search travel websites drooling over the deals. The ridiculously great deals available are making it very hard to be sensible.

    We’re limited to going when our kids are out of school. We love taking them with us but they’re old enough now that they shouldn’t be missing school unless absolutely necessary. In 2008 we did a Caribbean cruise in March and spent all of August in Italy, Greece and Germany. Two trips in one year is silly but that’s how it worked out. We only went camping last year to make up for the big spending the prior year.

    I’m now in the early stages of plotting another European tour for this summer. With all the research I do finding deals, discounts etc, the four of us can do Europe for a month for about the same price as a couple pays for a 2 week all-inclusive beach holiday in the winter. Buying virtually everything on CC means we’ve already got the 4 flights covered. Now I just have to figure out exactly where we want to go and how much we want to pack into the trip. I’m always guilty of trying to do as much as possible with the time available.

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