Friday, June 29, 2007

Do your parents know they're paying for this?

Okay, I must admit I'm excited by the idea of the iPhone. I'm not one of those early adopters who must have the latest gadget the minute it goes on the market. Frankly, I'm too cheap to pay the $600 it takes to get one (this is really interesting cost analysis). Maybe next year, if the price drops a little and any bugs have been worked out (wow, have you looked at the plans?), I'll consider buying one. I'm not a big Internet person (nor do I want to pay AT&T extra money for Internet access), so I just don't have the need.

People who are technophiles, who need the connectivity - that's great. I know this will be fun and cool. What gets me are the younger people who are trying to get these phones. I've seen interviews with people in line in different parts of the country and it just astounds me how people spend money they haven't earned (at least from my perspective).

A news reported talked with a high school kid in line in NYC. The reporter asked, "how are you paying for this?"

The kid pauses, forms an awkward smile, and slyly responds, "my parents."

"Do your parents know they're buying this for you?"

"Not yet."

Yeah, his parents must have been thrilled when they saw this on the local evening news. Does he have their credit card with him or something?

Then, in Texas, they talked to this man who had been in line at the AT&T store for a day. The reporter asked, "Are you buying this for yourself?"

In a calm, Texan drawl, "No, it's for my son. My wife wants one too, but I don't know if I can buy two of them."

What can I say? My reaction is that it's ridiculous that these young kids expect to have these expensive toys and have their parents pay for it. There have been many articles (I remember one from Newsweek several years ago) that discuss the excessive amount of entitlement kids have today. Teenagers spend parents money on gadgets and designer clothing without any appreciation for how it's earned. What are they going to do when they grow up? Not everyone is going to have a trust fund to live off of.

When (if) I have kids, they will hate me. They will think I'm ruining their lives because they can't be like their friends with the cool accessories. Well, I'm sorry, that's how it is. You'll appreciate it when you're older. If you want something, you can mow lawns for a year and then we'll talk about buying it. You want a new car you say? How about a used Corolla that you pay for by working at In-N-Out for $10/hour. I'll match each dollar you earn.

I refuse to spoil my kids. Sure, I want them to like me, I want to be their friends, I want them to feel like they can be open with me. However, when it comes down to it, I'm the parent, I need to set rules and teach them how to become responsible adults. That's not going to happen if I indulge their every request.

Besides, come one, those phones are going to get stolen. Think about when iPods first came out or when kids bought the latest Michael Jordan Nikes. I don't like the idea that my kid could get mugged, stabbed, or killed over something so trivial. Clothes and accessories don't make a person (okay, yes, it's human nature to want attention). Still, American have gone to extremes in bling and consumerism. You don't HAVE to have EVERYTHING.

Rant over... have a fantastic weekend!


mini said...

TOTALLY agree! when i was a kid, i always hated my parents for being so strict and buying me the latest hot toy (nevermind gadgets). i always thought then that i'd someday let my kids get whatever they want ...

but the older i get, the more i know i will put my foot down :)

teahouse said...

Yeah, iPods are the Cabbage Patch Kids of the new generation. Not even out yet and I'm already tired of the hype.