Confessions of a Gadget Groupie

A Few Words from a Recovering Gadget Groupie

Before I say anything, let me qualify this article on device addiction. In the last four years I have owned and used over two dozen cell phones, two dozen tablets (both Apple and Android) and a dozen different e-readers. I’ve had five different laptops. I jumped on the netbook craze…then jumped right back off.

Entire advertising campaigns are conducted for gadget junkies like me.

You might think I have a problem, and I will agree that I do, but I guarantee most tech aficionados hide a similar list. I am being straight forward. We collect gadgets like Gollum. My precious… Just consider how much you’ve spent on those little babies in the last few years. I bet you don’t WANT to think about that. In my case, I know I have spent more on tech in the last year than I contributed to my savings account. That’s a real problem.

The Only Benefit to Tech Hoarding

Whether you think I have issues or not, having that much experience with that many devices qualifies me for one thing: I can speak about the two operating systems with some authority. I have probably setup and installed and updated the iOS and Android operating systems over a hundred times, and that doesn’t include experiments with jailbreaking and overclocking. I am the go-to guy among family and friends when they consider a device purchase, a position of some prestige. But at what cost?

The Rise of the Tech

Why have these gadgets become a cornerstone of our lives? A cell phone has become a limb today, leaving owners unsettled if they are even in a different room. And forget losing one. A lost cell phone is like a lost pet. Sure we can replace them, but we’re haunted by speculation: What ever happened to it? Is it out in the cold, alone and starving? My God, it’s a phone, not a puppy.

Like most of you, I also obsessively check my phone. I can justify that by saying I use it for business, and I do. In fact, my cell phone is my primary means of communicating with clients. But that’s not why I always check it. I check it because I might have a message, a Facebook posting, an email, an alert, what’s on Drudge Report, what’s the weather like, what happened to Tsar Nicholas II… This instant access to infinite knowledge has turned into legal and cheap crack.

Breaking the Cycle

I finally ended the cycle when I amassed my tax receipts in December. Piling all of them together to sort through them, I had a separate pile for work expenses. Yes, yes, I consider my smartphone and tablet work expenses. I noticed the stack just got higher and higher…and when I saw it was higher then my account statements from Valic, I decided to list all the devices I had owned in the last few years. I was horrified. That horror stuck with me.

Sorry, I Don’t Have an Answer for You Tech Addicts

I don’t know why we get so addicted to technology. I’m a writer, not a psychologist. Like any addiction, we all have different reasons for starting but we all end up in the same place. For me, it was an empty savings account and a drawerful of dead devices and empty cases (you should see how many Zagg screen squeegees I have). I am only sharing a single story. Devices are useful, even essential, for our lives. In today’s world, not using the Internet just isn’t plausible. But that’s not an excuse for buying each new device as it comes on the market and burning through hundreds of wasted dollars. My friend, keep that in mind.