It’s Way Too Easy To Make Major Purchases
There was a time, not too long ago, that making a major purchase was a major process. Say, for instance, the year is 1997 and you want a new computer. How do you decide which one to get? You could look it up on your computer, but you don’t own one. You could ask your friends, but you don’t trust their technical expertise. I suppose you would need to look into a computer magazine or Consumer Report.
So you’re off to your local magazine stand. Sandwiched in between sports and motorcycles, the selection leaves a lot to be desired. The PC magazines only tout computers that are coming out soon or are astronomical in price. Consumer Report only reviewed 2 computers and they were both negative. You probably need an issue from a different month, the month in which new computers typically come out. But what month do computers come out? The newsstand cashier has no clue. He just wants you to buy a magazine. This is the same reason why you can’t trust a computer salesman. They just want to sell you a lemon that’ll bring them back into their clutches by the next election.
So what now? Your cousin, Bobby, is a hoarder. You’re pretty sure he has a Consumer Report subscription. But you really don’t feel like hearing any more stories about Nam. Also, an old magazine would review an old computer. You don’t want an old computer. So you steal a subscription card and walk away quickly while the cashier yells at you from a distance. And you wait.
You wait and wait and count the days down until the second Tuesday of every month when the new issue comes in. After 6 or 7 months, it finally happens. Consumer Report reviews a computer that seems sleek, reliable and affordable. This is it. Your months of due diligence has paid off. You try to call your friends to brag about your discovery, but all of their lines are busy. They’re all surfing the World Wide Web. Which is what you’ll be doing soon.
So you go to Best Buy, magazine tucked under your arm, ready to rule the world. You go straight up to the chrome-domed salesman and proudly exclaim the purchase that you want to make. He shows it to you, inviting a test run. It’s beautiful. It purrs like a kitten, it can play videos, it does everything that you hoped and dreamed of. But it’s out of stock. And he doesn’t know when it’s coming back. He offers for you to order it straight from the manufacturer, but it’s much pricier.
The next stop is Circuit City. You don’t even ask questions, you beeline right to it. It glows among the other test models on the shelf. Once again, you’ve found the love of your life. You stand around, waiting to be approached by a salesman, but there’s nowhere to be found. So you wander the store, browsing the movies and CDs. The Rolling Stones are still making music? Ridiculous. Finally, after 45 minutes of idling, the lone salesman comes back from his break and you rush to the computer. He immediately sees you and yes, the computer is in stock, but there’s one small problem. It’s $200 more than the listed price. Some number in the specs is different than the one listed in the review. Begrudgingly, you proceed with the purchase and move onto securing financing.
After spending 2 hours on hold with creditors and the struggle to get the thing to fit into your trunk, the computer is finally safe and sound in your home. Then it takes you another hour to unbox it and another 3 hours getting it set up with all the necessary software. Now, you just have to wait 2-3 weeks for the right desk to come in, another sleepless night getting it built and your setup will be complete. Easy, right?
At around 7:30 last night, it got in my head that I wanted to read, “One Piece”, a manga that has been running since the late 90s and spans over 100 volumes. To actually read the whole thing would cost well over a thousand dollars. Or I could subscribe to Shonen Jump and read it all digitally for $2.99 a month. A no-brainer, if only I didn’t have to read it on my phone. I mentioned this out loud and Rachel rolled her eyes, exclaiming “You know you’re going to buy an iPad, so just buy an iPad”. But I refused. It seemed dumb to buy a device just to read comics. But then I realized I could also get a Magic Keyboard and use it for writing. And then I realized that it wouldn’t cost that much to finance it. And then I realized, god damnit, I’m getting an iPad.
It didn’t take me long to figure out which one I wanted. Apple has streamlined the shopping around process by only offering top of the line specs (or what they claim to be top of the line). I wanted it to be light, but big enough to have a keyboard case. I like the color blue. It literally took me 5 minutes to pick out my device. At 7:40, I wasn’t going to get a tablet. By 8:15, the order was placed with monthly payments setup to auto-pay.
At 10:30 PM, I left the house to catch a train. At 10:44, I was at the Apple Store, which was surprisingly busy for the middle of the night. I guess a lot of people were also feeling impulsive. A guy scanned a QR code in my email and within 4 minutes, I was loading up my backpack and on my merry way. I got home at 11:10 and by 11:50, I had everything setup, all of my apps logged in and I was chilling comfortably reading “One Piece”.
In total, it took 4 hours and 20 minutes to go from thinking I won’t buy a new computer to having one in my hands, up and running for everyday use. And it would’ve been a lot shorter, if I hadn’t spent an hour and a half watching The Last Of Us (which was an excellent show that you should probably watch ASAP). We live in insane times. What was once a year-long process has been streamlined into the length of an NFL game. We don’t even have to think about it. We can just get what we want literally whenever we want.
On a side note, this iPad fucking rules. I feel dumb for not getting one sooner. It’s just so damn useful and portable. It’s got all the abilities that a laptop has, but takes up hardly any space and has no bulky necessary power supply. Whipping out a laptop is a whole process compared to whipping out an oversized phone. I know the technology has been around forever, but I find it insane that I can now write comfortably on a device that fits in my hands. No more battling autocorrect. No more bleary eyes from typing on a phone screen. I can now write anywhere and everywhere!
In other words, you guys are doomed to trudge through 1000% more wrestling content. Suck it, nerdo.