27 May 2007

Why I'm Failing as A Capitalist Consumer

As most readers already know well, any pretensions I might have toward radical political positions are completely undermined by my enthusiastic enjoyment of capitalist consumption. To be fair, for me it's less a matter of consumption for its own sake, or of the quantity of consumption. Instead, my joy comes from playing the capitalist game as well as I possibly can. Indeed, for me, the 'deal' is almost as important as the object itself.

The high point for me probably came right before the metaphorical internet 'bubble' did its metaphorical 'bursting'. This was a time when even companies that sold actual tangible products had decided that the 'new economy' dictated giving everything away. This made it possible - for a while - to purchase new technology items and then sell them 6 months later on eBay for more than one had paid for them.

So it saddens and frustrates me to find that our new lifestyle just doesn't lend itself to much consumption. I have found the deals, I just don't have any reason to carry through with the purchases. And by 'reasons' I mean to say that even within the terms of constructed capitalist desire and fetishisation, I still can't find a way to 'justify' a purchase. Here are a few items on my list:


What I want: Nokia N95 Mobile Phone

Why I want it: 5 megapixal camera, micro SD, gps sat-nav, wifi, voip, and the list goes on, i.e. it is the cool phone right now, and will be for about a month (here comes the iPhone)

The deal: it's going for £200 or more with expensive contracts, but there's this thing where you ring Vodafone directly and order a pay-as-you-go SIM at the same time, and then....well, trust me, it's quite a deal!

Why I don't 'need' it: I use my mobile for about 40 minutes and 30 texts a month. I have no one to call, really, and those that I would call aren't on their mobiles. In the states I used 750 minutes a month regularly, but not so now.


What I want: BMW 120d M Sport 3 Dr

Why I want it: RWD BMW goodness, in better-looking 3-dr shape, oodles and oodles of torque, and unbelievably good mileage (around 60mpg combined) and emissions (band C), and £170 gets you free maintenance for 5 years

The deal: around £3k under list through broadspeed

Why I don't 'need' it: well, we've had a car for about 6 weeks now, and it hasn't changed a lot. It looks like we're averaging about 30 miles driven per week, and that's usually taking the car to parking places that don't score high on the Rebecca scale


What I want: Panasonic PHD10 42" Plasma

Why I want it: Panasonic commercial plasma panels are simply the best, in my well-studied opinion, and this is the brand new 10th generation panel in HD

The deal: AV-sales have outdone themselves on a package that includes delivery, along with Panasonic's new 3 year in home warranty

Why I don't 'need' it: We don't watch anything in HD, and the picture difference in SD will be no better than what we already have

3 comments:

Ryan said...

Sam, since you engaging in pornographic capitalist fantasy, let throw in my two cents.

Never mind the BMW, you want a Tesla Roadster from Tesla Motors. All electric, 0-60 in under 4 seconds and and wheels-to-well equivalent of 135 mpg.

And speaking of energy efficiency, why go plasma at all? LCD is where it is at, and you get 1080p resolution at sizes all the way down to 32", whereas plasma doesn't get to full 1080p HD until 50". We bought a 40" Sony Bravia XBR3 nine months ago and it great.

fronesis said...

Ryan, on item 1 I agree 100% - sign me up for one of those, please!

On item 2, I'm willing to debate a bit. Both points you make are valid, but perhaps a bit overplayed out there in the market place. In actual usage, today's current plasmas use about the same energy (given same size screen) as LCD's. This is obviously *not* true for older plasmas, nor is it true if you compare smaller LCD's to larger plasmas. Also, you're right about 1080p, but I don't have ANY 1080p sources. And watching SD material on 1080p is often much worse than on a good plasma that can really scale stuff well. All that said, IF I was going to go LCD, then I would undoubtedly go for the Bravia - it's the first LCD that I think rivals plasma for pure picture quality.

Now, when can I expect delivery of my Tesla Roadster?

Transient Gadfly said...

Wait, I'm sorry. Who are you again?