Spoiler alert! On this week’s Big Bang Theory, Sheldon can’t decide between the Xbox 1 or the PS4. Isn’t that so typically Sheldon?
I have nothing against video games. I bought an Xbox in 2009, mostly out of curiosity about video games and as a gift to myself after getting my grown-up job. Although now it is more of a glorified DVD player.
But even if I were still into video games, I probably would not be compelled to get a new box (or station) just because there is a newer platform. Mine still works. And I am sure there will still be a solid 1-5 years while video games for the Xbox are still made. By then my Xbox might not still work, the Xbox 1 will be vetted (remember Windows Vista?), and the Xbox games might be phased out altogether in favor of Xbox 1. Then it would be a legitimate consideration overall. Enhanced by a few more years of my hundreds of dollars saved and invested.
So why to people feel compelled to get the new thing? And further to that, to engage in a lengthy deliberation about which to get in the face of a parallel product roll-out? Come on.. you know people around you are doing it. It’s not just Sheldon Cooper.
I might have been swayed in the past, but at this point I do not understand hype-based rhythms. I am happy splurging on something once to satisfy my curiosity, and basically never spending money on it again. I’ve got a car, a laptop, a bike, and a KitchenAid. All the gadgets you need in life. And they all work (knock on wood!!). I’ve got one beautiful purse and one beautiful watch. I don’t need more.
That last part is important because fashion is just as absurd as technology, or worse. Fashion tells us we need a new one every season. Every few months! Why? Because turquoise is in. It’s not that a Heavenly Being invented a new color for the pleasure of all earthly creatures. Some Earthling just favored a color that already exists – for spring anyway. The irony is that the cyclical nature of fashion makes trends from previous seasons look like tired fads. All my clever lady friends know that classic and elegant accessories work all the time, forever. These are what I prefer.
So back to Sheldon, it occurred to me that there is something about the addictive personality that seems especially prone to hype-based spending. Sheldon Cooper is addicted to knowing everything about everything. And specific to the more limited world of his interests, he is particularly prone to Fear of Missing Out. Logical and prudent choices about money leave no room for FOMO. Alternatively, FOMO drives lots of addictive spending.
I guess it is common sense, but making a commitment to a prudent financial life requires letting go of hype. But my experience is that this disciplined and detached outlook also makes the occasional splurges that much more carefree and hilarious. Kind of the opposite of the picture above.
Image from http://www.gamespot.com