Friday, September 14, 2012

Another moment of truth arrives (sigh ...)

Oooh ... shiny! The new iPhone 5

Now that the iPhone 5 is out, Verizon is giving away the iPhone 4 and letting customers with new contracts have the iPhone 4s for $100.

Since my Verizon contract expired May 28, I am in a position to take advantage of this deal. It looks really good -- I've been hating my Samsung Android phone ever since I learned it went out of production a month after I got it last year. Why call a phone the "Continuum" if you're going to pull the plug so fast?

There's only one thing holding me back on this deal. I HATE paying as much as I do for mobile phone service. 

When I look at what I was paying for a land line and cable 25 years ago, it amounted to around $59 a month. It was all the phone and TV I needed. We were young. We had a VCR. We could go to Great American Video, rent all the "Godfather" movies and hunker down for the weekend (although we had to go get Chinese food by the end of the first tape -- just warning you in case you try this yourselves.)

Sounds idyllic, eh? Going by the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator (http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm), what I paid for phone and cable would amount to $119.65 in 2012 dollars. Considering the cable package I have now costs around $90 -- and that includes Internet -- I'd say I'm ahead. Add in streaming Netflix and it's still a wash (although the "Godfather" movies are not available, my "Mad Men" marathon was worth the time, except instead of Chinese food I had an urge to smoke Lucky Strikes and guzzle Canadian Club.) 

Smart phones for the family? I cringe when I see the bill, yet feel helpless to do anything. I guess the big question is whether you want to look at your mobile phone as a communication tool or as a life-enhancing device. I could save money by going back to a flip phone like the ones everyone uses on "Breaking Bad" (another Netflix marathon). I was tempted to go that route when I got the Samsung, but caved (and hated myself for it.)

Nevertheless, there is this pull … with the iPhone I can load my iTunes, and I need to replace my iPod anyway ... I can use it at the gym ... I can keep track of my calories ...

You tell me where this is headed. Any wonder why this country is in the shape it's in?