Author Topic: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.  (Read 6959 times)

Poundwise

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https://www.wired.com/2017/03/no-iphones-arent-luxury-items-theyre-economic-necessities/

I actually don't have a smartphone. Though I do have internet at home.

What I don't like about that article is that the author conflates ownership of a smartphone with other things, such as access to internet or to "a mobile internet device that tracks blood sugar". Sure, those things are beneficial, but not the same as having a smartphone.

In the 10 years since the iphone came out, I have saved thousands and thousands of dollars by not paying for service.  Yes, now that $10/month smartphone service is here, I'm finally considering switching over. However, historically it was much more expensive, and the article doesn't make a good case for paying $35/month IMO.

jinga nation

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2017, 05:49:30 AM »
I know a bunch of folks for whom the smartphone is their only internet device. The internet is a necessity; how you access it, whether via a smartphone or Fiber/Cable/DSL, does not matter.
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LalsConstant

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2017, 06:02:46 AM »
I will not never understand the Cult of Apple.  I will grant the IPhone is a very nice device but most people including me do not benefit from its most expensive capabilities and can buy a much cheaper device that works a treat.  The alternatives to the IPod are a dime a dozen.  Their  computers are way overpriced, you can often build a better system on your kitchen table for a fraction of the price.

I do agree personal internet access is becoming less and less a luxury as it's now difficult to apply for a job manage a bank account pay bills etc. without it as the modern world assumes you have internet access, but you don't necessarily need a smartphone for that.  Home internet clocks in around 30 to 40 bucks a month and considering it replaces your phone line and eliminates the costs of doing everything manually it's quite reasonable.  I consider my Alcatel a luxury item personally; a simple feature phone would be much cheaper and it would do just fine.

Freedomin5

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2017, 06:14:17 AM »
I have an unlocked smartphone. I wouldn't call it an economic necessity, but it is very very handy, especially in China. For example, hubby gets paid for tutoring via Wechat Pay and Alipay.

My landlord asked for rent to be paid via Alipay (an app). This saves me from having to go to the bank to transfer money to his account when rent is due. This adds up to a lot of money when banks are only open during office hours and it takes up to 2 hours standing in lines to transfer money.

I don't have a gym membership. I use my phone's pedometer to track my steps and log calories. I also have an app that donates money to charity every time I exercise (it tracks miles walked and donates a set amount per mile). It's also my alarm clock, and my timer, which I use as a critical part of my job.

I've saved tons of money in taxi fares because I use GPS and the maps app to ensure the taxi driver is taking the most direct route. Case in point: My mom and I once took separate taxis from the same airport to the same hotel. She paid 100. I paid 30.

That being said, in China, it is pay as you go. We spend about 20 ($3) per month on phone charges. I think it really depends on how you use your smartphone that determines whether it's a luxury or an economic necessity. There are a few things I can do on my smart phone that I can't do in my iPad or computer.

iowajes

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2017, 07:11:21 AM »
I know a bunch of folks for whom the smartphone is their only internet device. The internet is a necessity; how you access it, whether via a smartphone or Fiber/Cable/DSL, does not matter.

Research has shown that low income groups are much more likely to have internet access through phone, not a computer.
It's one of the reason that educational outreach, for instance, often has to be done by app rather than website.

An Iphone, by brand, is not a necessity though.

Chris22

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2017, 07:48:56 AM »
Pretty sure "iPhone" is used here as a proxy for smartphone, they're saying a smart phone is not a luxury item.  Don't get wrapped around the axle over iPhone being an expensive smartphone, that's not the thrust of the discussion.  It would be like saying Kleenex isn't a luxury item and then people arguing that you can buy generic; yeah, got it, but that wasn't the point. 
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Drifterrider

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2017, 07:58:44 AM »
How on earth did we manage to live before smart phones (much less cell phones)?  Without them we will most certainly all be jobless and then die.


Fishindude

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2017, 08:03:28 AM »
I've got a few acquaintances that operate their daily lives just fine and still don't have a cell phone.
Yes, they are nice.  Necessity ... NO.      Same goes for internet service.

Chris22

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2017, 08:07:29 AM »
How on earth did we manage to live before smart phones (much less cell phones)?  Without them we will most certainly all be jobless and then die.

Don't be stupid. 

Prior to smart phones, we were tethered to using much more expensive, much less portable computers to access the internet to do all the useful things we do on the internet.  And prior to the internet, you did things in a different way (like apply for jobs in person that you found in the classifieds, for instance.)  HOWEVER, since the rise of the internet, the old ways of doing things largely disappeared (do they even have classifieds with jobs in them anymore?) so if you want to do those things, you have to do them via the internet. 

It would be like saying "you don't need a telephone, the telegraph worked just fine!" well great, go find yourself a telegraph office and start sending messages and see if anyone responds.  If life moves on, yes, things we didn't used to have can become a near necessity because the rest of society abandons the old way you still want to use.
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jinga nation

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2017, 08:29:22 AM »
Technology has evolved along with the ways we get work done.
If your job doesn't involve using technologies developed in the last 20 years, you don't need the new tech devices. You can stay off the grid if you choose.
If I genuinely enjoy my profession and workplace, is there a reason to FIRE? Keep Calm and Carry On Milking.

slugline

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2017, 08:31:04 AM »
Pretty sure "iPhone" is used here as a proxy for smartphone, they're saying a smart phone is not a luxury item.  Don't get wrapped around the axle over iPhone being an expensive smartphone, that's not the thrust of the discussion.  It would be like saying Kleenex isn't a luxury item and then people arguing that you can buy generic; yeah, got it, but that wasn't the point.

Bingo! Additionally, remember that we're a decade into the modern smartphone era. Just as with cars, the market is now full of functional previous-gen models. So even if you see the fruit logo on the back, we can't assume the owner paid a lot of money for that device.

MgoSam

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2017, 08:31:56 AM »
How on earth did we manage to live before smart phones (much less cell phones)?  Without them we will most certainly all be jobless and then die.

Don't be stupid. 

Prior to smart phones, we were tethered to using much more expensive, much less portable computers to access the internet to do all the useful things we do on the internet.  And prior to the internet, you did things in a different way (like apply for jobs in person that you found in the classifieds, for instance.)  HOWEVER, since the rise of the internet, the old ways of doing things largely disappeared (do they even have classifieds with jobs in them anymore?) so if you want to do those things, you have to do them via the internet. 

It would be like saying "you don't need a telephone, the telegraph worked just fine!" well great, go find yourself a telegraph office and start sending messages and see if anyone responds.  If life moves on, yes, things we didn't used to have can become a near necessity because the rest of society abandons the old way you still want to use.

Agreed!

https://xkcd.com/1227/

iowajes

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2017, 09:08:36 AM »
Pretty sure "iPhone" is used here as a proxy for smartphone, they're saying a smart phone is not a luxury item.  Don't get wrapped around the axle over iPhone being an expensive smartphone, that's not the thrust of the discussion.  It would be like saying Kleenex isn't a luxury item and then people arguing that you can buy generic; yeah, got it, but that wasn't the point.

I disagree. There really seem to be people who don't understand that there ARE inexpensive smartphones out there.

They think an Iphone IS required, and think a NEW one is needed as they are released.

I've had BYOD issues, and when asked for "affordable" options that met HR's requirements, they sent me things in the $400 range instead of $600 range.  My last phone cost $60! 

Luxury smart phones are luxury items.  For most people functioning in the business world, a smartphone is an economic necessity. There are exceptions of course, but MOST people will need them now. 

iowajes

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2017, 09:10:23 AM »
I've got a few acquaintances that operate their daily lives just fine and still don't have a cell phone.
Yes, they are nice.  Necessity ... NO.      Same goes for internet service.

How does one apply for a job without internet service?  They'd have to go somewhere with internet service- so they are clearly still using it.

Chris22

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2017, 09:15:35 AM »
Pretty sure "iPhone" is used here as a proxy for smartphone, they're saying a smart phone is not a luxury item.  Don't get wrapped around the axle over iPhone being an expensive smartphone, that's not the thrust of the discussion.  It would be like saying Kleenex isn't a luxury item and then people arguing that you can buy generic; yeah, got it, but that wasn't the point.

I disagree. There really seem to be people who don't understand that there ARE inexpensive smartphones out there.

They think an Iphone IS required, and think a NEW one is needed as they are released.

I've had BYOD issues, and when asked for "affordable" options that met HR's requirements, they sent me things in the $400 range instead of $600 range.  My last phone cost $60! 

Luxury smart phones are luxury items.  For most people functioning in the business world, a smartphone is an economic necessity. There are exceptions of course, but MOST people will need them now.

OTOH, I have the latest and greatest iPhone 7+ with 128GB of memory, and it cost me...$240 ($850ish list).  Because these things hold their value really well, you can churn them and upgrade to the latest device for dirt cheap by trading in a device 1-2 generations old.  It's cheaper for me to flip devices every 2 years than to do it every 4 years. 
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vivophoenix

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2017, 09:26:22 AM »
wasn't the entire point of this article,  to refute the politician that told the poor people to buy insurance instead of smartphones?

I feel like this article sends us all out into the weeds.
the real issue is that even if you do not have a smartphone, you still probably don't have money for insurance.

insurance is expensive, smartphones you buy for about $700 one time. his remarks were the elitist and off base.

like "hahaha poor people if only you spent your money better, you would be fine "


who cares whether or not a smartphone is valuable?

this is the same BS when people tried to show that poor people were doing fine cause they all had colored TVS now.

a one-time investment in something to make life easier does not make the difference for certain marginalized groups

dcheesi

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2017, 09:53:18 AM »
How on earth did we manage to live before smart phones (much less cell phones)?  Without them we will most certainly all be jobless and then die.

Don't be stupid. 

Prior to smart phones, we were tethered to using much more expensive, much less portable computers to access the internet to do all the useful things we do on the internet.  And prior to the internet, you did things in a different way (like apply for jobs in person that you found in the classifieds, for instance.)  HOWEVER, since the rise of the internet, the old ways of doing things largely disappeared (do they even have classifieds with jobs in them anymore?) so if you want to do those things, you have to do them via the internet. 

It would be like saying "you don't need a telephone, the telegraph worked just fine!" well great, go find yourself a telegraph office and start sending messages and see if anyone responds.  If life moves on, yes, things we didn't used to have can become a near necessity because the rest of society abandons the old way you still want to use.

Agreed!

https://xkcd.com/1227/
tl;dr

(But seriously, is it bad that I eventually stopped reading the full quotes and instead just skimmed the highlighted phrases?)

Helvegen

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2017, 09:57:58 AM »
I bought a new smartphone for my daughter new for $50 last year. Not like it broke the bank. Meanwhile, my current health insurance, assuming *I* had to pony up the entire cost for it, is $18k a year + $6750 in HSA. Hardly comparable expenses.

Chaffetz is so out of touch, he might as well be inhabiting a planet in another galaxy.

No, I don't think people living on the edge should be buying luxury smartphones, but that doesn't say anything about the affordability of health insurance to the same people. Just more feeding into the myth that there aren't people who are actually poor despite their best efforts, just spoiled welfare queens that won't make hard decisions.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/07/america-social-mobility-parents-income/399311/
http://dailycaller.com/2015/10/25/1-in-2-working-americans-make-less-than-30000-a-year/

jinga nation

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2017, 10:01:49 AM »
wasn't the entire point of this article,  to refute the politician that told the poor people to buy insurance instead of smartphones?

I feel like this article sends us all out into the weeds.
the real issue is that even if you do not have a smartphone, you still probably don't have money for insurance.

insurance is expensive, smartphones you buy for about $700 one time. his remarks were the elitist and off base.

like "hahaha poor people if only you spent your money better, you would be fine "


who cares whether or not a smartphone is valuable?

this is the same BS when people tried to show that poor people were doing fine cause they all had colored TVS now.

a one-time investment in something to make life easier does not make the difference for certain marginalized groups

TBH, Jason Chaffetz, and every politician in every administration is a crook of the finest order. Swindlers, thieves, cheats. The beg for your vote to steal from the workers and give to the rich and connected. US politicians have the finest health insurance, yet they mandate shitty choices for us.
You want to talk about a reality disconnect? Then Chaffetz is living proof.
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MilesTeg

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2017, 10:04:13 AM »
How on earth did we manage to live before smart phones (much less cell phones)?  Without them we will most certainly all be jobless and then die.

Don't be stupid. 

Prior to smart phones, we were tethered to using much more expensive, much less portable computers to access the internet to do all the useful things we do on the internet.  And prior to the internet, you did things in a different way (like apply for jobs in person that you found in the classifieds, for instance.)  HOWEVER, since the rise of the internet, the old ways of doing things largely disappeared (do they even have classifieds with jobs in them anymore?) so if you want to do those things, you have to do them via the internet. 

It would be like saying "you don't need a telephone, the telegraph worked just fine!" well great, go find yourself a telegraph office and start sending messages and see if anyone responds.  If life moves on, yes, things we didn't used to have can become a near necessity because the rest of society abandons the old way you still want to use.

^^ This, though I would add that high capability mobile devices have opened entirely new economic opportunities that still exist if you put your mind to it. Much like the rise of the personal computer. The economy is becoming increasingly tech centric, and if you aren't on board you're falling behind.

AlanStache

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2017, 10:08:51 AM »
Out of touch politician being out of touch.

At this point I would call internet access as much a necessity as a refrigerator for the vast majority of the US population.  My monthly phone bill (google fi) is less than half my cable internet bill.  Getting online with only a smart phone vs home internet/computer is a very price competitive option. 

Ex GF has a very old Iphone, it contains her life.  Most communication for her job is via text.  As others have said even with iphones unless you really know what you are looking at it can be hard to distinguish an expensive new one from an older second hand one. 
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Midwest

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2017, 10:43:50 AM »
How on earth did we manage to live before smart phones (much less cell phones)?  Without them we will most certainly all be jobless and then die.

Don't be stupid. 

Prior to smart phones, we were tethered to using much more expensive, much less portable computers to access the internet to do all the useful things we do on the internet.  And prior to the internet, you did things in a different way (like apply for jobs in person that you found in the classifieds, for instance.)  HOWEVER, since the rise of the internet, the old ways of doing things largely disappeared (do they even have classifieds with jobs in them anymore?) so if you want to do those things, you have to do them via the internet. 

Nobody is arguing against internet access.

Computers are cheaper than smart phones and more capable.  The downside is portability.  You can easily do the things you described without a smart phone.

For the record, I have a smart phone at $35 a month.  Nice item, but not a necessity.  Most people can certainly live without a big data plan if they put any thought into it at all.

TWC has or did have a $15 a month internet plan that would take care of everything you described.

There are other options for internet access besides smart phones.  The article seems to ignore that point.

MgoSam

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2017, 10:46:46 AM »
My smartphone is largely a necessity for work, which is nice as my company paid for it and pays for its monthly bill. I hate the fucking thing, I have to force myself not to check it constantly and cannot wait until I can live without needing to have a phone with constantly.

AlanStache

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2017, 11:01:34 AM »
...

Computers are cheaper than smart phones and more capable.  The downside is portability.  You can easily do the things you described without a smart phone.
...

not always, a cheap phone and cheap plain can be cheap.  The two home internet options in my area are both 65$/month.  It is cheaper to get online with a smart phone than a netbook with home interweb service in my area; sure, this may not be universal.  Yes you can get free web access at the library down the road but that would be a bit like having a refrigerator at your friends house.  How is your boss going to call/text you when your only communication options are email once a day at the library?  This seems penny-wise pound foolish. 
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Drifterrider

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2017, 11:23:43 AM »
How on earth did we manage to live before smart phones (much less cell phones)?  Without them we will most certainly all be jobless and then die.

Don't be stupid. 


If I post what I want to say I'll get banned so I'll just let you guess what I'm thinking.  YOU need a virtual punch in the mouth.

Midwest

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2017, 11:26:07 AM »
...

Computers are cheaper than smart phones and more capable.  The downside is portability.  You can easily do the things you described without a smart phone.
...

not always, a cheap phone and cheap plain can be cheap.  The two home internet options in my area are both 65$/month.  It is cheaper to get online with a smart phone than a netbook with home interweb service in my area; sure, this may not be universal.  Yes you can get free web access at the library down the road but that would be a bit like having a refrigerator at your friends house.  How is your boss going to call/text you when your only communication options are email once a day at the library?  This seems penny-wise pound foolish.

If the cheapest internet is $65 a month, it may be cheaper to use the smart phone.  In many cases, however, smart phones are not cheaper.  Not even close.

Thought experiment.  2 parent family with 2 phones @ $70 a month for a total of $140 (Verizon Unlimited ).

versus

$30 internet and 2 basic phones @30 per month.  That's $50 a month cheaper.  If things are tight, you can get those phone costs down substantially. 

Chris22

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2017, 12:06:39 PM »
...

Computers are cheaper than smart phones and more capable.  The downside is portability.  You can easily do the things you described without a smart phone.
...

not always, a cheap phone and cheap plain can be cheap.  The two home internet options in my area are both 65$/month.  It is cheaper to get online with a smart phone than a netbook with home interweb service in my area; sure, this may not be universal.  Yes you can get free web access at the library down the road but that would be a bit like having a refrigerator at your friends house.  How is your boss going to call/text you when your only communication options are email once a day at the library?  This seems penny-wise pound foolish.

If the cheapest internet is $65 a month, it may be cheaper to use the smart phone.  In many cases, however, smart phones are not cheaper.  Not even close.

Thought experiment.  2 parent family with 2 phones @ $70 a month for a total of $140 (Verizon Unlimited ).

versus

$30 internet and 2 basic phones @30 per month.  That's $50 a month cheaper.  If things are tight, you can get those phone costs down substantially.

Yeah, you can make any hypothetical up to demonstrate whatever you want, but the point remains, a smartphone is a valuable tool, and not some gold-plated fashion luxury.  You can make it into one, and you can do the things a smart phone does incrementally cheaper in other ways, but none of those things makes a smartphone frivolous in the manner suggested by Chaffetz. 

It would be like telling a farmer he doesn't need a tractor.  Yeah, he probably doesn't need a $500,000 tractor, and he COULD do without it all together using oxen or horses or something, but I think we'd all agree that a reasonable tractor is a good tool for a farmer to have, it's not something he buys because he's just lazy or spendy.
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Midwest

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2017, 12:15:01 PM »
...

Computers are cheaper than smart phones and more capable.  The downside is portability.  You can easily do the things you described without a smart phone.
...

not always, a cheap phone and cheap plain can be cheap.  The two home internet options in my area are both 65$/month.  It is cheaper to get online with a smart phone than a netbook with home interweb service in my area; sure, this may not be universal.  Yes you can get free web access at the library down the road but that would be a bit like having a refrigerator at your friends house.  How is your boss going to call/text you when your only communication options are email once a day at the library?  This seems penny-wise pound foolish.

If the cheapest internet is $65 a month, it may be cheaper to use the smart phone.  In many cases, however, smart phones are not cheaper.  Not even close.

Thought experiment.  2 parent family with 2 phones @ $70 a month for a total of $140 (Verizon Unlimited ).

versus

$30 internet and 2 basic phones @30 per month.  That's $50 a month cheaper.  If things are tight, you can get those phone costs down substantially.

Yeah, you can make any hypothetical up to demonstrate whatever you want, but the point remains, a smartphone is a valuable tool, and not some gold-plated fashion luxury.  You can make it into one, and you can do the things a smart phone does incrementally cheaper in other ways, but none of those things makes a smartphone frivolous in the manner suggested by Chaffetz. 

It would be like telling a farmer he doesn't need a tractor.  Yeah, he probably doesn't need a $500,000 tractor, and he COULD do without it all together using oxen or horses or something, but I think we'd all agree that a reasonable tractor is a good tool for a farmer to have, it's not something he buys because he's just lazy or spendy.

Smart phones are awesome and farmer should have a reasonable tractor - Agreed. 

Arguing a low income person needs a high dollar smart phone with a big data plan is like arguing I need a tractor for 100 a sf garden.

Low income people need access to the internet.  That may or may not involve a smart phone and it certainly doesn't require an unlimited data plan in most cases.

Chris22

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2017, 12:18:10 PM »

Arguing a low income person needs a high dollar smart phone with a big data plan is like arguing I need a tractor for 100 a sf garden.

I don't think anyone has argued that.
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MilesTeg

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2017, 12:19:10 PM »
Computers are cheaper than smart phones and more capable.  The downside is portability.  You can easily do the things you described without a smart phone.

I disagree on both accounts. A person can buy a decent mobile device these days for ~$50 (see; Amazon Fire tablet). Decent smart phones can be had for even less. Those mobile devices have wifi, built in cameras, built in gps, built in motion sensors, blue tooth, cell connectivity, etc. A similarly priced desktop or laptop may exist, but has none (or very few) of those features. The only thing the mobile device actually lacks is high precision input (touchscreen keyboard vs real keyboard/mouse) and the ability to run resource (CPU, RAM, Disk) hungry software (i.e. stuff that is mostly limited to niche and/or commercial use cases). The overwhelming majority of folks don't run Doom 2016, Photoshop, or AutoCad or even office suites. The overwhelming majority of computer (of any kind) use is streaming & web browsing.

So, while technically a computer can "do more" (in some ways!) that functionality isn't meaningful. It's like saying that a car that can go 200+ mph is more capable than a car that can only go 120. Technically true, but not meaningful for most people's use cases. I'm a software engineer and enjoy fancy PC games, but even my (personal) computer use could be 90% handled by a smart phone (though I would require a real keyboard).

And, of course, when you can fit your computer in your pocket, you can feasibly get away with not paying for internet at all and instead rely on public wifi. And of course that's not just a theoretical, many people actually do that.


Tasty Pinecones

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2017, 12:26:35 PM »
I'd rather have a decent laptop and Wi-Fi over a phone any day.

So I have wi-fi at home/work/free in many places and a decent laptop running free Mint Linux and Windows. I have a smart phone that can be purchased for $10 and a PAYG plan that is cheap b/c I seldom use all the minutes. Generally speaking I use the phone once a week. I utilize its "smart" phone features maybe once every 10 days.

Its just all how a person structures their life - just like being frugal or not.

Our teenager and my DW both highly utilize the web via social media on a smart phone. I don't. Am not a fan of social media.

For me a $250 laptop with wi-fi access (free in many locations) is more useful than a $700 smart phone with a $50/month data plan. Maybe if I lived in the big city and used all those apps that lead me to services and "deals" maybe i'd make better use of one. I do use GPS and an OBDII program - on my tablet - a device I like but seldom use as much as my laptop.

Again, its all about how a person structures their life and the things they choose.

acepedro45

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #31 on: March 08, 2017, 12:27:38 PM »
I was doing some homeless advocacy work in the 2006-2008 range when it first started cropping up: Homeless people with cellphones and even smart phones. At first I was surprised, but thinking it through, the phones can do a lot to improve someone's situation in life. Better access to information, being able to respond quickly to (for example) a job interview request or any other kind of opportunity....lots of things come to mind.

"Necessity" is a little bit too strong a word for my tastes, but the point is valid. In most cases, phones are not a frivolous luxury item, but the best use of extremely limited resources for low-income types.

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #32 on: March 08, 2017, 12:34:35 PM »
I was doing some homeless advocacy work in the 2006-2008 range when it first started cropping up: Homeless people with cellphones and even smart phones. At first I was surprised, but thinking it through, the phones can do a lot to improve someone's situation in life. Better access to information, being able to respond quickly to (for example) a job interview request or any other kind of opportunity....lots of things come to mind.

"Necessity" is a little bit too strong a word for my tastes, but the point is valid. In most cases, phones are not a frivolous luxury item, but the best use of extremely limited resources for low-income types.

Overall I can't judge people all that harshly for doing exactly what I'd do in their situation. If I didn't have access to regular lodgings or a way to keep my belongings safe, I would do whatever I could to make sure I had access to information, job application resources, a communications line, and a Web browser so I could do freelance writing for income. I'd also have to be able to access my bank account and pay my bills because without a residence I'd have no way to receive mail. But since I'd be limited to what I could carry around on my person, a cell phone would be the cheapest and most effective way to do all of what I'd need to do.
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iowajes

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #33 on: March 08, 2017, 12:53:21 PM »
I'd rather have a decent laptop and Wi-Fi over a phone any day.

So I have wi-fi at home/work/free in many places and a decent laptop running free Mint Linux and Windows. I have a smart phone that can be purchased for $10 and a PAYG plan that is cheap b/c I seldom use all the minutes. Generally speaking I use the phone once a week. I utilize its "smart" phone features maybe once every 10 days.

Its just all how a person structures their life - just like being frugal or not.

Our teenager and my DW both highly utilize the web via social media on a smart phone. I don't. Am not a fan of social media.

For me a $250 laptop with wi-fi access (free in many locations) is more useful than a $700 smart phone with a $50/month data plan. Maybe if I lived in the big city and used all those apps that lead me to services and "deals" maybe i'd make better use of one. I do use GPS and an OBDII program - on my tablet - a device I like but seldom use as much as my laptop.

Again, its all about how a person structures their life and the things they choose.

The people I am thinking of (I tutor at an ask-risk center and am exposed to people who are in a very different place in life than I am) who have smart phones but no computer are not living in stable situations where they could keep a laptop safe. A smartphone goes in their pocket, and never leaves them.

For my life- I would probably pick a laptop over a phone. But a laptop is more expensive and doesn't provide a phone (without having regular internet access to use something like google voice)- which is 100% necessity for people on irregular shift jobs. 

It is very easy to judge lives you don't live.  It's tough to say whether or not their choices are good.  (None of the people I'm thinking of have NICE smartphones though...)

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #34 on: March 08, 2017, 01:17:02 PM »
Unfortunately, smartphones are on their way to becoming necessities for everyone.  A friend is returning to the workforce after a few years and applied for what appears to be a minimum wage job as a cafeteria worker in a hospital.  They sent her a request to do some sort of automated interview via her smart phone where she has to videotape her answers to their questions and upload them to their website before she can be considered.  She has no smart phone and no computer skills, so she called me for help.  Smartphones have infiltrated our society when you need one to apply for work in a cafeteria.
IMO, the big advantage to IPhones is the screening for malware in the apps. Plus I upgrade every few years and sell my old IPhone on ebay for about $100 more then I paid for it, usually to someone in China.

Midwest

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2017, 01:46:03 PM »

Arguing a low income person needs a high dollar smart phone with a big data plan is like arguing I need a tractor for 100 a sf garden.

I don't think anyone has argued that.

but none of those things makes a smartphone frivolous in the manner suggested by Chaffetz. 

Chris - Chaffetz didn't argue against smart phones, he specifically mentioned expensive new i-phones that cost hundreds of dollars.  Your comment above seems to indicate you disagree with him that expensive I-phones are unnecessary.

I'm not a Chaffetz fan, nor do I think cheap cell phones will fix all health care problems.  I do, however, think he has a point about spending priorities and maximizing your resources.


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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2017, 02:12:44 PM »

Arguing a low income person needs a high dollar smart phone with a big data plan is like arguing I need a tractor for 100 a sf garden.

I don't think anyone has argued that.

but none of those things makes a smartphone frivolous in the manner suggested by Chaffetz. 

Chris - Chaffetz didn't argue against smart phones, he specifically mentioned expensive new i-phones that cost hundreds of dollars.  Your comment above seems to indicate you disagree with him that expensive I-phones are unnecessary.

I'm not a Chaffetz fan, nor do I think cheap cell phones will fix all health care problems.  I do, however, think he has a point about spending priorities and maximizing your resources.

I called out in like post 5 on this thread that I believe he used "iPhone" as a general term meaning "smartphone".  I don't think the thrust of his argument was "you don't  need the latest iPhone, you should buy an inexpensive Android", I think he naively meant "you don't need one of them fancy smartphones" and on that I would disagree with them, I think a smart phone is a pretty valuable tool. 
"If I could get all the money back I ever spent on cars, I'd spend it on cars." - Nick Mason

Midwest

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #37 on: March 08, 2017, 02:27:08 PM »

Arguing a low income person needs a high dollar smart phone with a big data plan is like arguing I need a tractor for 100 a sf garden.

I don't think anyone has argued that.

but none of those things makes a smartphone frivolous in the manner suggested by Chaffetz. 

Chris - Chaffetz didn't argue against smart phones, he specifically mentioned expensive new i-phones that cost hundreds of dollars.  Your comment above seems to indicate you disagree with him that expensive I-phones are unnecessary.

I'm not a Chaffetz fan, nor do I think cheap cell phones will fix all health care problems.  I do, however, think he has a point about spending priorities and maximizing your resources.

I called out in like post 5 on this thread that I believe he used "iPhone" as a general term meaning "smartphone".  I don't think the thrust of his argument was "you don't  need the latest iPhone, you should buy an inexpensive Android", I think he naively meant "you don't need one of them fancy smartphones" and on that I would disagree with them, I think a smart phone is a pretty valuable tool.

He never said that.  The "journalist" attempted to argue that smart phones and internet are the same thing.  They aren't.  Her argument was that verizon can be had for $35 a month.  It can't under verizon's present offerings to which she presumably referred.

My daughter has a $10 a month smart phone.  If anyone asked Chaffetz if that was OK, I'm sure the answer would be yes. 
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 02:33:49 PM by Midwest »

YummyRaisins

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #38 on: March 08, 2017, 02:51:21 PM »
I'm not a Chaffetz fan, nor do I think cheap cell phones will fix all health care problems.  I do, however, think he has a point about spending priorities and maximizing your resources.

So you are saying that all individuals/families who can't afford the cost of healthcare are in that predicament entirely because they didn't make better financial decisions? That all those who are working-poor spend frivolously and therefor can't afford to have healthcare?

If that's what you're saying then it seems you're as out of touch as Chaffetz. If not, please explain.

Midwest

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #39 on: March 08, 2017, 02:55:31 PM »
I'm not a Chaffetz fan, nor do I think cheap cell phones will fix all health care problems.  I do, however, think he has a point about spending priorities and maximizing your resources.

So you are saying that all individuals/families who can't afford the cost of healthcare are in that predicament entirely because they didn't make better financial decisions? That all those who are working-poor spend frivolously and therefor can't afford to have healthcare?

If that's what you're saying then it seems you're as out of touch as Chaffetz. If not, please explain.

No, I actually stated in the post you are quoting that I don't agree with Chaffetz that phone spending will fix health care problems.  Not sure what's unclear about the bolded part.

YummyRaisins

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2017, 03:00:26 PM »
I'm not a Chaffetz fan, nor do I think cheap cell phones will fix all health care problems.  I do, however, think he has a point about spending priorities and maximizing your resources.

The bolded text gave the impression that you think people can't afford healthcare (which I think we're all talking about or around) because they aren't making better financial choices.

Is this not true?

Paul der Krake

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #41 on: March 08, 2017, 03:10:36 PM »
Chafetz is a complete idiot, but he's right on this point.

I've met many people making low incomes bitching about how they couldn't afford the already heavily subsidized premiums that would run them $30-50/month, while typing away on smartphone that's 50% of their monthly after tax earnings.

Americans could collectively shave TENS OF BILLIONS of dollars on their phone needs every year. AT&T and Verizon alone have 200m+ subscribers combined. Do the math. The amount of money wasted yapping on shit portable computers is unbelievable.

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #42 on: March 08, 2017, 03:11:07 PM »
I'm not a Chaffetz fan, nor do I think cheap cell phones will fix all health care problems.  I do, however, think he has a point about spending priorities and maximizing your resources.

The bolded text gave the impression that you think people can't afford healthcare (which I think we're all talking about or around) because they aren't making better financial choices.

Is this not true?

I think you probably should carefully consider you spending, especially if you have limited resources.  Part of that consideration might involve not buying an expensive cell phone nor a high dollar plan.

As I stated in the post you are quoting, that won't be enough to fix health care.  Health care is expensive and getting a cheap cell phone plan won't necessarily fix that.  If health insurance is $4k a year, you obviously won't be able to cover that by getting a cheap phone plan as Chaffetz alludes to.  If you are complaining you can't get your teeth cleaned on your i-phone 10 with unlimited data,  you might want to reconsider your choices.

Spending less on a cell phone, however, would free up some pretty substantial resources in some cases.

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #43 on: March 08, 2017, 04:42:06 PM »
Chafetz is a complete idiot, but he's right on this point.

I've met many people making low incomes bitching about how they couldn't afford the already heavily subsidized premiums that would run them $30-50/month, while typing away on smartphone that's 50% of their monthly after tax earnings.

Americans could collectively shave TENS OF BILLIONS of dollars on their phone needs every year. AT&T and Verizon alone have 200m+ subscribers combined. Do the math. The amount of money wasted yapping on shit portable computers is unbelievable.

Regarding Chaffetz, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Unfortunately smart phones are among the luxuries marketed aggressively to lower-income people, to the point where they are so ubiquitous people in the communities that have adopted them regard them, and the expenses that go along with them, as a necessity.

Smart phones are in the same category as professional manicures and eyebrow treatments, ostentatious hubcap decorations, overpriced mall boutique underwear, cigarettes, boutique makeup, barista-made coffee, drive-through "food", and Brobdingnagian flat-screen televisions.

It's not just the phone or even the bandwidth. It's all the nonsense that goes along with it: $30 cables and chargers, $180 replacement screens, screen protectors, cases, headphones, Bluetooth speakers, and it all adds up. Then of course there's the $10 per month for Netflix, $10 per month for Apple's music streaming service, and pretty soon the accessories and services alone average ten to twenty bucks per week.

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #44 on: March 08, 2017, 07:20:50 PM »
How on earth did we manage to live before smart phones (much less cell phones)?  Without them we will most certainly all be jobless and then die.

Don't be stupid. 

Prior to smart phones, we were tethered to using much more expensive, much less portable computers to access the internet to do all the useful things we do on the internet.  And prior to the internet, you did things in a different way (like apply for jobs in person that you found in the classifieds, for instance.)  HOWEVER, since the rise of the internet, the old ways of doing things largely disappeared (do they even have classifieds with jobs in them anymore?) so if you want to do those things, you have to do them via the internet. 

It would be like saying "you don't need a telephone, the telegraph worked just fine!" well great, go find yourself a telegraph office and start sending messages and see if anyone responds.  If life moves on, yes, things we didn't used to have can become a near necessity because the rest of society abandons the old way you still want to use.
I thinks/he was being sarcastic. So not a stupid comment.

YummyRaisins

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #45 on: March 08, 2017, 07:22:18 PM »
The problem I have with this thought experiment (spend less = afford healthcare) is that healthcare is not something you save up to buy once and you're good for a few years, like an iPhone for example. And you don't get 10 years or 15 years to make it happen like FIRE. You need it immediately and you need it consistently. Lose your job? No emergency fund? You're boned; and good luck getting new coverage if a pre-existing condition crops up in the interim.

The idea that simply spending less on stuff of arguable necessity will get you consistent health insurance coverage is disingenuous, especially when it comes from an asshat whose insurance and iPhone are paid for by taxpayers. Honestly (and maybe I'm wrong) I don't think deciding between a cell phone or health insurance is calculus that any citizen of the wealthiest nation on the planet should have to do.

My bias is showing i guess...

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #46 on: March 08, 2017, 07:32:57 PM »
How on earth did we manage to live before smart phones (much less cell phones)?  Without them we will most certainly all be jobless and then die.

Don't be stupid. 

Prior to smart phones, we were tethered to using much more expensive, much less portable computers to access the internet to do all the useful things we do on the internet.  And prior to the internet, you did things in a different way (like apply for jobs in person that you found in the classifieds, for instance.)  HOWEVER, since the rise of the internet, the old ways of doing things largely disappeared (do they even have classifieds with jobs in them anymore?) so if you want to do those things, you have to do them via the internet. 

It would be like saying "you don't need a telephone, the telegraph worked just fine!" well great, go find yourself a telegraph office and start sending messages and see if anyone responds.  If life moves on, yes, things we didn't used to have can become a near necessity because the rest of society abandons the old way you still want to use.
price of computer/laptop for low end but usable one also cost the same as a smart phone these days

people who rely on a phone for internet connections choose the phone over a computer, it isn't that they can't afford a computer, they did when they bought the $500+ phone

even a chromebook can get more work done than a smartphone of equal price,  paired with a dumb phone for calls/texts
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 07:35:00 PM by Left »

the_gastropod

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #47 on: March 08, 2017, 08:03:09 PM »
price of computer/laptop for low end but usable one also cost the same as a smart phone these days

people who rely on a phone for internet connections choose the phone over a computer, it isn't that they can't afford a computer, they did when they bought the $500+ phone

even a chromebook can get more work done than a smartphone of equal price,  paired with a dumb phone for calls/texts

Most people need a cell phone (smart or otherwise). That requires a recurring monthly bill. Having internet service at home is an additional monthly bill. It's understandable that purchasing one device with one monthly bill can be the better use of one's money than buying two devices (computer + phone) with separate monthly bills.

vivophoenix

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #48 on: March 09, 2017, 06:46:46 AM »
The problem I have with this thought experiment (spend less = afford healthcare) is that healthcare is not something you save up to buy once and you're good for a few years, like an iPhone for example. And you don't get 10 years or 15 years to make it happen like FIRE. You need it immediately and you need it consistently. Lose your job? No emergency fund? You're boned; and good luck getting new coverage if a pre-existing condition crops up in the interim.

The idea that simply spending less on stuff of arguable necessity will get you consistent health insurance coverage is disingenuous, especially when it comes from an asshat whose insurance and iPhone are paid for by taxpayers. Honestly (and maybe I'm wrong) I don't think deciding between a cell phone or health insurance is calculus that any citizen of the wealthiest nation on the planet should have to do.

My bias is showing i guess...

these are my thoughts exactly

that one-time iPhone purchase or even that crazy data plan will not make up for health care.

but also could we all agree people who do not have and need health insurance rarely spend as frivolously as we love to portray?

from hubcaps to eyebrows and nails: stop falling for the n=1, welfare queen lie.

people who need insurance are usually struggling for other things as well. and the phone isn't the deterrent

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Re: No, Iphones aren't luxury items. They're economic necessities.
« Reply #49 on: March 09, 2017, 08:32:57 AM »
The problem I have with this thought experiment (spend less = afford healthcare) is that healthcare is not something you save up to buy once and you're good for a few years, like an iPhone for example. And you don't get 10 years or 15 years to make it happen like FIRE. You need it immediately and you need it consistently. Lose your job? No emergency fund? You're boned; and good luck getting new coverage if a pre-existing condition crops up in the interim.

The idea that simply spending less on stuff of arguable necessity will get you consistent health insurance coverage is disingenuous, especially when it comes from an asshat whose insurance and iPhone are paid for by taxpayers. Honestly (and maybe I'm wrong) I don't think deciding between a cell phone or health insurance is calculus that any citizen of the wealthiest nation on the planet should have to do.

My bias is showing i guess...

these are my thoughts exactly

that one-time iPhone purchase or even that crazy data plan will not make up for health care.

but also could we all agree people who do not have and need health insurance rarely spend as frivolously as we love to portray?

from hubcaps to eyebrows and nails: stop falling for the n=1, welfare queen lie.

people who need insurance are usually struggling for other things as well. and the phone isn't the deterrent

The data points I'm personally acquainted with do in fact support the frivolous spending argument at least some of the time. Not all of them, mind you: for every frivolous spender who's poor ("welfare queen" stereotype) I know at least five people who are disabled, sick, or just plain old... and I also know at least half a dozen who are struggling to make ends meet on a low income, who are not eligible for help and who are extremely frugal.

Last summer I was supporting a houseguest for a couple months, who was a close friend of my daughter. She was definitely living the stereotype. I've described what I call "pig culture" in a different thread; suffice it to say that she and her six poorly-socialized brats caused a great deal of damage to my home and sent my daughter into a full-blown psychiatric episode. The hyperconsumption was a horrible influence: my teenaged daughter got to see a grown woman spend hundreds of dollars a week on luxuries such as professional manicures, daily fast food runs, and boutique cosmetics despite the fact she couldn't put a roof over her children's heads. The kids were all on Medicaid and food stamps. Regrettably, she's not the only living caricature on the planet: through my daughter I've met many examples of the entitlement class in action. They're 100% real, and they do exist. I'm not suggesting that they're in the majority, because that isn't what I'm seeing.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 08:36:58 AM by TheGrimSqueaker »
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