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If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Buy….

…don’t buy anything at all.

unboxing iPad 2
Photo credit to JuhaIhalainen, as I don’t have my own iPad to take pictures of.

I want an iPad.

There I said it. I want an over priced tablet computer. And I have all sorts of justification for it.

We are a 1 laptop, 1 TV family. Seems totally reasonable, right? After all we are only 2 people. Yet, its increasingly difficult to balance my Financial Empire managing and blog blogging with The Husband’s need for a computer in the kitchen for recipes and all the mini-projects he is tasked with. Right now we play a somewhat frustrating back and forth of “Just give me 5 minutes” or “Let me scribble this down”. Trains of thought are interrupted. Flour ends up on keyboards. Patience is tested.

An iPad is totally the answer. A mini computer for someone to browse, while the other types. Perfect for the kitchen, or watching your own streaming Netflix, or reading up on how to grow fennel, or, or or…

That’s a need, right?

Yes, I am being an elitist here. There are other, cheaper tablets, serving essentially the same purpose. Heck, the Kindle Fire may even be a loss leader. The problem (and the beauty) with Apple products, is they just work. My MacBook works with my Airport Extreme , works with my Apple TV, works with my Magic Mouse. This involves little to no intervention from me. For someone who has less than zero patience with such things, it’s completely worth the premium price when it just works.

My problem though is not the price tag. It’s not even the brand. It’s the Conscientious Consumerism of the thing. The knowing participation in planned obsolescence. The creation of more e-crap for my own convenience.

These things are manufactured in China under questionable (but perhaps improving) labor practices, with parts likely strip mined from around the globe. It is largely not recyclable. I don’t want to even think about the fossil fuels expended in it’s creation and transport. All so it can be shipped to me to further the efficiency with which I handle my first world problems. For a few years at least. Until it is rendered useless by the passage of not very much time, and technology advancement. This is true of the iPad and the iPad alternatives.

Still, I want one. Need is questionable.

How would I lessen the blow? How does one improve the responsibility of such a decision?

Buy Used? The way I see it, this is only helpful if I’m buying from someone who is not going to turn around and replace the item. If I buy an original IPad, so they can rush out and buy an IPad 2, it may save me money, but it’s still a net new add to the world of stuff. If that’s what I’m trying to avoid, it would have to be a specific circumstance. Someone looking to unload their tablet because it has proven not useful to them. Nosiness would be required, and there’s really no guarantee.

Buy Local? In most areas I don’t think that’s even an option. You can buy your IPad from any variety of Big Box locations, or Apple directly. Independent electronics retailers are few and far between. We have a local(ish) chain I could patronize. By local I mean Washington and Oregon locations. This would soften the blow ever so slightly, but prohibit me from using Amazon rewards and gift cards we’ve been squirrelling away from just such a purchase. Amazon is my remaining big box exception, so I could do it. It does nothing to improve the ickiness of the purchase though.

What Else? Buying used doesn’t really help, and buying local is going to cost me significantly more. What’s a fiscally conservative, socially responsible girl to do? My answer so far has been not to buy. Like my mother told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”. With a small, twist I think that application works remarkably well here. As long as I can’t think my way into any sort of good alternative, regardless of ‘need’ being real or just made up in my head, I am choosing not to consume. Yes, it’s an item I really, really want. It’s even an item I can afford. Right now, it’s one I just won’t buy. Maybe that helps my karma just a little, and it certainly keeps money in the bank account.

The Husband and I will have to make do with talking to each other, coordinating, and agreeing to watch the same thing on TV. Poor us. (with added sarcasm)

What would you do? Am I the only one that is squeamish about electronics purchases? Hmmm…. Maybe I don’t actually want the answers to those questions.

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This post made me very happy!


(you CAN buy refurbished products from Apple on their website. You can also make friends with an Apple employee and see if they will give you one of their Friends and Family discounts)

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