We live in a materialistic world.

Quick side note before we get started. I am going to go back to regularly publishing on Sunday nights as this mid-week publish isn’t quite working out. So, moving forward expect regular Sunday 6:30 posts! Thanks for continuing to read my dribble drab!

This week I experienced a great tragedy that every millennial fears; my phone died. Well it didn’t really die the headset speaker just stopped working so you couldn’t hear anyone when they called you. So, I did the responsible thing and took my overpriced pocket computer that occasionally makes phone calls to the Apple Store.

Now to give you some background, I have an iPhone 6s that my wife and I purchased on some installment plan like 2-3 years ago. When we purchased it, we agreed to pay some 700$ for this device over a two-year period. We paid off the remaining balance on the device earlier this year.

I walked into the Apple Store and I was met by a young woman who was greeting customers and was lightyears ahead of me in both cool points and style. She then scheduled me to meet with technician “Mike”. Mike was a college kid who was also light years ahead of me in style and cool points. Mike plugged my iPhone into his iPad and ran some diagnostic tests which he said would take around a half hour to complete. I mentioned that he could have the results much quicker as I could just call my phone and he could listen to it, but he insisted that he needed to run the tests. So, thirty minutes later he said, “Well it looks like your handset speaker is broken”. A younger version of myself would have been annoyed at the process but in my old age I have stopped caring so much, plus I was surrounded by the cool kids and didn’t want to look like a loser.

So, I asked the most logical question I could, which to me is “How much will it cost to fix it?”.

Mike then started going down the options of what I could do to resolve my problem. I will summarize them because Mike was a bit long winded. Essentially the handset speaker is built into the who display assembly so to fix the speaker you have to replace the entire display assembly which will cost 200$ and according to Mike will most likely fail. Otherwise I could upgrade to an iPhone 8 for 700$ or an iPhone X for 1000$.

Now if you’re like me you probably read that last paragraph and thought, “Wait, why would the fix probably fail?” That’s a great question, see the reason why the repair will fail is because my iPhone has bent over the years. Yes, you read the correctly apparently the 6s’s have a problem where they will bend gradually over normal use. According to Mike, Apple realized their mistake sometime after production and before the phone hit the market and thus “fixed” it on the iPhone 7. Thus, meaning that my iPhone 6s was doomed to fail from production. Mike did not like my suggestion that Apple fix my phone for free then because I “can’t expect Apple to fix my phone, that is similar to expecting a car manufacturer to fix your car after a car accident”.

Again, if you are like me this would infuriate you. There are so many things wrong with his statement that after 25 minutes of me dissecting his statement back to him and trying to get him to recognize that “normal use” and “car accident” are not the same, I gave up. I had to accept my fate that I had only two choices before me, fix my phone or get a new one.

I am not going to lie to you I struggled hard this week with this choice. The main reason the choice was so difficult for me was because of the price tag associated with a new phone. The entry cost of getting into an iPhone is like 700$ which is similar to comparable Android phones. They try to sell you these things as only 25$ or 30$ a month but if you can do simple math you realize the cost is still the same. Even getting another iPhone 6s from Apple or Best Buy was around 440$. Maybe I am poorer than I think I am, but 400$ is a lot of money to me.

As I mulled over my choices I went to the Apple Store, Best Buy and AT&T and got as many prices as I could possibly on all my options and truthfully, they all sucked. During my travels to all these stores I met a myriad of new individuals who wanted to sell me different things. At Best Buy I met a google employee who swore to me the Google Pixel 2 was worth $1000 but that Google didn’t care about making money and they were just breaking even on the phone. At the AT&T store I met Joel who told me I needed the iPhone X because I use my phone for work. He also told me that spending $1000 on a phone was a normal part of life. At the Apple Store I met Simon who told me that I was making a big deal out of 35$ a month. For the 20 minutes I spoke with Simon he could not understand that it was still full price just broken down into 30 months. Nevertheless, throughout all my conversations the main theme was “This is just part of life, deal with it.”

I think I am broken because I look at the new iPhone, Pixel or Galaxy and I think “yeah it looks cool but its not worth anywhere near that.” I could either pay my mortgage, electric bill and water bill or buy a new phone.

This week I have spent a lot of time thinking about how many lies are sold to us. The lie is that if I have this new piece of technology, gear or experience that my life will be great. That these things will somehow fill the void that in deep within ourselves. The reality is they never do. The reality is they just leaving us longing for more and more.

It is kind of funny because once you recognize the scam you see it in action all around you. I came home from my AT&T store experience and started to look around my house at all the shit I have bought hoping would satisfy an empty void that it never did. This simple process of upgrading my phone has turned into a massive downsizing operation. I have started going through everything I own and making piles as to what I desperately want to keep and then everything else. My “desperately want to keep” pile is currently empty.

I need not explain to most of you the reality of the void in our lives that will never be filled except by God. I would venture an argument that most Christians recognize this as a fundamental truth, but I would also argue that most Christians don’t recognize how much their culture influences their decisions. I would venture an argument that if you walked around your house, office, garage or tool room you would find things that you bought and have never needed or used again. I would argue that everyone at one point in time has bought something subconsciously hoping it would fill a void in their life and then ultimately being left disappointed.

Unfortunately, I haven’t quite gone through my whole house yet listing out all the this I could get rid of and thus am still very much in the middle of the “recovery” stage. As such I am not going to tell you I have it all figured out or that I will never impulsively buy something again. I can’t say that I won’t try to use things to fill a void in my life ever again. However, I will promise you that I will be much more mindful moving forward. Hell, I will even update you on my downsize next week!

Thanks again for always reading.

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