Consumer Electronic Ethics

I just bought a new iPod.

You do NOT know the agony that surrounded this decision. I’ve been thinking about purchasing a new iPod for weeks (even going so far as to wander into the Apple Store and PURCHASE one, just to return it ten minutes later*). But I kept trying to tell myself that I couldn’t afford it financially, or it wasn’t responsible to buy a new one and just keep watching for a refurb 80G to pop up again, or even DAMNIT my current iPod is barely three years old!

Then my current iPod would do that thing where it would stop working and it would take ten minutes for me to get the gorram thing going again, during which I was panicked and cursing and wondering what the hell I would do when it finally bit the dust. My current iPod is a Mini, which hasn’t been supported by Apple since about six months after I purchased it, so it’s impossible for me to find someone to attempt to repair it. I’ve tried.

Oh, that’s another reason I threw up about not buying one– planned obsolescence sucks donkey balls.

In all my shenaniganing back and forth, I actually did the math on my iPod Mini. It was purchased for $149. It has played for approximately 6,000 hours as I rode public transit to work, took walks, flew back and forth and up and down this great country, and at a few workspaces I was allowed to listen to it continuously, which helped alleviate my ADD and increased my productivity. It therefore cost me $0.02 per hour.

But then I get into wondering what has turned this little pile of sillicon and brushed steel into an indespensable part of my life? I can’t pinpoint it.

And people critisize kids my age, say that we’re turning into Pod People, headphones in and ignoring each other in public. Hon, the only way this is different now from back before iPods and Walkmans is that we’re listening to music as we ignore folks. People ignore each other. It sucks, but it’s happened since forever. My generation’s just learned to do it better than those that came before us.

I don’t have any answers for you all. I just have a tracking number and a lighter bank account, and more questions.

So, you know, situation normal over here at Mary Sue’s place.

*Under the cut is the long story about why I purchased and returned an iPod within ten minutes.

I rolled out to the Apple store today, ready to shell out lots of money, because my iPod is first generation Mini… you know, the one they discontinued. And my headphones broke and the battery’s not lasting as long as it used to. And I want to watch TV at work.

Shut up, it’s totally just like listening to music at work, only there’s a wee picture. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

After wandering around touching everything (seriously, Mac addictions are not funny) I walked up to one of the three hundred Apple store guys.

“Hello,” said Apple Store Guy. “What can I help you with?”

“I would like an 80GB iPod Classic, please.”

“Fan-TAS-tic!” Apple Store Guy said. “Silver or black?”

I had to think about that. CHOICES OMG! “Black,” I decided, not making the choice at all based on my Star Wars or Harry Potter affiliations. Nope. Not at all.

So the nice Apple Store Guy swipes my card and hands me a box. And that’s when I mention, “Yeah, my Mini is crapping out on me, so that’s why I want a new one.”

“Oh! If you recycle your old iPod, you get $25 off!”

Give up Mean Green the Second, my beloved Mini?! Are you mad?! Wait, $25… “Okay!” I said, and followed the Apple Store Guy to the back.

I filled out some papers, and the Apple Store Guy handed me off to Other Apple Store Guy (now on known as Other!Guy) who did all the chargeback stuff, and then rung me up.

I dutifully slid my card.

“Your card’s been declined.”

Buhwuhuh? I try again, and Other!Guy shakes his head.

“It’s been declined again. Do you have another card?”

Um, no. No, I don’t. See, this isn’t a credit card, this is Cashy Money in the Bank card. Because that’s the only way I roll any more (compound interest is full of fail). So I get on the phone to my bank.

“There’s nothing wrong with your card,” Bank Chica says. “Try again in about 10 minutes.”

I wander off to Claire’s, looking for hair toys, and walk out empty handed and feeling about ten years older (I could have bought a lovely headband with Hannah Montana printed on it, but I decided that wouldn’t be appropriate for work). And back to the Apple Store, where Hot Apple Store Chick attempted to find someone who knew what the hell to do with me.

Eventually Hot Apple Store Chick found Other!Guy, and we did the song and dance again. Mind you, by now it’s 6pm, and in Portland we are very strict about keeping a schedule. 5pm is Stand Around Downtown Looking Bored Waiting For a Bus, 6pm is Go Into Electronic Stores And Drop the Equivalent of My Parish’s Annual Budget, and 7pm is Dinner. So all the hipsters and yuppies are glaring me down and I’m trying to project Young Up-And-Comer, but my black sneakers were having none of it.

“Your card was declined,” Other!Guy says.

Crap. I gather up Mean Green the Second and head out into Portland’s chilly night. Two blocks to my stop, and half a block before that there’s a Radio Shack.

So I drop $20 on new bass-increasing sound-blocking headphones. And feel a little better about myself.

I don’t need a new iPod right now. Really.

(Tomorrow, though, that’s another story….)

1 Comment

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One response to “Consumer Electronic Ethics

  1. So you actually have a new one now? And it is 80 gig? Wow. I have to first find my mini, and second, make it work. I am not sure how. The apple store told me they could make it work–is that not true? Otherwise, maybe I will get a nano? Or not? I have a new cell phone, though, with a screen that works reliably!