C’mon, Do You REALLY Need This?

Okay, I guess this might be at the heart of much of the E-Anything question:  c’mon on, do you REALLY need it?

The arguable statement could be made, that, hey, the decision’s already been made—but has it?

Look at Borders.

As Humans we all exhibit moments of rather interesting behavior.  Eh, it’s what we do…who we are. New stuff helps keep life interesting. Distracts us from the everyday minutiae of our ofttimes droll existences. Sure, some of it can actually improve life, but with all this “improvement” also comes a loss of relaxation, hard-won moolah (especially in these challenging economic times), and something else to have to worry about, carry, and sell our souls to. And the continual spending in our current economic climate, this really baffles me—how people will continue to spend and spend, buying all these new toys when they’re losing jobs. Another argument can be made that people have to pump their hard-earned money back into the economy to have it survive…but where does that “end,” so to speak?

And there are so many arguments.

Here’s another way to look at all this gadgetry. I’m not a Luddite in any sense of the word, but am always planning for the future—and I’d really rather plan to have some dough left at the back-end of my life, rather than having to try to keep up with the latest technogadget and keep spending more and more money on something else I have to continue paying for long after the initial point-of-purchase….

Do we really need all this extra stuff?  Or is someone else is just telling us we “need” it. Or are we just looking for some way to fill in all the spaces of our lives where we used to be left with our own thoughts, because we’re too scared or lonely or (yes!) lazy to do something else…and gadgets are easy? We can hold them in our little hands and look oh-so-danged important. Feel important, so tied in with the rest of the world with CNN and Fox News.

Okay, feeling important is no-so-small a thing, true. We all need a sense of self worth, true.

But, look, Borders supposedly sold stuff in the public interest—then why did it die?

Because public interest waned.

Everyone out there (me included) decided not to spend our hard-earned income in their corporation, that’s why. Whether or not Borders screwed over their employees (as a recent August 1st Publishers Weekly editorial suggested), is moot, because the end result is that people simply stopped spending money in there. That means that each and every one of us made a powerful statement and brought down a corporation (again, internal struggles notwithstanding—there are a lot of businesses out there not well run, yet they still survive…).

So, it seems to me, that it’s not just a matter of “them” (other people) trying to figure out what makes E-Anything work, it’s the individual. Do any of us really need any or all of these gadgets to survive?

No, we don’t. Not really.

If there’s no “need” there’s no issue.

For whatever reason, everyone’s funneling money into hand-held computers instead of books and magazines, etc. It’s an individual choice, not a corporation’s. My parents didn’t need to know where I was every second, nor did I need to know what the stock prices, breaking news, local weather, or whatever when I was a kid. I found stuff out in other ways after I was done playing or working outside. Done reading a book, or riding a bike. Chopping wood. Yes, life changes, progression should be made as a species, and so many other arguments, but, come on, do you really need all these gadgets at the expense of sanity, relaxation, income, or (in our neck of the woods) books?

It’s a choice.

If you don’t want books, buy gadgets. It’s that easy, and that seems to be the case. Though I believe it’s a big enough world for both. Choices can be redirected to other modes of improvement, and if everyone continues to focus on gadgets, that’s exactly what everyone will get.


About fpdorchak

Upmarket paranormal fiction author. I write gritty, Twilight Zone-like fiction. Please check out my website: https://www.fpdorchak.com/! Thank you for stopping by!
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9 Responses to C’mon, Do You REALLY Need This?

  1. karen Lin says:

    I don’t have an e-reader yet. I rarely buy books from Amazon. I visit bookstores and local used bookstores. Saddened by the loss of Borders. I was one of the last holdouts getting a cell phone – and it was really forced on me. Last weekend my hubby about freaked out when I knew mine was in the house somewhere, couldn’t locate it (he’d tucked it somewhere where its ring couldn’t be heard!). I wasn’t bothered at all that I wouldn’t be taking it on our weekend getaway. Everytime a tech device comes into my life, I first resist owning it, then use but could take it or leave it. Then sometimes something like email or better, computers or email comes along and I feel they are essential to my life. I do hate carbon paper.

    • fpdorchak says:

      Yeah, am also saddened by its loss; I just don’t spend a lot of money, period. I liked one of our Borders in particular, but the sad thing is, at least in the store we frequented (with maybe one exception), they usually didn’t know a lot about the books without (perish the thought!) resorting to a computer. The “job knowledge” described about in this PW op-ed I did not find a lot of locally. Now, when we had all the Indies, yes, that’s what blew me away about these people. That’s largely part of what made me go to the local stores. So, I think there are definitely reasons why book stores are failing, but however they fail, when they DO fail, (IMHO) the public removes their trust and money from them, and things just spiral down from there.

  2. Ron H says:

    As I mentioned earlier, Frank. It’s all a matter of perspective. The fact is that “gadgets” have driven innovation for three thousand years or more. The earliest “gadget” might have been a branch dipped in rotting mammoth fat so man could carry his fire with him.

    Where would we be if no one ever invented a gadget? Or if no one ever bought one to make the inventing part worth the time and effort.

    If not for Gutenberg’s gadget, or the quill pen gadget before it, we’d all still have stacks of rocks in our very limited libraries.

    Gadgets for some become necessities for others. The ejection seat, the intravenous infusion pump, and, oh, yeah, a telephone you can carry with you and don’t need quarters.


  3. Ron H says:

    Without stepping too far across the line, I think there are definitely places where if nothing else, some hard scrutiny may be involved in buying anything.

    Anymore, before I buy anything, I look at least four places to see if I can find one that is a) made in USA, or b) NOT hecho in chine — if I can’t find one, then the next question is always “how badly do I NEED to have this.”

    Sometimes, there is no choice, but at least half of the time there is.

    • fpdorchak says:

      Ron, I’d be shocked if you’d taken any other stance! :-] But, really, comparing an iPad to an ejection seat?! I’m not dumping on inventions in general, I’m more CURIOUS about how all this is falling out, especially in the economy we’re all a part of. Also, see blog site title. ;-] Inventions come and go, some stay, some don’t. But part of what I’m wondering is maybe, what if part of the whole issue is that iPads and Readers just aren’t all that needed in the first place, or someone would have figured this all out by now (emergencies tend to breed fires in need of being put out YESTERDAY)? Maybe not so needed precisely because the market is trying to figure out IF they really are needed. And I’m also curious that all these “Smart People” can’t figure out how to price and place this stuff. I certainly don’t have all the answers, have no economics nor financial background, but I know one thing: don’t be buying something you can’t pay for, and the more you “need” something the more harder you gotta work for it/to keep it. And maybe all those Smart People don’t want to price e-Stuff at such lower prices because they KNOW that all the other Stuff they sell will be undersold and they’ll lose their steady stream of profits to cheaper stuff, which may very well mean less profits all around. Hence, all this “industry angst” about how to price stuff is because of poor buisiness models to begin with, and finally it’s at a breaking point. $30 for a book?! Really?

      Anyway, I’m open to suggestions, so thanks, Karen and Ron, for stopping by!

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  5. fpdorchak says:



    iWhile one is inherent to the design specs of an object itself (and is therefore “needed”), without which said object does not properly function in the object’s “prime directive” (in keeping humans alive in dangerious situations and environments, not just in flying a platform), the other is an “add on”–never before had been needed in and of the medical field’s prime directive [of keeping humans alive, period] over the course of thousands of years. Sure, it certainly would *help” in keeping more people alive (no argument from me), but I don’t feel it is an inherent “need” in and off performing inherent medical actions. Of course, there are lots of gray area and room for discussion, here, but that’s how I look at it, which is, after all…


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