Monday, March 3, 2014

Why do people spend money on _____?

People spend alot of money are really stupid stuff. I can count myself along the legions who have bought things and never even used them. I have a sports coat I have never worn, still with the tags on it proclaiming the $75 I wasted for some closet decoration. So I can't say I am the worlds best when it comes to making rational financial choices, but I have started to wonder about my friends and family who perpetually waste money on things that are effectively free. No, I am not talking about buying bottled water, because pointing that out is about as obvious as saying Paris Hilton has a lazy eye.
As an aside, why does anyone pay for anything she endorses?
Books
Owning books makes people appear intelligent, and this is quite possibly the only reason many books have ever been purchased. We can skip over the observation that most books, I am willing to say upwards of 85%, never get read and spend their entire existence taking up space on a book shelf, only to be sold for 50cents at a garage sale 15 years later, where they will be bought and thrown into a box with other unread books and stored in some old ladies basement until a flood comes and destroys it.
The books are all disheveled, that must mean I read them, I am so smart
But I am not just talking about how unlikely it is anyone will read a book but why do people spend money on books. There are places in every city where a person can go and borrow a book for free, so long as they return this book within a specified amount of time. These places are called libraries, and if you have ever ventured into one you know how absent of human life they seem to be. Yet walk into any Borders or Barnes and Noble and there are streams of people buying stuff left and right.

I own books myself, and I know from experience that once I finish reading a book it takes on the life of the unread books mentioned above. If I do happen to want to reread the book? Well, I usually can't find it, which means either buying a second copy, knowing as soon as I return home with the new copy the first one will be laying on my pillow mocking me, or go to the library to take out the book that I could have saved $20 on if I would have went to the library in the first place.

Magazines
I will start off by mentioning that every library I have ever been to has had the latest issues of most magazines, and that magazines have a similar life path as the books mentioned above. But I don';t want to just repeatedly write the same thing over and over, so I will get this off my chest Movies and Music are also available for borrowing at many libraries. 

Magazines are starting to feel the pinch, many people are steering away from magazines apparently because purchasing 50 pages of junk mail is no longer practical for the ever condensing consumer. But yet still magazines are purchased by the millions each month by someone.
...and the mystery to why men by magazines is answered!
The internet is filled with magazine type writing, hell this article falls in that category. Many of the magazines themselves have articles online, and sometimes even the entire issue available FOR FREE! Websites like Cracked.com are literally magazines online, updated daily and you are able to interact with other readers and sometimes the authors via the comments section. And if science forbid you can't read on a computer screen it's and easy ctrl+P to have your own handheld copy of the article in quetion.


Music/Movies
I don't think anyone who finds themselves on this site is a stranger to streaming and/or downloading movies and music. In fact, I would feel fairly confident in saying that no one between the ages of 12-25 has not watched/listened to copyrighted material illegally, I am doing it as we speak.
Well if that were the case then, You wouldn't make ads trying to convince me of my own morality.
This really takes on a whole new level of annoyance when people use a program like iTunes to download mp3 files for a fee. It takes less effort to download a song illegally (you don't have to enter payment info). And I may sound like a conspiracy nut by I have to say the iTunes of the worlds would have a lot of incentive to spread rumors of how every song you download illegally will be contaminated with a virus (tip: they aren't).

Movies aren't unlike books in that most people watch a movie once and then put in on their shelves only to be more or less ignored until sold to Buy Backs for beer money (2 movies for 1 beer!)

Cable
Why do people pay for hundreds of channels only to always come to the same conclusion, "Nothing is on!" The funniest part is that most of the top watched shows are on the channels everyone gets for free! CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC. These channels also cover you for most athletic events. I currently have cable television due it being forced on my by my rental contract. However, other than for the NHL playoffs my television never gets turned on. I watch anything I am truly interested in on the internet, and my $10/month for Netflix is cheaper then $60/month for cable and there are no ads and I get to watch what I want when I can/want to.
"So wait, you're telling me I can sit here and watch 3 minutes of ads for every 7 minutes of programming and I have to wait for the program I want to come on, or I can choose to watch the show when I have time, without ads and can pause/rewind whenever I need to? Oh, defiantly the one with the ads, yeah I like watching ads for toothpaste!"
Unfortunately for all those who produce books, magazines,music, movies and television I believe the days are number for success in the traditional fashions. Books are moving to E-readers, which will create an easy way to replicate and reproduce copies for free like with music and movies. Magazines will be forced to move to online formats, to the delight of trees and flies worldwide, and television will become an online medium, which I have a great proposal for....

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