Tech Shopping in the 21st Century: Guidelines for Seniors

It is not so much that time moves faster in our modern age, but with technology, man has become capable of doing so much more for every given second he or she has. This rapid pace, this radiant energy of activity, it affects every aspect of our lives. More than ever, people’s attentions are constantly shifted from one thing to another, with news and trends changing everyday.

The products and services that are available now reflect this. Most people demand immediacy, on-demand service, instant gratification, speedy performance, and they want it now. The expression so last year is now used on products that were released within the same year, albeit a quarter or two back.

This environment can pose challenges to people who were used to a slower, more relaxed (and arguably more ethical) pace of consumerism. Given the vast domain of what things can be purchased with currency, let us focus on electronic consumer-durable goods. Computers, television, radio, telephones, and devices that combine one or more traditional electronic gadgets or appliances. These points will help more traditional-minded individuals gain a grasp of the paradigms that are prevalent in our age.

Not Built to Last

Mostly gone are the days that things are built to last. In fact, it’s quite the opposite now. With technology improving at such a rapid pace, something you may have purchased just a few years is already on its way to becoming garbage. Given that, manufacturers probably thought that since products get replaced so quickly, there’s really no point in ensuring that they’ll last a lifetime, right? Of course, it can’t possibly hurt that you keep buying stuff from them instead of just buying once. They could also save a little money by using cheaper materials, or perhaps less materials altogether.

For whatever reason, products nowadays aren’t made to be passed onto the next generation. They’re also not made to be stored in the closet for long periods of time, only to be dug up later and used again. Citing personal experience, my parents (both senior citizens) have amassed a good pile of camcorders, cellular phones, and other electronic devices that serve nobody by being hoarded and stored. Unless you’re banking on the possibility of these items being sold as antiques later on (which is unlikely), you should be selling off or giving away these items as soon as you realize you won’t be using them anymore.

Advertising is Slicker than Ever

If advertising was compelling back then, be prepared to be duped by the methods now. Advertising is a science, and this discipline has been refined to a razor’s edge in the 21st century. I wish I could warn you of the ways they convince you to buy their product/service, but I’ll have to write up a new article just for that.

Fortunately, we are in the information age. Just as companies are able to spread their wild claims and emotion-tugging campaigns over the internet, people’s feedback and information about products and services are also available. It pays to do research before making a purchase, especially one that require a significant percentage of your finances. Don’t apply for a title loan to buy the hottest new gadget just yet; do your research and ask around! Remember: Google is your friend.

Need Over Want

This point needs very little elaboration. Stick to the primary purpose of your purchase. Extra features are nice (smartphones have a gajillion additional features and functions aside from being able to make calls and text messages), but always remember why you are buying a tech gadget in the first place. With that in mind, you won’t get (too) lost in the advertising fluff and the long lists of features and specifications. This is very apparent in mobile phones, for example. Sometimes, a simple mobile phone that can make voice calls and SMS messages will do.

Ask a Youngin

I know you’re older and more experienced in the ways of the world, but the present days are the domain of the younger people. Chances are, they do know way more about electronic consumer products, and having one at your side when shopping around for a gadget is a godsend.

Incidentally, it is a great way for seniors and young people to converse and exchange ideas and perspectives; technology should be something that brings people together, and not the other way around. With this last bit of advice, I wish you the best of luck, and have fun with your tech shopping experience!

About the Author

Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and is currently conspiring with her close friends in crafting a blog, Word Baristas.

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