Lion of the Blogosphere

Are iPhones keeping the poor people poor?

I bought an iPhone 6 today. The cost of the phone, plus service, will cost more than $2,000 (probably more like $2,200) approximately $2,500 over the next two years. That’s a lot of money. Yet every poor person seems to have one of these things.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 28, 2015 at 9:53 PM

Posted in Technology

107 Responses

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  1. If it wasn’t iPhones, it would be something else. Some people just spend all the money they have as fast as they can.

    Michael

    May 28, 2015 at 10:00 PM

    • 30 years ago poor people would have been blowing their money on expensive boom boxes and for the time expensive color TVs instead. Now that these things are either cheap both nominally and in real terms, poor people waste their money elsewhere.

      Chucks

      May 30, 2015 at 5:18 PM

  2. 1K a year for a phone? That’s a lot. I just gave up my regular cell phone because the cheapest plan I could find costs me $27 a month. I can afford it easily, but I’m very frugal and feel that I don’t use it enough to justify the cost. I have a regular desktop PC at home and feel that this plus a landline phone is enough. I’m even thinking of giving up my silver Optimum TV package and going to a minimum channels subscription. Just don’t start charging for access to the LOTB website, or there goes all the money I’ll be saving!

    Maryk

    May 28, 2015 at 10:27 PM

    • It’s prole to watch TV, free or paid service.

      My new definition of prole will shock most of LoftB readers. Anyone who doesn’t have an advanced degree is a prole going forward, so it’s time to sign up for graduate school, and anyone who has to pay for it is a PROLE too.

      JS

      May 28, 2015 at 11:27 PM

      • Only full ride scholarship winners, affirmative action candidates, football players and military guys getting graduate degrees at for profit diploma mills are not prole?

        Curle

        May 29, 2015 at 9:53 AM

      • Ha..!

        Getting a degree from an American Institution is now prole. So it’s better to have a degree with a piece of paper that reads something like this: École Centrale Paris, University of Jyväskylä, etc…

        JS

        May 29, 2015 at 10:21 AM

      • Kind of true. The upper middle-class (SWPL/MD/JD/MBA/PhD) is the new middle class who have/can afford nuclear familes. The old middle class are now mostly floundering proles.

        fakeemail

        May 29, 2015 at 12:35 PM

      • I wouldn’t say “SWPL”. If anything many SWPLs do not have advanced credentials, and we’ll render them as on or below the prole baseline. Guidos, and anyone with only a HS degree, are the new lumprenproles.

        JS

        May 29, 2015 at 1:49 PM

      • * HS diploma

        JS

        May 29, 2015 at 1:50 PM

      • @ fakeemail –

        Many members of the professional upper middle class don’t think it’s worth having families despite the fact that they can technically afford it because they would have to reduce their lifestyles to the equivalent of lower middle class or worse.

        nebbish

        May 29, 2015 at 4:50 PM

      • a prole JS, is anyone who values the value-less, or anyone who regards value as subjective, from facial hair and tattoos to fine art and porsches.

        there is no greater shame than finding out you have bad taste.

        hint…today almost all americans are proles. in the last 50 years there was a lot of social mobility in the US, but the new rich are proles so naturally they pulled up the ladder behind them. call it The Rise of the Pushy-Striving-Obedient-American (in place of Meritocracy).

        billions of $$$s and Donald Trump is still a prole.

        selecao

        May 29, 2015 at 5:49 PM

      • Most importantly, Americans are proles, because of their utmost obedience and subservience to the fascist pigs, better known as big spending via big gov’t and big business. The entire meritocratic system is a sham, but in reality, it’s a grooming cycle and a pickling of minions (either by favor or by chance), who will do their bidding. Some get rewarded handsomely for their favors, while others, not so much. Ivy League is America’s 3rd World Nepotism, it all depends on the luck of the draw, as they say!

        JS

        May 29, 2015 at 9:06 PM

      • and, JS, formal educatiuon is a scam. pure and simple.

        but when the scammers/proles run the country, they naturally require formal education credentials and a high gpa…totally oblivious that almost the entire rest of the world goes by cumulative exams ALONE and has no such thing as a gpa.

        text books, uniform objective exams, “wet” labs…

        everything else is 100% PURE THEFT.

        a gentleman wants of little of that as possible.

        selecao

        May 29, 2015 at 10:07 PM

      • What if one has a graduate degree but watches TV?

        Truth

        May 30, 2015 at 8:04 PM

    • MaryK get with the times. No need for a landline, and cable TV can be replaced by piracy and/or Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime streaming.

      Lot

      May 29, 2015 at 1:23 AM

      • I agree with both of these, except that the landline has better sound quality for long meetings. However, you could get VOIP phone with your broadband.

      • Landlines aren’t any cheaper than cell service, or at least that’s what offered by the various Internet companies who try to sell me on them, futilely ($15-30/mo). I am amazed by how terrible mobile sound quality is after all these years, but we’ve just gotten used to it.

        ivvenalis

        May 29, 2015 at 10:55 AM

      • Yea, I’m surprised cell phone call quality hasn’t gotten any better in recent years. I guess with so many people texting instead, who needs it? Answering the phone is for when mom calls, or the pizza guy is at your apartment complex and can’t figure out how to get in.

        Dain

        May 29, 2015 at 12:24 PM

    • i get a t-mobile phone for $100 per year/1000 minutes and then use it over wifi most of the time. works fine.

      bjdubbs

      May 29, 2015 at 3:18 AM

      • Older person speaking here: please explain the ‘over wifi’ part? Is this capacity built into the T-Mobile phone?

        Curle

        May 29, 2015 at 9:55 AM

      • Curle: wifi is a way of using the “regular” Internet wirelessly, instead of the phone company’s much more expensive/limited cellular data network (which is actually separate, sort of, from the “phone”/voice network). Without going into too much technical detail, the cell data radios are effective over a far longer range than wifi transponders, but bandwidth is extremely limited and costly. Data costs easily account for over half of most people’s “phone” bills.

        Every smartphone is capable of using wifi. Various programs allow you to make phone calls using that instead of the cellular network. And there is no charge for using wifi data.

        ivvenalis

        May 29, 2015 at 11:00 AM

      • I recall a Family Guy episode making fun of a T-Mobile “Boost” phone. So concerns about status are definitely at work even there.

        But yea I have T-Mobile too.

        Dain

        May 29, 2015 at 5:02 PM

    • maryk, get a tracfone. You really do need a cell phone for safety reasons. You can buy a cheap phone on their website and as few minutes as you want.

      slithy toves

      May 29, 2015 at 8:13 AM

      • tracfone is lumprenprole.

        JS

        May 29, 2015 at 10:41 AM

  3. $3.00 per day?

    Rifleman

    May 28, 2015 at 10:39 PM

    • That’s right. And everyone has one. It’s value transference at work.

      • But is $3.00 a day a big deal?

        Isn’t that less than 1 meal at McDonalds? Even proles can afford $3.00 a day. Plus it’s a camera and part of their social life.

        Rifleman

        May 29, 2015 at 2:04 AM

  4. iPhones are definitely problematic. It is difficult to blame the lower classes for purchasing them, since they are becoming an informal–and at times formal–requirement.

    At my school the vast majority of the people have smartphones, and those without them are ostracized. Professors take it as a given that people have access to the internet where ever they are. Middle Class and Affluent students take it as a given that their peers can be “texted” and summon “Ubers” at a moment’s notice, or they don’t bother meeting up with them.

    The early adopters probably purchase the iPhones because of their high level of utility. The late adopters only purchase them because society has taken away their ability to maintain their prior standard of living without them. (I.e. by getting rid of payphones, eliminating non-electronic social gathering mechanisms, etc.)

    This is why we need significant taxes on disruptive forms of technology. Those who benefit from new technology should be required to provide recompense to those who are directly and indirectly harmed by it.

    Anonymous Bro

    May 28, 2015 at 11:28 PM

    • The key to status is feeling comfortable staying out of touch with everyone else.

      Curle

      May 29, 2015 at 9:57 AM

      • In general I would agree with you about status correlating with how comfortable one feels. Those who come from families that have been economically successful for a long time (even if they themselves are poor) feel less likely to be identified as poor/weak, so they are unafraid to do whatever they want–even if it differs from those around them.

        However, it is different when it comes to socializing. Only the TOOS and New Money will have people putting in extra effort to interact with them even if they are hard to contact.

        The middle and the lower classes do not have that luxury. They rely upon the strength of their communities, and their level of connection to them in order to prosper.

        Consider the example of an Upper Middle Class person who becomes a hipster/X. Ordinarily they would still be able to reintegrate back into the Upper Middle Class when they were done with their hipster phase by using their social ties to make up for their lack of income. If the hipster’s social capital depreciates due to not being in contact with their UMC peers for a long period of time, then they are stuck in the world of hipsters. Eventually, I believe they succumb to prole drift.

        Anonymous Bro

        May 29, 2015 at 10:57 AM

      • Prole drift in America happens, because Hipster types are usually over-credentialed with very little substance in their education to show forth. Guys with fluff degrees, yet demonstrating very feeble intellectual leanings.

        JS

        May 29, 2015 at 11:25 AM

      • Typical Hipster guy in America, those whom I come across in NYC, has a liberal arts degree, works in some low stress work environment, usually branded as “cool”, with low pay and benefits. Intellectually masturbates about topics like Philosophy, Psychology and Literature whenever there is an opportunity, yet seemingly unmotivated to take their interests to a new level. They are more concerned about their social circles than knowledge development, especially with the trappings of SWPL life involving frivolous consumption (artisan foodstuff and get together with friends to enjoy them).

        JS

        May 29, 2015 at 1:41 PM

    • An iPhone isn’t required, but I’d certainly be fired, or at least iced out of advancement, if I didn’t own a cell phone capable of text messaging. I don’t know anyone working at a non-menial job that feels any differently. At this point, a mobile phone is certainly more important than a car.

      Regarding smartphones, the non-Internet ways of getting information appear to be increasingly falling into disrepair. You can still buy road atlases and whatnot, but as more and more people just look up everything they need to know on their smartphone’s internet connection, there will be fewer and fewer resources available to get information in other ways.

      ivvenalis

      May 29, 2015 at 11:05 AM

    • Sharp insights here and below AB.

      trey

      May 29, 2015 at 2:36 PM

    • That’s a reach. An iPhone is not a formal requirement. Or even informal, except maybe if you’re at an SF startup. And it must be a cool, high-profile startup of the type profiled by TechCrunch.

      Having Facebook OTOH is definitely becoming a requirement. Not being on FB is evidence is that you’re a weirdo or over 60 years old.

      Dain

      May 29, 2015 at 5:04 PM

  5. The cost of the phone, plus service,

    Exclude phone service – which everyone other than the homeless needs – and the most expensive model is less than $500 a year.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    May 28, 2015 at 11:44 PM

  6. i forget who it was, a guy on charlie rose iirc. he said that spending on “communications” differs little between rich and poor.

    so poor people also spend on cable and internet and long distance and netflix and a flat screen tv and satellite radio and God knows what else. but maybe some of those come with the rent. idk.

    i wouldn’t be surprised if they spend as much or more relative to their income on restaurants.

    there’s no cure for stupid or for bad taste.

    anything other than one land line without long distance is tres declasse.

    Robert Gabriel Mugabe

    May 29, 2015 at 1:00 AM

  7. i’ve felt obligated to purchase a smart phone for a while, not because i actually need one but because everybody looks at me like i’m a total weirdo when i tell them i don’t have one. the pressure to conform and look normal as opposed to a socially maladjusted, unconnected oddball is strong and i feel as though my own experiences are living proof. i have little to no use for one; i have very few friends offline (not by choice – i don’t like it this way) so i don’t really need to pay for another communication medium to be ignored on and am, like maryk, very frugal.

    i feel like the world was better before these devices.

    james n.s.w

    May 29, 2015 at 1:01 AM

    • Good comment. I can still remember what it was like before 1982 (I believe that was the year massive pro-computer propaganda got into gear, with Time making the desktop computer its “Man of the Year”). Computers, or at least the ones sold to “consumers,” are bad, shoddy products and always have been. At best, they work in a barely tolerable fashion. I assume smartphones, being computers marketed towards mass consumers, aren’t any different. I am using a piece of junk to type this comment and transmit it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it never showed up as a comment.

      Bill

      May 29, 2015 at 9:44 AM

      • Apple products are pretty good.

      • Yes, even the Macintosh Computer or the Apple IIe were good products, relatively speaking. Before there was the internet and user friendly Bill Gates’ interface, Steve Jobs was the pioneer when it came to life like graphics. I remember a classmate in elementary school owned a Apple IIe and we were able to look at nudie pics of women on his desktop sceen, with images stored on one of those large flimsy, floppy disks, and this was in the late 80s. Picture quality was in no shape or form realistic like that of a Playboy spread, but it was arousing nevertheless, because it was a notch above any cartoon graphics of its day.

        JS

        May 29, 2015 at 5:26 PM

    • Find the name of a local brokerage that only takes accounts for people with more than $1 million. When you find yourself in that situation next time, just mention that you need to return your broker’s call and mention the firm’s name. If they are more than middle class themselves they will grasp the significance.

      Curle

      May 29, 2015 at 10:00 AM

  8. That’s not a lot of money when discounted over two years of time. So no, Iphones are not keeping them poor.

    dastardlyrake

    May 29, 2015 at 1:03 AM

  9. Not status signaling is costly in and of itself, no matter what your economic station

    dastardlyrake

    May 29, 2015 at 1:04 AM

    • Tell it to this guy.

      “When he spotted a bargain price on frozen orange juice one year, Jack MacDonald bought so many cans that he had to purchase a new stand-alone freezer just to hold them all.

      He clipped coupons, wore sweaters with holes in them to make people think he was poor and took a bus — not a cab — to the University of Washington when he attended an alumni luncheon in his later years.

      Only a tight circle of family and friends knew that MacDonald was nurturing a secret fortune. When he died in September at the age of 98, he left in his will a $187.6 million”

      Curle

      May 29, 2015 at 10:04 AM

  10. it’s invasion of the body snatchers, except it’s clear who’s been snatched.

    the phone people have been “snatched”.

    there should be a movie Night of Living Phone People.

    selecao

    May 29, 2015 at 1:11 AM

    • and snatch-ed in more ways than one.

      new word:

      vaginalization.

      it’s like proletarianization.

      it refers to the spread and now dominance of the worst kind of female traits.

      selecao

      May 29, 2015 at 1:15 AM

      • I would assume this is to be true that women will see a man with lower status, if he doesn’t own a iPhone. Blame it on the wussification of the American men who also elevate these ladies on a pedestal, but you know that Jorge, Meriproles are chumps regardless.

        JS

        May 29, 2015 at 11:13 AM

      • @JS Maybe my perception is warped, but iPhones don’t seem like status symbols to me simply because just about everyone I know and see has one.

        @Lot – Cover on my iPhone 5 broke, was going to upgrade soon anyway, so didn’t replace. One drop from hand level on to a marble floor put a nice dent into the metal edge of the phone. Depends what it’s dropped on and how it lands, I guess.

        Truth

        May 30, 2015 at 8:19 PM

      • True, I heard them say so.

        Yakov

        May 29, 2015 at 6:17 PM

  11. $2200 is the cheapest iPhone 6 with the cheapest ATT or Verizon plan. $2600 is more likely for poor people who will be hit with semiregular late and overage fees.

    On the other hand, in 2 years when you upgrade your iPhone 6 will still be worth about $250.

    Lot

    May 29, 2015 at 1:27 AM

    • Oops, I calculated wrong. I think it’s $2500 over 2 years. Ouch. That’s a lot of money for something I didn’t even need to have ten years ago.

  12. Does anyone have or know someone with an obamaphone plan aka lifeline? the poor people cell phone store here in San Diego is Crickett Wireless and they were unable to provide one for a disabled person on Medicaid I was trying to help out after she lost her old expensive cell phone. It looks like there are extensive forms to fill out just to get a $10 a month subsidy.

    Lot

    May 29, 2015 at 1:35 AM

    • An acquaintance got one thru this site. Totally free with very limited minutes and junky phone. Worthless for anyone w/o great future time orientation.

      https://www.safelinkwireless.com/Enrollment/Safelink/en/NewPublic/index.html

      They were practically bombarding sketchy neighborhoods with ads for this in the runup to the 2012 election. You just wrote down your income on a one-sheet application form and signed it. Nothing like all the hoops required for subsidized housing. Couldn’t be simpler.

      Fiddlesticks

      May 29, 2015 at 8:56 AM

  13. This is why I’m skeptical of statistics showing that wages are the same as they were in 1973. People seem to have more and better stuff today.

    BehindTheLines

    May 29, 2015 at 1:37 AM

    • Communications and entertainment have gotten incredibly cheap. Food is around the same but probably cheaper too. Clothing definitely cheaper. Housing and education, however…

      Dain

      May 29, 2015 at 5:08 PM

  14. California’s state and local governments are big on making it very easy for our local poor people to get federal benefits.

    Here’s a website that looks very user friendly for Cal residents to get their Obamaphone landlines.

    https://www.californialifeline.com/en

    I really like the pert chest of the racially ambiguous woman holding the phone. She has that perfect shade of beige, ideal for a stock photo model for a welfare program, that could be Hispanic, Filipino, mulatto, an extremely tan white, or a mix of any and all of the above.

    Lot

    May 29, 2015 at 1:43 AM

    • True Class X individuals have no need for Iphones or any other fancy technology. A bank account with a healthy amount of funds and perhaps a few tomes of good books are sufficient.

      JS

      May 29, 2015 at 10:08 AM

      • I’m class X. I use WhatsApp over wifi + text/voice when I’m out meeting someone. Still haven’t used up the $4 my friend put on my phone several months ago. That’s an improvement over when I used to spend ~ $10 a month on tracfone/Net10

        shiva1008

        May 29, 2015 at 10:41 AM

      • Raising the question, is a Class X individual simply someone who is better at hiding their envy of the upper class, realizing the futility of such envy, or are they truly a different class? Would an upper class person ever consider themselves class X if they had the means to be unquestionably in the upper class but not the desire to reach such heights on their own? In other words, is a bohemian upper class person who hasn’t succumbed to consumerist culture, is frugal, but inherited and kept a multi-million dollar home Class X or Upper class?

        Curle

        May 29, 2015 at 5:59 PM

  15. I have metro PCS at $60 a month everything unlimited. That’s $1440 plus $50 for the phone. $2,200 for iPhone isn’t that expensive if the the service is unlimited. What service and what plan?

    Yakov

    May 29, 2015 at 1:51 AM

  16. I noticed the design is such that you are pretty much forced to buy a protective case – the store guy immediately tried to upsell me noting that one of his other customers had bought the i-6, and then dropped it and broke it almost right away. He claimed this one was more fragile than the i-5 and that the design is inherently poor in that every time you put the phone down, the camera lens protrudes and hits the surface.

    Also, in my state, you have to pay sales tax on the price of the phone before the carrier subsidization with a contract, and therefore the initial purchase price includes sales tax on $800 instead of the $200-300 discounted price with service.

    Truth

    May 29, 2015 at 2:15 AM

    • It’s more slippery than the 5. I may need to go buy a case. I never needed a case with the 5, it’s a lot easier to grip securely.

  17. i dunno, I think you’re being unfair to the advantages they offer. They’ve replaced
    i) a GPS ($100)
    ii) a camera ($100)
    iii) a home computer (~$800)
    iv) a photoalbum
    v) cookbooks

    Many of the above are one-time purchases and not annual, but on a medium scale timeline, an iPhone is probably a wash

    oo-e-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    May 29, 2015 at 2:20 AM

    • An iPhone is no replacement for a home compuiter, since I can’t hook it up to an external monitor and keyboard and mouse. However, I think the technology is available to make such a device if someone wanted to.

    • I bought a home computer six years ago for $550 (including the monitor) that I’ve put maybe $200 into in repairs and upgrades and is just fine.

      Lloyd Llewellyn

      May 29, 2015 at 7:34 AM

      • obviously $800 was just an estimate of a mid-range computer. We don’t all need to chip in with our fascinating stories about how we bought computers for less than $800

        shiva1008

        May 29, 2015 at 10:52 AM

      • The point was more that I’m not buying a new one every two years which is what the comparison implied

        Lloyd Llewellyn

        May 29, 2015 at 3:15 PM

  18. I’m poor. I don’t have one. I have no idea how so many people afford them.

    It would be better for Americans to have access to a Pay As You Go system for their phones, which doesn’t seem to be the case now. In that system, which you see in – eek! – Europe, you just purchase credit for calls, texts, etc. as you need it.

    Jesse

    May 29, 2015 at 5:37 AM

    • Tracfones work on that system and are available in the US. That’s what my husband and kids have. My parents put me on their plan so I have a nicer phone, but a FL number in NYC. It’s kind of embarrassing to have to explain that at age 41 I’m on my parents’ plan, but, it would hurt their feelings if I turned it down.

      I’m puzzled by the iphones among the poor too. I saw a teen mom with one at the dentist the other day. I guess if you have your housing, food, and medical covered by the state, discretionary income might be available.

      slithy toves

      May 29, 2015 at 8:08 AM

      • Loads of people have out-of-area phone numbers on their phones because they moved and didn’t change the phone number. This has become very common. There’s no longer any sort of long distance penalty. (I remember back in the eighties when a long distance call meant paying 25 cents a minute, which is like 50 cents a minute in today’s inflated cents.)

        My new phone plan allows international calling for only 20 cents a minute, so it’s now less money to make a mobile call from Europe to the U.S. than it used to cost to make a land-phone call from New York City to New Jersey.

    • There are plenty of pay as you go plans. I have a Virgin Mobile phone and plan. In fact, I finally upgraded last year to an android smart phone after my daughter got an Iphone for her birthday. She tossed the old phone to the floor and never looked back, so I scooped that up. But frankly, I don’t even need that. I could have gone a couple more years using an old clam shell flip phone.

      Mike Street Station

      May 29, 2015 at 9:45 AM

  19. Republic Wireless. $10 a month, plus $300 up front for a Moto X, which is a decent phone. This is probably a very prole thing of me to say, but I don’t see the point in spending all that money on a cell phone plan.

    O'Nonymous

    May 29, 2015 at 6:28 AM

  20. For poor people it’s actually even worse than that, because they buy the phone on credit, and end up paying interest on it. Or they didn’t read their contract and took the “free” upgrade, which now has been reconfigured to raise their monthly bill. Or all of the above.

    The subject of why poor people buy expensive stuff is worth a lot more attention in my opinion. Why can’t they understand (and more importantly, accept) that they are poor? And then with that knowledge, do the rational thing and buy cheaper stuff?

    I’m poor, I try very hard not to spend a lot of money, because I don’t have much of it. This seems so obvious. But it isn’t.

    "prole" and proud

    May 29, 2015 at 6:32 AM

    • Poor people status signal on credit!

      JS

      May 29, 2015 at 9:50 AM

    • And it seems that 99 % of education is devoted to the production side of a person’s budget equation. They, at least in theory, try to teach you how to maximize your earnings by turning your natural abilities into marketable skills.

      But what seems totally ignored is the consumer side. There is mega-savings to be had by better learning how to smartly spend the money you earn. I think it probably deserves as much education time as the amount of time spent learning how to make more money. Many people enter adult life with no real clue how to better stretch the money they make.

      trey

      May 29, 2015 at 3:03 PM

  21. If someone can afford an iphone he is by definition NOT poor.

    You should have gotten a Blackberry instead, the phone for productive adults…
    Longest battery life, most security features, android compatible, but hipsters scoff at that.

    guest

    May 29, 2015 at 6:51 AM

    • I HAD a free Blackberry from work, actually I’m very glad to be replacing that with an iPhone.

      • I’m typing this comment on my BlackBerry. Interestingly, a few months ago I bought a new iPhone and ended up trading phones with my wife because I liked her BlackBerry better, and she preferred the iPhone.

        Samson J.

        May 29, 2015 at 10:33 AM

      • The iPhone6 is great. Not sure I need a smartphone, but I like it better than any other smartphone I’ve used, which includes iPhone 5, Galaxy S3, Motorolla Droid, Blackberry Bold.

      • You don’t need a Smartphone, especially if you are going into the early retirement route.

        JS

        May 29, 2015 at 1:45 PM

  22. I’m surprised the poor can also afford iPhone plans after spending thousands on weaves and straightening treatments at hair salons. You’ve all watched Chris Rock’s GOOD HAIR, right?

    Mark Caplan

    May 29, 2015 at 8:41 AM

  23. iPhone isn’t just a phone. It makes texting easier, lets you email, look up things on the web, check the weather, has a GPS and supports map functions. It keeps your contact list and your calendar. If you use any apps on your main computer, they probably sync to your phone. I find that it has tremendous value, notwithstanding that it also provides status signalling.

    RP

    May 29, 2015 at 8:53 AM

  24. The real tell is, what do they sell in developing countries where cheap credit and entitlement mentalities are less common?

    Fine stores in Mexico (which has become a lot richer after 20 years of NAFTA) still sell the iPhone 4.

    In Mexico or Argentina, which are a step above third world, the masses almost exclusively use non-flagship class Androids. Stuff that the big 4 US carriers won’t even display in their stores. This means 4 or 8GB of storage, non-HD display, 3G rather than LTE data, camera with poor low-light performance. Not huge sacrifices.

    Now in a true 3rd World country (Ecuador) I still saw people using the Nokia Asha which is basically just a feature phone with fb, tw and wp.

    Even young singlettes really do not care about showing off an iPhone that they can’t afford. Amazing, I know.

    Fiddlesticks

    May 29, 2015 at 9:12 AM

  25. @MaryK: I have a regular desktop PC at home and feel that this plus a landline phone is enough. I’m even thinking of giving up my silver Optimum TV package and going to a minimum channels subscription.

    A couple of months back I cut the cord on cable TV and installed an antenna on the roof. I get the national broadcast channels and a few other mediocre ones, but I can easily practice my foreign language with all the Spanish channels or get right with God from all the religious channels. I kept the basic Brighthouse “Lite” internet service, and lowered my bill $100 per month to $24. But I hardly watch TV, so I guess that makes me non-prole. I did, however, type this post on my $170 Acer 720 Chromebook.

    @James n.s.w.: everybody looks at me like i’m a total weirdo when i tell them i don’t have one.

    I’ve got a $29 flip dumb-phone from MetroPCS, unlimited talk & text for $25/mo; it’s all I need. I like to bring it to work meetings, and for laughs, set it on the conference table along side all the women’s high-end bejeweled smartphones (that is when their noses aren’t buried in them throughout the meeting).

    @Lot: Does anyone have or know someone with an obamaphone plan aka lifeline?

    I’m loosely familiar w/ more than a couple of obamaphone recipients – they use the free obamaphone & service as back-up to their expensive smartphone service for when they’re late paying the bill and the smartphone service gets shut off.

    E. Rekshun

    May 29, 2015 at 9:32 AM

    • “I’ve got a $29 flip dumb-phone from MetroPCS, unlimited talk & text for $25/mo; ”

      That’s a pretty good deal, and it can replace a land phone as well saving you even more money.

      • Right, I haven’t had a land-line phone for over 15 years!

        E. Rekshun

        May 29, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    • “I’ve got a $29 flip dumb-phone from MetroPCS, unlimited talk & text for $25/mo; it’s all I need. I like to bring it to work meetings, and for laughs, set it on the conference table along side all the women’s high-end bejeweled smartphones (that is when their noses aren’t buried in them throughout the meeting).” ———————–

      Ha, I’ve got nearly the same deal, $30 per mo. and a clam shell Verizon LG. Somehow none of this has negatively affected, in any way I can discern, my ability to attract women or keep friends, but perhaps it is a generational thing.

      Curle

      May 29, 2015 at 6:45 PM

  26. The poor can always steal them. Owning a smartphone seriously degrades your situational awareness. I cannot count the number of times I have found myself stuck behind some pudgy millennial, eyes glued to his device, waddling along obliviously. Smartphone owners would be the perfect prey for purse snatchers, should the latter choose to repurpose their skills.

    Hank Rearden

    May 29, 2015 at 10:43 AM

    • Actually, it’s the smartphone that gets snatched.

      • Well, that’s what I meant about repurposing their skills. Purse snatchers are thieves of the grab-and-run variety, which would work just as well for smartphones as for purses.

        Hank Rearden

        May 29, 2015 at 11:54 AM

  27. Poor people are on welfare and welfare communities have altered status signaling feedback loops.

    Items that don’t signal status to the middle class or rich (like $200 sneakers) do signal status for the poor.

    Anyways, welfare recipients have more than enough money to do status signaling, even of they value certain things more highly than others and even if they aren’t rich enough for rich-man’s luxuries.

    Rotten

    May 29, 2015 at 11:13 AM

  28. The best “deal” in cell phones is the $35 Virgin Mobile plan or the T-Mobile special $30 Wallmart plan. With those you are paying less than $500 total if you get a basic $100 smartphone or closer to $800 or $900 if you opt to purchase a top of the line phone from Samsung or Apple. But the thing about those plans is that while they are more than enough for the average white person, they don’t offer nearly enough minutes for the average black person, who talks on the phone for hours every day. A lot of white people just don’t realize how much time blacks spend on the phone. I remember a Judge Judy episode where she was just incredulous at the phone bills and minutes this group of young blacks had rung up in a week. Most whites only want unlimited data, but for the poor, they really, really, value unlimited talk. And unlimited talk is never included in the truly bargain deals. .

    Perez HBD

    May 29, 2015 at 4:53 PM

    • The $30 T-Mobile deal is available thru their website if you have an unlocked phone, and are not a current T-mobile customer (it’s hiding in plain sight, but it’s there). You get 100 minutes of voice (to Perez’ point of voice minutes in bargain plans) 5gb of LTE data, hotspot, unlimited texting and a couple of other goodies. In my experience living in a large western urban area the service is outstanding, but when out in the sticks the service is spotty.

      My iphone 6+ cost $925 so total for two years (without a contract, mind you) would be $925+(24months *$30)=$1645. Compared to $2500 this is 33% savings

      The t-mobile plan is ideal for me since I never use a lot voice minutes, and wi-fi is everywhere so the 5gb goes a very long way. The iPhone supports iPhone to iPhone facetime audio which doesn’t use any of the voice minutes (android has a similar feature, i just can’t recall its name) further adding value to the plan.

      Since the plan is not a contract plan, but a pre-paid plan you’re not locked in if you move and the service doesn’t meet your needs.

      I highly recommend this plan.

      XCommenter

      May 29, 2015 at 10:03 PM

  29. I’m poor and I don’t have a smart phone!

    chairman

    May 29, 2015 at 5:03 PM

    • and you’re one of lion’s few commenters whose comments haven’t been manufactured.

      lion posts.

      then…

      chee-burger chee-burger chee-burger. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwIhCD7T6fg

      ‘mer’ca “needs” more immigrants…they’re the only people retarded enough to buy the ‘mer’can bullshit.

      selecao

      May 29, 2015 at 8:53 PM

  30. 6 plus! come on lion.

    rivelino

    May 29, 2015 at 6:49 PM

  31. I upgraded to a Huawei mate 2 after I dropped my iPhone 5 and cracked the screen. Phone cases are prole, sorry to inform you all.

    The mate 2 was 275 bucks (unlocked so I can use it in Europe, hint hint ), and the battery literally lasts forever ( like twice as long as next best). The screen is big enough, unlike the iPhone that I can watch video comfortably. I’m happy that I made the switch.

    Jjbees

    May 29, 2015 at 7:18 PM

  32. Prepaid, “Burner” phones are the way to go. Make it look like you’re a mysterious, bad-ass, Breaking Bad character brought to life when you’re really just cheap.

    Raoul Duke

    May 29, 2015 at 7:27 PM

  33. I have dropped 3 generations of iPhones without cases a million times and never cracked the screen or dented them. They are so light now there isn’t much impact when they land.

    My 6 is the first one that never got slightly visible scratches from rubbing my car keys.

    Lot

    May 30, 2015 at 1:24 AM

  34. Here in Japan, just in the past 6-12 months the big entrenched mobile phone cartels have been broken as virtual network operators are grabbing customers with rented bandwidth and super-cheap monthly service.

    People who were paying $70 per month plus 20¢ a minute for basic phone and internet, and who were locked into automatically-renewing 2-year contracts with hefty cancellation fees can now get 1 or 2 GB of data per month for under $15, with calls billed separately. Fantastic for people who check e-mail and Facebook but never talk. No subsidized handsets, though, so you have to stump up $400 (Android) to $700 (entry-level iPhone) before your service even begins. Once you pay that, though, you can enjoy cheap service for months and months. I signed up last year and love it.

    Kyo

    May 30, 2015 at 9:13 AM

  35. Lion of the Fasci-Sphere is going to stop those evil corporations from making products so wonderful that poor people can’t resist spending their entire paycheck on them.

    culdesachero

    June 6, 2015 at 3:22 PM


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