We didn’t need a new television. I’m not sure exactly when we wanted a new television. Or if there was a distinction made between the want and the need, but this past weekend we bought a new flat screen television.
In our house, the fine line between household income and budget is a chasm as wide as it is deep. For years, there has been no discretionary income and no such thing as surplus money. But our daughter recently graduated from college.
Suddenly bills look less complex. And I was only mildly surprised when we transitioned from the childish “wanting what we don’t need” to the decisive ideology, “It’s for sale, so I’m buying it.”
My husband and I are both past 50. We’re both fully aware of our responsibilities and require no reminders. We don’t make purchases on a whim and aren’t easily persuaded to try a new product by watching a television commercial. Marketing analysts already know this about us; in fact they haven’t targeted us in years.
In fact, other than the AARP magazines and television commercials that are aimed at our demographic group; we’ve pretty much been left to age by ourselves. Although I’m sure all of that’s about to change, as we Baby-boomers are living longer and paying off our debt. We seem to be heading into uncharted consumer purchasing power.
Which is why the whole trip to BestBuy and the purchase of a large screen flat screen television was so extraordinary; I kept peeking around for a cameraman. For surely this was being recorded for some reality TV program.
Here was my husband gleeful, if not happy to pay for HDMI cables (he fumes at the mention of the monthly cable bill). And when the salesman said that the television was best viewed mounted on the wall, like a piece of art; my husband was okay paying for a wall bracket (he has a jar full of nuts and bolts that he’s saved for exactly this kind of project).
My husband sat down in the theater room, surrounded by huge flat screen televisions and surround sound, as the salesman walked away to process our purchase.
“What just happened?” I asked myself, because I’m at an age when I talk to myself. There’s never an answer but I’m always willing to listen.
“It’ll look like a piece of art, once it’s hung up in the family room,” my husband excitedly whispered the salesman’s pitch, which he regurgitated perfectly.
Once we got home, we were faced with the daunting task of what to do with the old big bulky television. You see, there’s nothing wrong with it and that did bother my sensibilities. I’m a mother of two and unused to casting perfectly good things out in the trash. Compounded by the fact that we could neither give away (no one wanted an old bulky television, even if it was working) nor throw it away with the weekly trash collection (it was an environmental hazardous waste).
In the end, it cost us a small fortune to get rid of the old still-working television. My family is delighted with the new television. However, when it’s turned off it doesn’t look like a piece of artwork. It looks like what it is, that is a big black rectangle that’s been mounted to the wall.
I might better appreciate it, once I get ahold of the remote control. If I sit in a lotus position for hours, holding onto it and watching television on, I’ll experience its wondrous power. There’s a commercial on, Samsung’s cellphone, the Galaxy 5, they’re toting it as the “Next best thing is here”.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with my current cellphone. But I’m watching that new television and thinking, why not… We baby-boomers are the next new old thing and we’re living longer. Now, that’s power baby.