Camping out to be the first to buy… what?

When Apple released each iteration of the iPhone, people went wild, took the day off from work, camped out to be among the first to buy it, and generally congratulated themselves on being on the cutting edge of, well, everything. And indeed they were, because these phones (each version) really are something that we wouldn’t have been able to imagine even a decade ago. And they’re fun.

I’m a big Apple fan, and I love their products.

But I was struck dumb when I went to the AT&T store recently to replace my stolen iPhone. I was offered a 3G iPhone for .99.  That’s 99 cents, not dollars, for the decimal-challenged (like me). Yes of course I had to renew my contract, but that’s nothing shocking for all iPhones require contracts.

But I could get a 4G for $200 or so or I could get a 3G for .99.

And it really got me thinking about the transitory nature of all the stuff that gets us so excited. I enjoy some good stuff like the rest of the world. I get attached to certain items. I’m partial towards my car and even named her (Zippy). I have favorite shoes, a really groovy charm necklace that tells my life story, and things that make me happy to look at/wear/behold/touch/own. I really don’t eschew all material possessions.

But it does get you wondering when you think that something (even a technological wonder) that people would camp out to be the first to own is, three or so years later, worth less than some fries at McDonald’s (even as it maintains its technological wonder factor).

What’s the value of any of this stuff? Fleeting at best. Enjoy it, take it for what its worth, but don’t consider selling your soul for it.

There’ll be a new version soon enough.

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