Burning with Upgrade Rage

Columns & Opinion

gary%20and%20sonic%20200.JPGGary Cutlack writes…

It happens once every 18 months, regular as clockwork. A terrible feeling of inferiority washes over me. I feel ashamed in public, unable to look strangers in the eye. I’d rather stay home. In bed. Gurgling and sobbing.

It is because my phone is considered “old” even though I’ve only had it for 18 months.

The screen is a bit scratched. It works perfectly, but the screen is a bit scratched. I need a new one or there’s no point even charging it up, let alone taking it out of the house. Someone might see it.

If you feel like this, you are suffering ‘Upgrade Rage’ – the unstoppable, burning desire to get a new phone even though your still-quite-new-really current phone works just like it did the day you carried it home from Carphone Warehouse.

Once Upgrade Rage has been diagnosed, there is no escape. You will spend three quarters of your working day scanning Vodafone’s, Orange’s, O2’s and T-Mobile’s sites, looking for some magical new pricing plan that lets you get a flash new phone for free while also paying less per month.

It’s mathematically impossible, but still you try. You even consider using one of those adverts in the back of tabloid newspapers, hoping that, perhaps, it isn’t one huge rip-off terminating in Mexico and they really will send you that £250 cash rebate in 18 months time.

Everywhere’s offering new deals. Better phones, more minutes per month than you’re awake for, free Bluetooth tat you’ll just bin when you get home and more, all in exchange for you upgrading to a phone you don’t need while paying more money than is strictly necessary for the ability to send a couples of texts a day.

It makes no sense. We need to be stronger. Things should only be replaced when they’re broken, not in retaliation when your mate blags an upgrade to a better one than yours.

Look at your grandparents. Arthur and Josephine are not part of the technology arms war. They have faced 30 years of Sony telling them they need a newer, wider, louder television that’ll make the news come to life better than ever – yet they bravely resist.

Perhaps this is because granddad hasn’t been promised he can walk out of Currys with a 42″ Bravia LCD for free, in return for paying £50 a month for the rest of his life.

Gary Cutlack
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