Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I'm a Consumer

I recently bought a gaming system and it's surprising me how it's started me along a path of examining my life. The thing is that I've been thinking about buying this system (not sure why but I'd rather not name the system, probably just because I don't think it's relevant) but I've always talked myself out of it. Every time I thought about it there were the voices of those around me who questioned my purchase. There was the "Oh, don't buy that system because this other system is sooo much better" and there was the "so you're falling into the must-buy-the-latest-tech crowd" (despite the fact that this system has been out for a while now) and the "you shouldn't spend this money on yourself but give it to someone who needs it". It all made me question my motives to the point where I wouldn't feel right spending the money, especially on myself. So what pushed me over the edge?

I looked at my life over the last few years. I've been working at this job for 6 years and it pays okay but what have I spent money on? A condo (okay, a big purchase but everyone needs somewhere to live), a decent TV (at least when I bought it 5 years ago and I've paid for cable ever since), and a low end computer (with a low end Wacom Tablet). I don't even own a car (the reasons for which include: I don't like to drive, the bus can get me to most places I need to go, and I never felt right spending the money on it if I didn't need it or even really want it). But that's about it. There was also the comic book thing, but as you can see from my blog I only get a couple issues a week and the odd TPB purchase. But other than that I've always talked about maybe one day buying a Tablet PC to draw on or travelling to a convention or buying a game system but holding off.

There were the charities of course. I give to various charities through work and when friends do the "Run for..." or some other event. Could I give more? Perhaps. Do I give enough? How much is enough? Do I have to give away everything I don't need or until there is a cure? Or is just giving enough to clear my conscience enough? Of course, if friends guilt me enough that amount will change. But all that is a few blog posts on their own.

So the thing was, I wasn't spending money for my own enjoyment (other than the comics and cable TV). I kept holding out, it was almost like I didn't think spending money on myself was worth it. Or maybe it was that I was going to become the "evil commercial consumer" that was part of some sort of evil system that relies on money. Either way I felt I had to put my foot down. Everyone always says life is too short, if buying a game system or going to a convention was going to make me happy and I had the budget for it then why not? Why wasn't I worth spending money on? And as for giving my money to the evil corporations or what not (I'm not talking about the overly exploitive ones, I stay away from those, I just have too many people telling me all corporate entities or even individuals in it for money and such are evil), well if they're providing me with some enjoyment and they aren't hurting/exploiting anyone (which I know can be debatable in many cases) than why shouldn't I pay them for it? It's like artists (singers, comic artists, etc) getting blasted for wanting money for their work and people revolting, why shouldn't they be paid for providing people with some level of enjoyment? If they're improving my life in some way, even if it's just giving me 5 minutes of pleasure while reading a comic or listening to a song (an event that could last forever in my brain) why not compensate them. But again, that's another blog post rant.

And as for it not being the right system, well I strongly felt that it was the right system for me. Sure, each system have their pros and cons, I think it all comes down to getting the system that's right for you. And I feel strongly that this is the system for me and I'm not going to be told I'm wrong because it's not the system for those around me.

So in conclusion, I bought the system. I've spent a few hours on it and am looking forward to more. And I'm trying my best not to feel bad about it. If that makes me part of the evil corporate/capitalist/commercial system or makes me a worse person than I guess I'll have to live with it. But fortunately, with life being short and all that, I won't have to live with it for long... Unless I get reincarnated into something horrible, I guess that would suck. Or if that doesn't fit your religion of choice you can feel free to believe someone or something will judge me and I'll have to deal with that when the time comes.

It's rather scary how much the purchase of a $200 game system makes me ponder isn't it? But now you can see why it took me years to make up my mind. :)

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