As someone who rarely buys a new mobile phone I can see man similarities in the way we choose and buy our phones and cars. It’s much more than buying both on credit too.

Our Cars

Paying for it

If you buy a car you have to find a lot of cash, more than you usually have on hand, so most people borrow money to pay for it.

Choosing It

Choosing It Most people buy a car based on its appearance. They deny it and know that it is illogical, but that is the reality of it. Why else would manufacturers offer different colours? Why else would they make cosmetic body changes in their top models every year?

What a car looks like is linked to the buyer’s self-image when he or she is driving it. A car’s image is generated by advertising, both subtle and obvious. Subtle advertising includes product placement in films and TV shows. This is immensely powerful in associating a particular car with a desirable lifestyle.

Annual cosmetic changes are made to car to differentiate people who can afford to replace their vehicle every year, despite the high depreciation cost of doing so. It is like the fashion industry, which changes everything every season to keep people buying new clothes that they do not need.

Using It

We use our cars for essential and non-essential journeys alike. Many people treat their cars as fashion accessories, something to be seen in. Even children prefer to be driven to school in the new family car than in the three year old one.

We use our cars when we could walk. How else can you explain the school-run chaos every morning and afternoon in every town and city? Most children could walk to school, but their parents don’t want to, so they all hop in the car.

Our Phones

Paying for it

When we buy a phone many of us choose a model that costs such a large amount that we cannot easily find that amount of cash, so we buy them on contract. When you take out a phone contract the company runs a credit check on you, because this is a loan in all but name.

Choosing It

Most people buy a phone based on its image and appearance. How else could you explain the hysteria that surrounds each new model that is released? Phone manufacturers use product placement in the same way as car manufacturers do. They want to link their phones with a successful image and lifestyle.

People think about what others will think of them when they are seen using their phone in public. Teenagers’ attitudes are the most obvious in this regard, but most adults also think the same way.

When Apple brings out a new model with differences that are essentially only cosmetic ever year people go silly. They are persuaded to trade in their old phone, which works perfectly well and is virtually indistinguishable from the new one. The next move with iPhones must be to make them in fashionable colours so that women want six, one for each outfit, like handbags; or maybe they will make them in silver and gold.

Using It

We all use our phones for phone calls and texting when a call would be inconvenient. This has come to be counted as essential use. Non-essential use is the main driving force behind ever-increasing phone use, though.

How essential can it ever be to upgrade your Facebook status every time you sit down for a coffee? How essential is it to check your email as you are walking down the street?

People use their phones when they could be talking to people, enjoying what is going on around them or just concentrating on one task, like driving!

. . .

Do you treat your phone as a tool, or are you in danger of letting your mobile phone rule your life?