Friday, December 24, 2010

I Did Not Purchase The "XBox 360 With Kinect Controller" Today

This morning I took my daughter to Wal-Mart for a last bit of Christmas shopping for her brother and cousins.
On the drive over I asked her about the popularity of various gaming systems among her classmates.  "PlayStation 3", "XBox", WII".   She told me that the XBox was more popular than the PS3 and that many people had a WII.

We already have a WII at home. I have been thinking about getting one of the two other popular options for a few months.

As we made our way through the store I guided my daughter to purchase sporting goods items and board games. "No more Legos for that little boy!!!". It is great that my son has a vivid imagination. He will build plans and trucks with Legos only to tear it down and start over. He needs something more educational or something that provides him with exercise or something that allows us to spend "quality time" together and not looking at a television screen.

We got over to the video games case and I was surprised that they had a sufficient supply of both the PS3 and the XBox. I figured that I didn't really need a Blu-Ray drive. The Xbox bundle which included the Kinect camera controller costs the same $299 that the PS3 alone costs.

I looked at all of the video games in the cabinets. Most were $49.99 or $59.99. I looked at the titles. I stood looking for about 15 minutes. The key point that made me make up my mind was most related to the other shoppers around me.

The lady working in the electronics isle walked by several times asking me if I needed help. A (Black) woman had this lady open up 4 different cases and to get 3 Xbox games (including Zumba) and one PSP Portable game. She said that they were for her daughter. $200 blown through that quickly.

I asked my daughter if I should purchase the XBox. As if I didn't already know her answer. I had almost convinced myself to do it.

Shopper after shopper walked down the isle with some form of electronics (mostly DVD players, Blu-Ray players and digital cameras). (95% of them Black - not that it matters).

Observing this made me see that THE XBOX 360 is not the "decision" that I must make. The real issue is CONSUMERISM. The XBox/PS3/Wii are like razor handles. They are for sale as a gateway to the purchase of the games or the on-line subscriptions for each system. Once I acquired the system - the game library would need to be built up next.

Look at all of the money that is being lifted from our wallets as we are in a (supposed) recession. This is all discretionary spending and I assure you that the majority of these people were putting it on their credit card.

At a time when the US dollar's value is being destroyed via flawed policies from nearly everyone in Washington DC this type of consumerism is particularly misguided.

We took a walk over to the food section. It is clear that the prices on food is increasing. The inflation stats from the government don't appear to be credible. That $300 for the XBox 360 with Kinect is going to go into the food shopping cart quicker than I expect it to.

We got over to the chicken section. I decided to bring my daughter in on the calculations that I was making. The prices on two packages of chicken don't matter unless you look at the "per unit" price and the weight. I saw two different brands of chicken wings one had their units in "ounces" the other in "pounds". I quizzed her on how many ounces in a pound. I told her to do the conversion. She said "it should be around $0.12 per ounce". I pulled out my cellphone she pulled out hers. She got the answer before me. I unlocked my phone and did my own calculations. It was $0.12 per ounce.

With those whole wings - I chop them up and make "hot wings". Those who purchase the pre-cut wings pay nearly twice as much as are whole wings for this service.

It is time for me to go "cheap". Reduce as much debt as reasonably possible.
At minimum the best thing that I can do for my children is to teach them the value of money and how to make sure that no one can take advantage of them.

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