Do you ever find yourself noticing that the bagger at the grocery store, the clerk at the convenience store and even sometimes the person in line in front of you at the grocery sore paying with food stamps all, despite their seemingly low-wage earning jobs or lack thereof somehow have a smartphone to keep them distracted?
And not the teenagers whose parents made them get a part time jobs to learn the value of earning a living whilst they pay for their unlimited calling and text plans.
I’m talking about full grown adults who earn what would be considered pretty meager working class wages but still manage to prioritize spending what amounts to a pretty hefty percentage of their income in expensive telecommunications devices and monthly plans.
I would say that the average middle class or higher wage-earner might be confused as to why this would be a spending priority but would probably be wrong. I think we all have developed an intuitive understanding for why these intensely intuitive devices have become like appendages…natural and necessary extensions of ourselves. It allows us unlimited access to enjoy constant human interaction, entertainment, intellectual stimulation and even create art. These devices are not just functional but intensely emotional and social…as are humans.
Go ahead and ask around to your friends and coworkers and see how honest they are about what, if they had to, they would be willing to give up to be allowed to keep their smartphones. You would be surprised at the number of cars, vacations, favorite foods and (in the case of some teenagers) even siblings that would be on the chopping block.
So, if we go back to the question at hand as to why the poorest workers will still splurge on smartphones even though they obviously have to make serious trade-offs to accommodate the habit, then you likely already have your answer. The ability to communicate, connect to other humans and consume culture are an essential part of our Human social DNA even if it’s not a part of or budget.