I Bought a Tablet (Which Makes Me a Jerk)

So I finally broke down and bought a tablet computer, which officially makes me a jerk.


Seven days prior I was just a guy with a janky iPhone 3GS with so much dust under the screen you’d think I work at a I hadn’t updated the OS on it for more than a year and a half and it took me six hours to jailbreak it, unjailbreak it, restore it, update it, only to then have AT&T unlock it for me for free in two minutes. This is because I wanted to be able to pop a SIM card in while on vacation overseas and use my phone as a local phone.

A week later I’ve somehow entered the world of Android by buying an Asus Transformer Pad (I didn’t know there were so many nicknames to learn, like “Ice Cream Sandwich”)

And not surprisingly, as I hold it, with its detachable keyboard that makes it a netbook, I feel of pang of social guilt, like I’ve crossed some line and a village of starving people would just die of shock if someone told them how much it costs. “So he could surf from the couch?”


Why Did I Buy It?

I feel a twinge of guilt at its price tag, but I overestimated what we needed for a vacation budget and our plans changed those more affordable because we’d be staying with family, so there was room for a vacation toy.

But then I stop caring about justifying it and hold it…and hold it…and then feel a bit silly that this thing is something that I hold like a delicate piece of glass, a glowing machine that I should keep close to my body, heck, why not put it in my lap, I’m sure it’s safe…

And then I don’t care again when I download Joshua Fields Millburn’s new book into my Kindle App, and I smile knowing that it will be the first book I read on a eReader and that it was free (today, date of this publishing only), and I’m not feeling guilty anymore. I’m a bit excited. I haven’t even connected the keyboard to the tablet yet because the keyboard/dock is still charging (what’s this, as I look over? the green light means it’s charged?)….

…Ok I’m back.

The main reason I bought it was because my online endeavors with this site have kept me in our office, away from my wife in the living room, some nights each week. Having this device should allow me to spend more time with her watching Cardinals baseball and writing on the couch, as she reads.

Moral of the Story

If you are going to save up and budget for a vacation, make sure you overestimate and save up some additional funds for a new camera or a smartphone, something that will enhance the experience.

When you are traveling, time is worth more than money when you only get two weeks off a year, which is why I’m looking forward to having a device that will allow us to avoid getting lost and wasting time, in addition to passing the time as an eReader while waiting in airports.

I don’t make many unnecessary purchases, but when I do, it’s either something that will make my life better or be a complete splurge. I haven’t determined what this purchase is yet, maybe both.

To be honest, yes, a lot of this is because I just wanted a new toy.

So as an official member of the Jerk Fraternity, I must now ask if you are done with that outlet because I would like to charge my tablet.

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  1. You’re not a jerk! You had enough money for it. If you had to cut back on something that was crazy important (like your mortgage payment) to buy it, then you might be called a jerk.

  2. If the main reason you bought it was so you could spend more time on the couch next to your wife… why couldn’t you just move the couch to the office? Haha

    Welcome to the future my friend. Work just gave us Samsung Galaxy tablets to use for all of our dispatching and other work related tasks. Those tablet devices are awesome!

    You’ll have to let us know how that device with the removable keyboard compares to a laptop. Sometime in the future I picture myself buying one or the other in order to work on my online endeavors when I travel. I always thought I would lean towards the laptop just to have the keyboard for writing. I didn’t even know a tablet existed with a removable keyboard.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love how you are justifying your spend on this toy. To be honest we are all entitled to what we want in life as long as we budget the money. If you want to enjoy your vacation and have all the latest gadgets on hand, so be it.

    It’s gets out of hand when people start buying items on credit with money that have no yet earned. I’ll admit I’m well travelled and enjoy it so much I miss it since moving to Canada. I used to go to about 4 different countries a year. It’s been 6 years since I’ve travelled outside of Canada. I’ve never owned an Iphone, tablet, Mp3 player,, e-reader nothing. I’ve never felt the need to have one on vacation or in my life (yet).

    Sometimes I think it’s a case of you don’t know what you are missing if you just don’t have it. I spend my money on things I budget for and if you want a Tablet and you saved the money, enjoy it mate!

  4. I want a tablet! Something I wish I would’ve bought for our last vacation was a nicer camera. Still regretting that!

  5. I think I want a tablet, but I think I am more likely to save up and purchase a new laptop.

    Purchasing things you want and can afford does not make you a jerk.

    @Michelle - purchased a really nice camera before I went to Oktoberfest a couple years back. Best purchase I have made in a long time. It is totally worth it. The only downside is, now I want a couple new lenses and those cost more than the camera!

  6. Great story.
    Do you like Android?

    P.S. As for me, it’s quite hard to blog on couch if somebody is watching TV nearby.

  7. I don’t think a tablet needs to be justified, I think it’s fine to make purchases as long as you can pay for them. I have no use for a tablet - i have a laptop, iPhone, and a Kindle.

  8. Very funny! Clearly you’re working to rationalize your pricey little gadget. You’ve bought it, it’s over, so I suggest shedding any guilt and just enjoy the heck out of it!

  9. Congrats on buying something for yourself, especially something that will allow for more family time. I’ve been wanting to get a tablet, but I’m not quite at the point of justifying it. Since I don’t have kids, it would really just to be able to do some work from the couch and out in the sun. I wouldn’t feel too guilty about it in your case. I doubt it’s going to lead to a bunch of extra lifestyle inflation choices. You’ve been working hard to save money and deserve some luxuries.

  10. The transformer is a really cool tablet. I got a kindle fire for Christmas this year and I really enjoy it. I hope you find lots of free apps you enjoy.

  11. I felt really guilty when I first got my iPad2, even though it was after the iPad3 came out so it was $180 off at MicroCenter. I think there is definitely a line in the sand. But my iPad has helped me spend more time in other parts of the house than cooped up in my office, and for that, it is worth it. :)

  12. I will get a tablet soon, for this reason. I’ll probably get the Microsoft Surface or something else with Win8 on it. I don’t think you’re a jerk because your product doesn’t start with “i”.

  13. I really fretted over my purchase of a Kindle Fire for myself last Christmas — it seemed SO indulgent and I was just convinced there were a ton of better things I could do with my $150 bucks, including parking the cash in savings.

    But you know what? I use that Kindle every single day — to play games, read free books, connect with blog readers, you name it. In fact, I’m getting ready to downsize my phone plan as a result, since I no longer need it to check e-mail or get online!

  14. I’m part of the same cool club. Lol. I wish I got an Android tablet though because I have an iPad and I really like personalizing my Android phone. Ugh, not gonna get into here - but there ya go. I actually wanted a Kindle, but my mom and everyone else convinced me that I “needed” an iPad. To illustrate the dire need, my mom paid for the difference (of a Kindle and an iPad) just so I could get the iPad. Turns out, I don’t use it too much except for Facetime.

  15. Great use of the old school adjective “janky” :)

    You’re not a jerk. This is just the direction things are going now! My wife and kids are on the iPad all day long. They’re just so convenient compared to a laptop!

  16. Not a jerk at all. Use it well!

  17. When I went on a trip to Italy, I budgeted for a new camera as well as all the other expenses since I knew it would be a LONG time before returning…and I would maybe want to remember all the cool, old stuff I got to see! Nice post, Jerk! hehe

  18. Jerk, shmerk. Who cares as long as you weren’t bashing people who bought them just yesterday! Or if you always were an Apple hater then one day decided to get an iPad (looking in the mirror as I type this) because it demolished all the androids on the market.

    I always say if you have the means, then do what you want with the money. Tablets are great for work or play, and certainly better than taking a heavy laptop on a vacation with you.

  19. Time with the family is important! But, what will you watch when the Cards don’t make the playoffs?

  20. You have one of my dream tablets. Yes Ice cream sandwich 4.0 is the latest one :)

  21. whatevs.

    I had an iPad then I sold it, and now I miss it so much. But because I’m an asshole, I refuse to give up my MacBook air… I just want another iPad so I can have both (AND a 27″ iMac, please.. also a new iPhone to replace the one I lost)

    We can be in the first world jerks club together

  22. LOL. I need to make I overestimate by a decent margin. However, if I’m only planning for a $1,000 vacation, budgeting $500 over is quite a bit to overshoot.

    However, if I plan for a $5,000 vacation and overshoot by $500, then that’s not too noticeable.

    It’s awesome that you bought one though. I’ve been contemplating it for awhile and will definitely take the plunge when I free up some funds. It will help with efficiency a lot!

  23. Join me as we battle for outlets, argg! lol

  24. Not going to lie, I got a kick out of your image :-)

  25. So cool! I bought my little brother a kindle fire. I had it for two weeks and i loved it :)
    I don’t really need it though. And just bought myself a MacBook Air that I love even more.

  26. I am laughing at you, I have a 5 year old Macbook and I can type on my couch while my wife is watching TV or reading on her dell laptop. I am not guilty, this laptop lived its life, this is extra I am getting out of it.

  27. That is a great story John. I love the explanation about making sure you budget a little extra for that vacation. That is a great reminder to all.

    When you figure out if it makes your life better or just a splurge, please let us know!

    Thanks for sharing.

  28. John, I have been quietly following your blog for a few weeks now. I enjoy your writing style. I could really relate to the part about wanting to work online in the living room next to your wife instead of isolated in the office. Even if we are not watching or working on the same thing, my wife really likes if we can be in the same room together. I often work on my blog in the living room on my laptop. If the noise from the tv distracts me, I put headphones on. It seems to work pretty well for us.


  29. Funny, my coworker said a similar thing about getting the new iPad. Even though you like your new toy I think the reasons behind it are solid and more important. Except the whole watching Cardinals games. Go Cubs!!! :)

  30. The trick, especially with technology is to make sure it doesn’t invade your life. I may have got you out of the office and into the living room, but now if all your living room time is on the tablet, you are actually worse off in terms of spending family time.

    Not that the tablet needs to be that way. If it means more time with the wife, it’s worth a few hundred dollars.

  31. Sounds fun, but when I go on vacation, I want to BE on vacation, not working on some electronic device!

  32. Bahaha. Love this!

    Glad you’re happy with your purchase.

    I don’t have any desire to get a tablet at this stage - they’re fine for media consumption but not useful for much else. (I also am a firm holdout against e-books.) My sole experience has been playing around with a review unit of a Sony S tablet, which was disappointing.

  33. Life is to enjoy, so don’t feel guilty. By the way, I absolutely agree that vacation expenses should be overestimated. I think it’s not too common that vacation costs are lower than one expects, and we do want to make them as fun and memorable as possible, right?

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