Op-Ed: Americans tend to spend more money on cellphones than necessities

Posted Jun 3, 2013 by John Kelly Smith
Studies tend to show people are interested in staying attached to the outside world more so than paying other bills like power, water and mortgages.
Every time a new iPhone comes out, there is no denying that consumers flock to every retailer possible to get one of their own. Studies show that some people cannot get enough of their gadgets. In fact, there are a few people out there that would rather have a mobile phone than a meal. That’s right – some Americans would rather starve and have their technology than live and be without it.
Numerous private and public companies perform surveys every year to see why this is such a problem for Americans. In one such survey, performed by Harris Interactive, 46 percent of Americans who owned cell phones stated that they pay up to $100 or more a month for their mobile service. On the other hand, 13 percent of Americans said they pay double that amount per month.
That isn’t the disturbing fact, though. One out of five people who own a mobile phone said they pay more on their cell service per month than they do on their groceries. This indicates that food is actually less important than their cell phones are. It may sound a little crazy but the numbers do not lie. Let’s break it down...
Expensive phones, for example smartphones and iPhones with AT&T and Verizon, can cost people a small fortune. So much as they can sometime double other competitors and the reason for this continues to be unfounded. Other carriers can still offer great service at a great price but there is a great deal of Americans that choose to stay with these two carriers for some reason and they continue to pay outrageous prices. The iPhone plans with these two carriers can easily push $150. Add multiple phones, international plans, insurance or a protection plan and you will be over $200 before you know it.
The Labor Department estimates that the average AT&T consumer pays about $75-80 a month. This begs the question as to why people are paying a couple hundred a month. What are Americans doing on these phones to warrant such a bill and why aren’t they using them to dial up customer service to complain about high rates? It couldn’t hurt, right?
Dropping more money on a cell phone than groceries can be fatal. Yes, a person can keep in touch with loved ones but it will be to tell them that they are withering away from starving to death. No mobile phone should be worth going hungry over.
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