Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 10, 2013

Email: On why people remain poor…

I loved the article you wrote regarding and the article from the Atlantic regarding how despite being poor, many low income people will still go out and blow money on frivolous things and how doing stupid things can usually be the cause of misery.  It was a compelling read.  I mention this because I remember how so many “hardcore” gamers say that the only reason the Wii sold was that it was “cheap” for people who couldn’t afford “real consoles” yet a lot of people I knew who had Wiis were the ones who had good jobs and families where a lot of 360/PS3 owners (at least early on) were the flat broke college kids living in one room apartments or dorms who constantly complained about being broke all the time.  Now I’m not saying this about ALL 360/PS3 owners (calm down hardcore gamers) but it was funny to listen to them rant about things like Skylanders being a big toy ripoff, yet felt that paying $60 a year to play online along with DLC wasn’t a total waste of money.

 
And then I read this article.
 
 
Now, I would like to feel bad for this guy for falling for an Ebay scam,  but at the same time, he kind of had it coming. Never mind, I can’t grasp why anyone is paying for a PS4 or Xbox One right now.  By why would anyone go online and spend more than retail?  Then again we saw the same thing last gen with PS3s and Wiis, the difference being PS3s sat on shelves after Christmas.  It’s funny he says it was “for his kid.”  What 4 year old cares about an Xbox One Day One Edition?  More than likely “he” wanted one and used his kid as justification.  As you’ve pointed out, people defend things they’ve invested money in. One early adopter I know said they’re important because they can find the bugs and issues early on.  So you paid $400 to be a beta tester?  Others will say there’s “future potential.”  I remember when people thought the Ouya had “potential.”
I did like what you stated about everyone talking about the consoles but no mentions of “games.” When I got an SNES, it was because I wanted to play Super Mario World.  I got a Gamecube because I wanted to play Smash Bros. Melee.  I got a DS because I wanted to play Nintendogs and New Super Mario Bros. You get the idea.  Even the WiiU had a 2D Mario that I was somewhat interested in (even that wasn’t enough to make me rush out to get one at launch). What’s the game everyone wants on the Xbox One or PS4?  Knack? Ryse?  So far the best selling “next gen” game is Call of Duty: Ghosts which isn’t exclusive to anything.  My friend got a PS4 at launch and got an Xbox One but he sold the Xbox One when he realized, the money might be better used PAYING HIS RENT!! 
I worked 3 years in a customer support center for a major banking institution and I learned a lot about people and how they spend money. While I won’t deny the bank could be pretty underhanded when it came to fees, more often than not, the folks who kept getting hit with overdraft fees, were usually due to their own lack of restraint.
 
The fella who got Xboned is at least attending college, maybe by the time he graduates, he’ll look back and realize what a dumb mistake he made. Then again I believe it was Ron White who said “you can’t fix stupid.”
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Those banks prefer the stupid because they are their most profitable customers. They don’t want people to put in their deposit on time. They get a ton of money through all those ‘fees’ they slap on.
In the story you mentioned above, the guy had a kid by the age of 15(!). Really now? Maybe when he hits 30, he’ll be a grandfather!
I’m taking some college classes, and I can see the stupid first-hand. It is time for finals and the students still don’t know when their final is. For one class, the final was at 4 (the class normally started at 5). Teacher announced the final time multiple times in class. It is available in the schedule. Yet, at 5:20, someone walks in (thinking he was 20 minutes late to class)  and is ‘shocked’ that he only has less than half an hour to complete the class’s final.
And then I see students skip class again and again. They paid a ton of money for their class. Unless they have some sort of emergency or a conflict at work, why would you not go to class?
The best advice I can give to college students is to bust your ass in college. Why? Wouldn’t it be more fun to take ‘easier classes’? Wouldn’t it be fun to skip class? Isn’t college supposed to be fun? If you do these things, you will potentially destroy your life.
Having a career sucks. You don’t get to ‘skip’ work. ‘Easy’ and ‘fun’ classes end up becoming ‘worthless’ classes in the long term. If you find yourself struggling to balance work, school, and doing simple things like cooking, you’re on the right track. I don’t think students realize what a 40 hour work week is and how crappy it is.
School is a sanctuary. It is not the real world. The transition from school to the real world is going to be the toughest thing to many people. Having a rigorous education eases the transition. High School is not the real world. College is not the real world. You want to get into the real world as soon as possible. You want to get out of the sanctuary.
One thing I see with students is that they keep adding more and more schooling. “Now, I get my Masters!” “Now, I get my doctorate!” Why? They are scared to leave the sanctuary. College is a drug that operates similar to World of Warcraft. Like WoW, you are said to do X, Y, and Z, and then you will get a reward. This is why WoW and similar games are so addictive and destructive to lives because it simulates the sanctuary. The real world is not as simple as doing X, Y, and Z to get a reward. Sometimes, you can do X, Y, and Z and the person doesn’t want to give you the reward. You will see companies lie to you on what the job description really is.
It is tempting for students in a 4 year degree plan to get ‘comfortable’ with the sanctuary. After all, that is nearly a half a decade they are in school. They need to keep asking themselves, “Do these classes have Real World value?” Don’t just assume it, and don’t take the college’s word. The college is only interested in selling you classes, they won’t be hiring you. Ask the companies in your prospective industry what they want. Ask them if those are the right classes. Each semester, keep forcing your head into Real World. What is the Real World like today? What is the supply and demand of people with those skills? If you discover you are in an area where your classes have little to no value in Real World, cut the losses now and get out. When you’re in a hole, stop digging.
In college,  I’d recommend students keep their resumes current and keep sending them out. Get Real World experience while you are in college, if possible. Besides, now is the time to exercise those ‘selling yourself’ muscles. You don’t want to start when you get the degree.

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