Recently, I went into the Verizon store with my friend because she was having trouble with her phone. We were helped by one of the tech-savvy salespeople, and while we waited for his computer to boot up, he talked to us about a new promotion that Verizon is having called “Edge”. Basically, Edge allows customers that already pay the highest amounts for their data plans, usually a family plan with multiple smart phone lines, to pay and extra $2-4 a month so that they can upgrade more frequently. People enrolled in this program pay more every month, so that they can pay more every time a new phone comes out, up to 12 times a year. The phone is not free people, it’s discounted. You still have to pay every time you want a new phone. In other words, people are so impatient now that they are paying extra money every month just so they can upgrade their perfectly good iPhone 5 to the newer iPhone 5S. You might be thinking that this makes logical sense, because it kind of acts as a cheaper form of insurance (regularly $10 a month on an iPhone). Nope. You’d be wrong, my friend. The phone must be in good working condition for you to upgrade – if you break the phone, you have to wait just like everyone else, or you can pay the $650 retail price. No thank you.
For some reason, this encounter really hit me hard. Almost all of Verizon’s marketing is aimed towards the Millennial generation (ages 18 – 33), which means that this campaign is targeted at my friends and I. Now, I know that my generation is very impatient and we want everything NOW, no exceptions. When we have to wait for more lives on Candy Crush, we get really annoyed. Because we have to wait. For a video game. We truly are the generation of instant gratification. Between everyone in my generation having his or her own computer, and most of us having a smart phone, it’s a wonder we can tolerate waiting for anything.
All this being said, I still think Verizon is sending a really terrible message. If we can’t wait 20 months for our phone contract to be up, how on Earth can we wait 30 whole years to pay off our house. Or be married to one person for our entire lives? No wonder the divorce rate is so high, and people are defaulting on their mortgages left and right. Not only do companies see this, but they are playing right for this fatal flaw of ours. They are telling us that it’s okay if we can’t make up our minds, or if we want to change our minds after we have already committed to something. And that is the biggest consequence of all this – commitment issues. Being a college student, I live in a concentrated environment where most of my day to day interactions are with people in this age group. Even some of my professors fall under the upper-end of the “Millennial” generation. And everyone I know with the exception of a few people have MAJOR commitment issues. If a guy is in a relationship with a great girl, but another girl comes into the picture and she is willing to have sex right now, then many times the boy will cheat on the girl. Instant gratification. We can’t commit to anything for the long-term, and that makes me really sad.
Even though this post is more on the cynical side, I do think there is hope for our generation. If we learn how to break the cycle, and learn to wait for something good to come, then I see this issue going away. After all, good things come to those who wait.