Buying Happiness

Christine Whelan | Posted on 03/30/10

When I talk about the iPhone, I use words like "love" and "covet."

You should never say that you love a thing, I was once told. You may love a person-perhaps even an animal-but not an inanimate object. Indeed, Spencer Kimball is quoted as saying "Love people, not things; use things, not people." 

Also, I'm well aware that coveting something isn't an attractive character trait or particularly virtuous attitude toward consumer goods. The Bible is explicitly against it.

That said, when I talk about the iPhone, I use words like "love" and "covet." But since I have Verizon, and am determined not to break my contract and switch to AT&T, I've held out lo these many years.

So the news hit yesterday that the iPhone may be coming to Verizon in a matter of months has my heart a-flutter.

Now, it's still in the rumor phase, warns the Wall Street Journal and CNET.com. Fine. I'll just get a little bit excited. I have the gateway drug--the iPod Touch--but I feel impotent and left out when my friends pull out their iPhones for GPS directions, email, games and, oh, right, phones.

This is probably a good time to note that I know all the research about how purchasing things does not buy happiness. Indeed, in the long run, spending money on material goods makes people less happy.

How about this? I'll get an iPhone on Verizon, play with it for a few months and then get back to you about whether this research is true. I would make that sacrifice for social science.

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