The real cost of a new laptop, cell phone, or gadget may not be listed in the fine print of the agreement. Each new gizmo also has a “Malfunction Tax” on people’s time, spiritual health, and wellbeing. Writing for Standpoint, Lionel Shriver describes the hidden cost of the new doohickies, thingamajigs, and inanimate chunks of plastic that invade our lives. She writes:
Each time we buy another gizmo, we're not only committed to hours of tremblingly assembling its delicate snap-together plastic bits, loading its software and learning its often demanding technical protocols, but we're prospectively surrendering yet more hours of aggravation when despite our dutiful decoding of mockingly sparse instructions it fails to function properly. Thus all these dazzling inventions are far more costly than their price tags suggest. Why don't I have a mobile, much less an iPhone or a BlackBerry? While I can afford the mere economic expense of the accessory, I cannot afford the temporal and emotional expense when it doesn't work.