Re: When I was a kid.....
> How did we reach this stage?
'We' didn't, it is still a choice for almost everything.
I am obviously a tech person but:
1. My phone was paid for completely at the time of purchase - because it didn't cost the best part of £1000. It is a smart-phone, it (still) has higher 'specs' than most smart-phones. A new replaceable battery, purchased just this week for £9 (yes, original, from a UK supplier), means it still runs for better than a day if I haven't (wirelessly) charged it. I have a SIM-only contract of course and the £9-month is for a whole year but, really, there is no lock-in here at all at those prices - if they try to gouge me, I (and the two other customers I pay for) will go elsewhere.
2. I bought what few Apps I paid for and those and the free ones get upgraded for gratis where they are still supported at least.
3. I bought my car, it was five years old then and two years older now, but worked, and still works, reliably. I expect it to remain working without significant effort for at least five more years. It is a full-size car with a fairly high spec but I reckon on a cost of purchase in the order of £50/month overall, maximum.
4. I am lucky enough to have bought a house (slowly of course). I am old and had the advantage that they were merely outrageously priced with obscene interest rates rather than obscenely priced with outrageous interest rates (given the base rate that is).
5. I have always, always bought white goods whole, BrightHouse and their ilk are exploiters of a high order.
6. I 'do' rent Netflix, there is no other choice of course. However, they will remain affordable or I will exit the system. There is no lock-in; I can terminate with one months notice.
7. I even self-insured house contents for years having noticed that only a total loss by fire would cost anything more than a £1000 or so. The simple maths of paying £100/yr for a maxm loss of maybe £1000 seemed ridiculous to me. I have contents cover now solely because it is bundled with building cover for about £30, far more reasonable.
I have succumbed to renting Office. I didn't like having (really) old versions and running converters or using the free web-based stuff but the main reason for paying was what you aactually get for your £80 (in my case). One gets five users, allowing me, my two offspring and my girlfriend all to have a copy, and all use/need it. Additionally, we all get 1TB of OneDrive storage, which basically means unlimited cloud storage (that phone camera can use obscene amounts of data for video). Furthermore, each user gets an hour of free calls to foreign phones (importantly, including mobiles) worldwide every month - this is important in one of my users case particularly.
O only once succumbed to HP, as a student, desperate for a Hi-Fi system utterly beyond my pocket at the time. I overpaid for three years but got to have quality music/turntable/tape deck etc. for that period. Having had no-one to help me to buy things, I still regard it as money well wasted.
The real problem here is extending too much credit at high interest rates to people that cannot afford it and don't need the new shiny but just want it - thanks to advertising that makes them feel inferior if they don't have it.
I avoid ads like the plague - the cinema is where I see almost all the ads I see (I really don't 'see' ads on web sites much, I use the BBC for news for instance.
Cinema ads seems very heavily biased towards aspirational things like cars and perfume. Neither work on me of course but they must work in general surely?
It is a strange paradox that people who lack money/power want to show what they do have much more than people with money/power.