Is gadget lust diffused or fueled by waiting?

Out_of_stockOne of the things I’ve been doing here in California is hunting down the 250GB Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet that a reader told me he saw at a nearby Circuit City. I learned yesterday that 1) he’s not in Northern California like I am and 2) the Archos 5 supply at his local store has already run dry, but I remain undeterred and determined. Before I venture out of the hotel today, I’ll still visit the Circuit City site, enter the zip code of the area I’m headed to, and check the player’s in-store availability. And I still won’t believe the accuracy of the "Out of stock" results list, as I’ve often visited a store claiming to have an item in stock only to discover that the employees have never seen/heard of it.

I’ve lost track of how many stores my husband and I have hit in the past week, but the closest I got to walking away with an Archos 5 was in Emeryville, the first store to actually have the player on display. It was a non-working model, but it was the only place that actually acknowledged the device’s existence. The shops in Monterey, Fremont, Santa Clara, Pinole, San Rafael, and everywhere else we’ve popped into have only had the old 605 WiFi.

Chasing the Archos 5 in this way has taught me something: when I can’t have a gadget immediately, I want it even more . . . but only if it was once possible to actually get it.

If I’m just waiting for a device to be released, then I don’t really think about it very much. Since there’s no way for me to get something if it isn’t being sold yet, I don’t obsess over it the way I do when I can’t get something simply because it’s out of stock or just hiding from me.


The Archos 5 has been available for purchase online for several weeks, but there has always been a good deal of waiting involved in the delivery estimates. Amazon, for example, has all three models of the player listed as shipping "in 3 to 6 weeks," which is more than my inner online shopper can bare. I added one to my cart the other day to see a firm date and was appalled by the "October 26 – November 7" estimate. The 60GB model does seem to be shipping, as several sites have posted their hands-on reports and reviews, but I want the 250GB because it doesn’t have the 60GB’s scratchable, smudgable mirrored back and because it’s the only model "available" at Circuit City stores. I want to bring the player home with me next week, not have it delivered there several weeks later.

What I’ve also learned from this goose-chase-induced urge to pull out my hair is that if a gadget I’ve only been mildly interested in is dangled in front of me, my gadget lust will quadruple as soon as the item is taken away. I know my defenses have always been weak, but this "I only want it when I can’t have it" is just plain sick. I always thought waiting was supposed to cool things down, not heat them up. Isn’t that why people are always saying things like "sleep on it" and "see how you feel in the morning"? Shouldn’t the fact that I can’t get the player right now give me some time to re-evaluate why I want it and realize that I don’t need it?

Oh, forget it. I’m just going to call another Circuit City right now to see if they can order the player for me. UPDATE 10.4: Success!

How does waiting affect your gadget lust?

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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