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Loss Aversion

Loss Aversion

I had a funny experience today. 

I am a gadget fan, and my entire family knows about that. My sister-in-law wanted to gift her hubby a new iPhone XR. She just delegated me with the task of buying the best phone and accessories. I was delighted because unboxing a new Apple gadget is always fun.

I stepped into the Imagine store. India doesn't have the prestigious Apple Store yet. We are bestowed with the partner network, which has a fairly decent staff. They are courteous and knowledgeable. But the locale is nowhere comparable to the stores I have seen in San Francisco or the store in the Infinite Loop campus.

My sister-in-law wanted a Red phone and all the accessories needed. Her husband is an Android user, and she wanted to present a complete experience and wow him. She had cracked her phone screen earlier and spent a ton to fix it. So she wanted me to buy a good screen guard, case and Apple's iCare contract for one year. I chipped in with the idea of getting an AirPods as her husband spends a lot of time in phone calls. 

All niceties were exchanged with the store staff, and payment was done. When the unboxing time came, I was extremely thrilled. The guy sensing my curiosity asked me to open the box and peel cover. He also asked me to touch and hold the phone. 

It was a thing of beauty. Glistening in wine red colour, it was a technological masterpiece. I was mesmerised by it for 30 seconds. I was making a mental note of upgrading my iPhone 6 in the future. I was casually mentioning to him that my wife's phone has a crack on the screen and I need to go to Imagine Service centre for fixing it.

So he asked what the problem was. I told it is a crack in the screen. He said it would cost close to INR 15000 ($210) to fix the broken screen. Instead, I can exchange it for the same amount ($210) and get a new iPhone XR.

This incident happened in the morning. My monkey mind started drooling about the possibility of owning an iPhone XR through this option. Of course, it will cost a bomb to own. I was torn between the desire to own new phone and the need for spending a ton. 

I was preparing for my wife to use my phone instead of her cracked-screen phone. She was completely fine with it. But I was still struggling in my head with the idea of spending a fortune for a phone upgrade. The dilemma is:

  • Should I pay $210 to fix a cracked screen and let my wife use the old phone?

  • Should I spend $600 to exchange the cracked phone for a new one?

  • I know I should be living frugally but with dignity. Does iPhone XR add dignity or vanity to my life?

I was now depressed that I have to spend a ton to own an impressive piece of hardware. My excitement was buried deep inside these anxieties. My anxiousness increased when I decided that I will spend more money to upgrade to a new phone than fixing the old one.

It was evening. I collected all the accessories like charges, earphones that come with the old phone. I stepped into the store. The same guy was greeting me gleefully. He might be thinking that he made a killer sale on the weekend. 

I handed over the cracked phone to him. He asked my permission to remove the screen guard and examine the crack in detail. He started to peel the screen guard slowly and removed it completely. 

It was then we both realised the crack was on the screen guard and the phone was unblemished. I was like super stunned and very happy. 

I had saved a whopping $600. 🤑🤑🤑  

I was feeling like a gladiator who defeated his mortal enemy. 

Later I was reminded of a joke, in which a son comes pridefully to his dad, saying that he saved INR 10 by walking instead of taking a bus. The dad says, if had walked instead of taking a cab, he would have saved an INR 150.

Hope you all had a relaxed weekend. Thanks for reading.

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