Rhys Darby
Comedian Rhys Darby on life in New Zealand

Rhys Darby: Phone shoppers need more than retail therapy

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Americans addicted to digits in cyberspace lose feel for cash.

Smartphone shopping has reached an all-time high in America. Photo / AP
Smartphone shopping has reached an all-time high in America. Photo / AP

Last week in Denver, Colorado, I was asked to appear on a local breakfast TV show. It was for a segment on NBC 9 News called Hot Topics. I was happy to oblige because I had tickets to sell for my live comedy show.

They sent the "hot topics" via email the night before so I had a chance to study them. I didn't get any further than the first one, though, for I found it quite fascinating ...

Smartphone shopping has reached an all-time high in America. According to a recent online survey done by a web testing company called SOASTA (I have no idea what that stands for), more than 1000 smartphone users from the top 10 American markets by population were asked whether they had used their phones to shop online.

A whopping 63 per cent said they had, which I thought was quite high. Further statistics from the survey revealed smartphone shoppers didn't really mind where they were when they shopped.

In fact, 23 per cent of smartphone users said their most common time for shopping was during a meal. But wait, it gets worse - 7 per cent of those surveyed admitted to shopping online while supposedly listening to their spouse discuss work. Furthermore, 5 per cent admitted to shopping while co-workers spoke to them about their children and 4 per cent admitted to even buying stuff while driving their car!

Jeez Wayne, no wonder the Government shut down. I think America needs to have a serious think about its priorities.

After reading these stats my first thought was that perhaps these people have a shopping addiction. I mean, how often do you suddenly feel the need to buy something when someone is talking to you?

Don't forget, this survey is a general cross-section of the American population covering the biggest cities. Is everyone in America becoming addicted to spending?

It feels like the people of this great nation are becoming less and less attached to the physical element of money. You know what I mean, the feel of cold, hard cash.

We live in a digital world where all is available at the touch of a screen. Money has been simplified, changed subtly over time from tangible bills to numbers in cyberspace.

Cash is no longer in a cloth bag; it's numbers on a screen. Numbers that can be manipulated and modified. If you run out of numbers you can just buy some more, right?

Commercialism in the Western world has got us by the scruff of the neck.

It's a technological takeover and we can't even see it happening because we're too busy enjoying it.

These were the thoughts running through my mind as we clipped on our microphones and went to air. Unfortunately when it was my turn to speak, the only thing I could muster was ...

"Fancy fiddling with your phone when someone's talking to you, it's the height of rudeness!"

- NZ Herald

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