People determined to be among the first buyers of the new iPhone 5 formed long lines at Apple stores on Friday. Columnist Loretta LaRoche finds such buying frenzies a bit perplexing.

Eager buyers formed long lines at Apple stores Friday to purchase the new iPhone 5.


Media was all over it, making sure the word went out. Some people actually camped out the night before to make sure they could have the coveted gadget, which appears to be able to do anything but wash windows.


I have a hard time understanding why anyone would spend time waiting on line to buy anything.


Although I must admit, I did wait outside a stage door to see Rudolph Nureyev. But that’s me, and I also think it’s how I was parented. My mother and her parents lived through the Depression and World War II. They became accustomed to being extremely frugal. Nothing was bought because they “had to have it.” Food, clothing and shelter were their primary objectives. Anything beyond that was considered frivolous.


I remember my mother’s wardrobe for work consisted of five outfits and one pair of shoes, which she periodically had repaired. We ate well but it comprised mostly soups, vegetables, beans and occasionally chicken. Meat was a luxury and it was rarely part of a meal, and I can’t imagine my grandmother arriving at midnight in front of the butcher’s door to buy sausage on sale.


If the phone rang and you couldn’t get to it, you were left with wondering who it was. No voice mail or caller ID. If someone died, their only recourse if you didn’t answer the phone was a carrier pigeon. Well, we know the aforementioned is older than dirt, and sharing this with today’s youth only makes their eyes roll in amusement. But, frankly, I wish some of the good, old-fashioned ways of living life could be recaptured. I love technology and what it has to offer, but I also do not see the need to be so attached to the next best thing that I am willing to sleep outside the store to get it.


Elmo, Cabbage Patch Dolls, plasma TVs have all been part of the insanity of getting stuff that eventually ends up in a yard sale. Marketing products has become an incredibly seductive process. It can whip individuals into a frenzy of need. I’d like to see Madison Avenue use it to promote mental and physical well-being.


But, let’s face it, if we actually got people to recognize that their material goods are not as important as their internal goods, where would we be when it came to the bottom line? More than likely, we might recognize that we don’t have to be a bottomless pit.


Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Mass. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth 02360, send email to GetALife@lorettalaroche.com, visit the website at www.stressed.com, or call toll-free 1-800-99-TADAH (82324).