The Gadget Guilt Loophole

Do other dads have a love/hate relationship with buying electronics? I crave gadgets, love them all equally — phones, laptops, tablets, game systems. What guy doesn’t enjoy unboxing the latest digital gewgaw? At those moments I’m the poster boy for childish glee.

Am I the only one that compulsively hits the refresh button on the delivery service web page? Out for delivery! I almost squee.

And unlike cars, I get little satisfaction from nursing utility out of well maintained, older hardware. I want the new stuff.

But gadgets come with an emotional cost, especially this time of year. Almost as soon as the device is free of the packaging, the guilt sets in. Guilt that you’ve appropriated such a chunk of the family budget to yourself. The thing morphs in my hands — a new video game, a club chair for the living room, new soccer cleats — the wishlist for the whole household. All the things the money could have gone for.

There is, however, one electronics purchase that comes with a minimum of misgivings — a new camera.

I recently upgraded my personal DSLR camera. I’ve loved my entry level camera, added accessories, low light and zoom lenses, taken gigs of photos. But I’ve been itching to take and make more video with the kids. In addition, we need a second or backup camera for work — I like the idea of having a rig available at all times, even when the big pro video camera isn’t around.

Most midlevel DSLR cameras have “prosumer” HD quality video — plenty good enough for most of my web-based video projects. I was tempted to jump brands, but because of the investment I’d made in lenses, I was able to make a body-only purchase from an online discounter and stay well under my budget.

When my wife caught me poring over the manual late on the night the camera arrived, I felt a flicker of guilt. But I knew the next morning I would start earning back family capital — by taking lots of really beautiful holiday pictures and videos. With each click of the shutter, with every slideshow and video screening, I earn back a little of the camera expense. From now until New Year’s, that lens cap stays in my pocket.

I hope Santa brings me a hard drive.

You should do your family a solid and take that lens cap off as well. Take tons of pictures, and while you’re at it submit them to this cool contest from Dove Men + Care:

College football brings out the biggest rivalries of all time and now guys can compete head-to-head with fellow fans.  Earn extra bragging rights this season by participating in the Dove® Men+Care® Fan Bowl Photo Challenge. Even after the game is over, fans can still keep the football spirit alive by submitting photos in weekly digital challenges doled out by the “Journey to Comfort” quarterbacks.  Challenges will ask fans to share their “Most Impressive Tailgate Spread” or to don their “Best Game Face” for a chance to win “Bowl Game” tickets or meet John Elway. All submitted photos will be featured in an image gallery located on DoveMenCare.com and Facebook.com\DoveMenCareUS.

Disclaimer: I’m proud to be a partner with Dove Men + Care, title sponsor of the Dad 2.0 Summit, on the “Journey to Comfort” campaign. I was compensated for this post. Stay tuned for more posts sponsored by this groundbreaking brand.