Why “Extreme Gadget Obesity” Is Preposterous


I get a lot of press releases. All of them get skimmed, believe it or not, but most of them don’t pass through the first filer (“Is this interesting?”) and end up in the deleted folder.

One that I recently received declared in breathless tones that “42% OF AMERICANS ARE SUFFERING FROM EXTREME GADGET OBESITY!”

I didn’t find it interesting, although I did arch an eyebrow while I hit delete.

However, somehow that headline stuck in my head, and my subconscious kept poking at it, like a tongue probing a sore tooth.

Unable to let it go, I went to my Outlook, but I’d already emptied my Deleted Items folder.

Fortunately, a phrase as distinct as “42% of Americans are suffering from extreme gadget obesity” is simple enough to google.

I then learned, because I hadn’t paid enough mind originally, that the press release was on behalf of an online blog/marketplace/thingy called uSell, and the premise was just as preposterous as I had thought:

Holding onto phones, tablets and other electronic devices is weighing down the American public. Why? At uSell we believe people hang onto used devices unnecessarily because they are unaware the devices are still worth good money.

To confirm this we surveyed 1,000 people using our exclusive Gadget Mass Index, a system that measures an individual’s propensity to store unused gadgets instead of disposing or selling them. The results clearly confirmed that 42% of all Americans suffer from EGO – Extreme Gadget Obesity

You can read the rest of it here, if you so choose.

Incidentally, googling for that phrase it looks like only two other tech blogs, likely starving for content took the bait and worked the press release into their own blog posts.

Further, after all the self-determined statistics they throw around, there’s a solution:

To perform a total device detox, head over to uSell to get the most cash for used devices during the holiday shopping season before prices drop.

This is what, in marketing terms, is called Talking Your Book.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that; businesses do it all the time.

What I found ridiculous was their PR/marketing team’s effort to attach a preposterous label to the fact that people have out of date electronics in their home, and spin it into some sort of crisis.

“Total device detox”??? You’ve got to be kidding me.

The fact that they’re trying to add gravitas to the situation by co-opting the name of a very real heath and social issue only makes it even more preposterous.

You don’t have Extreme Gadget Obesity, you have an Obsolete Gear Closet. Get over it.