When the Price Goes Up

When I moved to Munich for the first time in 2014, I had no internet for three months. As an intern, there to get to know the city, it was a good incentive to go out and explore, but it was also a major hassle. Back then, I had an iPhone 5S with 1 or 2 GB of data each month. The joys of browsing and relying on Google Maps always quickly came to an end, and then back to the coffee shop I had to go.

When I moved again within Munich ten years later, it was a different story. My internet setup appointment was delayed by 10 days, but it didn’t feel like I was missing anything. I brought my laptop, turned on the hotspot on my iPhone 11, and back to work I went as usual. My current plan has 10 GB of data, and for an extra 15 bucks, I can extend that with another 10 GB several times — and that’s in Germany, where data is expensive.

We always complain that everything becomes more expensive. Partially, price rises come from inflation, and that part really sucks — because we don’t gain anything from it. Our money loses its value because of other economic factors, and that’s a trend we must fight even though we didn’t cause it. But things also become more expensive because they get better, and that’s something we rarely acknowledge.

The car I learned to drive in had no GPS, no cruise control, very basic safety measures, and not even a beeper for when you park it. That was a BMW. Nowadays, every tiny Kia, Hyundai, and Fiat comes with these things and then some. Cars are probably 100x safer than they were 20 years ago on average, and that, too, is something we must pay for — and in this case, we should be glad we get to do it.

The first few times I moved after leaving the nest of home, the event put a grinding halt to all of my day-to-day activities. Now, I can plop down in an empty flat with no furniture, get a rental car on demand to move my stuff, order groceries to be delivered and stock the fridge, buy some pots and pans for next-day delivery, and then get back to work — which is exactly what I did. In theory, I could even have done all of this on my phone. It’s crazy how frictionless the process can be with modern tools.

The next time you’re annoyed the price went up, think about what it represents: Is it really just greed? Was it done out of necessity? Did the people making the thing have higher costs in making it? And, most importantly, has the thing become better since you last bought it? No one uses all the features on their phone, but everyone loves faster loading times, bigger batteries, and better cybersecurity.

Paying more isn’t optional, but benefiting more often is. Think before you complain, and remember: What you pay for is what you get — and what you get can be a good surprise as much as a bad one.