Jayne Dawson: Today’s big status symbol is tomorrow’s stupid phone

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It’s never a good idea to take your status symbols too seriously - today’s badge of success is almost always tomorrow’s joke.

Let’s just all take a moment to remember the first mobile phones, and then I will rest my case, m’lud.

Cases are in fact what the first mobile phones came in. Huge suitcases full of battery and phone. The march of technology is an amazing thing.

My mother is so old that her first status symbol sounds ridiculous. It was oranges.

If she ever got her juvenile hands around an orange it would be paraded like the crown jewels to make all the other kids drool - those streets were no place for any of our namby-pamby notions of sharing and caring. Then, when no-one was looking, she would take deep lungfuls of the smell of the paper it came wrapped in, to get the scent of the faraway country in which her orange had grown.

If you had told her she would one day visit those places, she would have been so shocked a trip to the foot of the stairs would have been necessary.

I never attempted to make my playmates jealous by parading the street with an orange - there were people with new bikes out there - but I do remember inviting everyone back to mine for an ice lolly made in the freezer compartment of our NEW FRIDGE. Get us.

But status symbols really came of age in the grabby, greedy 1980s when the meaning of life became to acquire stuff.

This was the decade I got my first car, my first video recorder, my first microwave and my first colour television. Also my first CD player, my first food mixer, food blender and slow cooker.

I can’t remember which was most exciting, they all sent me giddy with excitement.

I think the day we invited friends over and WITH AN AUDIENCE I heated the baby’s food in the microwave was the biggest triumph.

But the car was the one that was life changing.It wasn’t a new car because no-one bought a new car but it still meant we could do more than one thing in a day, which is the amazing thing about owning a car.

Now, there has been some research by Quidco.com which has identified the top status symbol of the 1980s as being a car phone. After that came a dishwasher - virtually unknown in real homes - and then two cars on the drive.

Other items with which you could impress your friends were cordless phones and a conservatory. People would sell their granny to get their hands on a conservatory in the 1980s.

Many of us, forged in the fire of the 1980s, still think of all those things as, if not exactly status symbols, then bits of household tackle that signify we are living life quite well, thank you.

But we are sadly out of date. Today’s status symbols have moved on.

To impress the folks in 2014 you need a nanny and a personal trainer.

You also need not only a new car but a high performance car, an economical-to-run family motor just won’t do.

Your house needs to be worth £600,000 before you can start looking down your nose at other people and it should be equipped with electric gates at the front and a tennis court round the back.

On your wrist should be a designer watch and that watch should accompany you on all your first-class travel. And your income, to achieve all this, needs to be at least £105,000 a year.

So, probably you’re not doing as well as you thought. Those things in your house for which you are grateful,they are just the basics of life. But hang on to that thought: this year’s status symbol is almost always tomorrow’s joke.

You’ll be fine.

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