13 items in a 1991 Radio Shack ad fit in your phone today with a 90% drop in cost to buy the capabilities

Steve Cichon read through a stack of local papers from the first quarter of 1991 and discovered Everything From 1991 Radio Shack Ad I Now Do With My Phone.

Compression of size

In 23 years, all of the following products fit inside a phone:

All weather personal stereo, $11.88. I now use my iPhone with an Otter Box

AM/FM clock radio, $13.88. iPhone.

In-Ear Stereo Phones, $7.88. Came with iPhone.

Microthin calculator, $4.88. Swipe up on iPhone.

Tandy 1000 TL/3, $1599. I actually owned a Tandy 1000, and I used it for games and word processing. I now do most of both of those things on my phone.

VHS Camcorder, $799. iPhone.

Mobile Cellular Telephone, $199. Obvs.

Mobile CB, $49.95. Ad says “You’ll never drive ‘alone’ again!” iPhone.

20-Memory Speed-Dial phone, $29.95.

Deluxe Portable CD Player, $159.95. 80 minutes of music, or 80 hours of music? iPhone.

10-Channel Desktop Scanner, $99.55. I still have a scanner, but I have a scanner app, too. iPhone.

Easiest-to-Use Phone Answerer, $49.95. iPhone voicemail.

Handheld Cassette Tape Recorder, $29.95. I use the Voice Memo app almost daily.

The only items not inside his phone are a radar detector and 15” speakers.

Compression of cost

Buying all 13 items would cost $3,055 in 1991.

Regular price of iPhone 5s is $650.

Mark Perry at Carpe Diem points out average hourly wage in 1991 was $10.52 and today is $20.35.

Here’s what it looks like in terms of how many hours of work it would take to buy the full-page of stuff then or an iPhone now:

  • 1991 – 290.4 hours = $3,055 / $10.52
  • 2014 – 31.9 hours = $650 / $20.35

So it would take 36.3 days, or 7.26 weeks, to buy the things on the Radio Shack ad.

Or a few minutes under 4 days today.

That’s an 89% reduction in hours worked.

If they all weren’t on sale, the price would have been $959 higher for total of $4,014. That would have been 381.5 hours, or 47.7 days, or 9.5 weeks. That would have been a 91.6% reduction in hours worked.

There’s never been a better time to be alive.

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