I know I risk sounding like my father did at age ninety but this past evening has made me question why we think technology has made our lives easier.
I remember when you went to the grocery store and things were priced correctly. People actually stamped the price on items when they were placed on the shelves. Today items come ready priced (I guess) with a bar code. Sometimes they are correct.
I remember when the grocery clerk used a cash register and individually entered each item and its price and noted when something seemed amiss. Now the store clerk swipes it across a magnetic screen that reads the item name and price. He has no clue what milk costs and would never recognize an error.
I just got home from the grocery store where I picked up a half gallon of milk marked clearly $1.79. I also grabbed a container of soft cheese because it was on sale for $3.99 and a two-pack of Hostess Cupcakes only because they were 99 cents and I hadn’t had one in years. If you are any good at math, you will catch an error when I tell you that it came to $10.00. Even with nearly 10% tax that doesn’t add up. Only I was tired at 8:30 at night and simply pressed my phone number into the keypad so it would give the sale price, swiped my ATM card which now means I don’t have to carry cash or a checkbook, pressed debit for how I wanted to pay, pressed in my secret pin number, pressed No I did not want additional cash, pressed Yes to confirm the amount, corrected the young man who mispronounced my name and left the store.
Back home, I glanced at the receipt. Yep, the $3.99 soft cheese rang up at $6.99. This will require a second trip to the store tomorrow for a refund or a return. It will use another gallon of gas which now costs $3.45 per gallon. And I didn’t need a $7.00 cheese.
Earlier in the evening I looked for my cat lady’s e mail address. She takes care of my cat Hermione when I am out of town. In the good old days I kept an address book where I penned in everyone’s phone numbers and addresses. It sat in a drawer and was handy to grab. Today we keep our information on our computers. Except that my computer crashed a few months back and I lost my contact list. My cordless phone will keep track of anyone who calls me and it also allows me to program in phone numbers, and I’ve done a few. People I call the most – my five or six good friends and my family. But the cat lady? No. That left me with one last option. My cell phone. Luckily at some point I must have saved Verna’s phone number and was able to retrieve it. That small task took a half hour.
I turned on the TV tonight. It is computerized as well. I have a Blue-Ray player and a large screen HD Sony with surround sound. I have sixty some channels through my cable company to choose from. Sixty channels of nothing. Re-runs, cop shows, sex and radio stations. I didn’t have a DVD to put into the Blue -Ray and didn’t feel like driving five miles to rent one. I could watch something on my computer; you can do that these days, but if there is nothing on the set, why would there be anything on computerized TV? I sat and read a book from the library.
Cordless, digital, cellular, computerized, high def… really? It has taken me two hours to accomplish three tasks that still require an additional trip to the store in the morning. What else is coming down the pike that will require me to spend money, learn a new process and slow me down even further? Please don’t tell me………
At least the chocolate cupcakes helped.