Have a Nice Day

August 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm Leave a comment

Used to be, you needed something, you went to a human being. Bank teller, gas station attendant, store clerk. The list of jobs that have dwindled or disappeared because of technological improvements is long and getting longer.

Let me say it up front:  I’m not against technology. I love some bits of it. For one example, I think the option to renew vehicle registration online is a modern-day miracle. (I have this friend; she’s a bit of a procrastinator.)

I really do appreciate many aspects of speed, convenience, and independence that have come into being because of technology. But it has begun: Companies are no longer offering convenience as a competitive differentiator; they are selling it. The easy-breezy options we have grown accustomed to are now a potential trap.

Gas pumps are up-selling — Would you like a car wash? — and researching — What is your ZIP code? Some pumps are now programmed to ask so many dang questions, it’s easier to get away from a Jehovah’s Witness.

Banking machine charges keep going up, and they too are being programmed for sales — Are you interested in a loan? (How long did you stand there waiting, and how many people were behind you in line, the first time a bank inserted an advertisement on its ATM?)

What do we actually gain by ringing up our own groceries? Especially when, nine times out of ten, the person who used to do that job is forced to stand there and watch you fumble about while politely asking if you’d like any help doing his/her job.

Today, I was trying to order some concert tickets on a website. There was a problem, so I ended up calling and getting the tickets by phone. Nice surprise: It was cheaper by $6/ticket because there was no processing fee.

So . . . getting rid of human beings doesn’t increase profits enough? Now, you want to charge a fee for an interaction with something incapable of problem-solving? And, so . . . if not for there being a processing glitch, I would never have known I could avoid the processing fee?

Boing!

Let me say it again near the end: I’m not against technology. I could hardly write a blog without it. And I’m not suggesting it would be better to be some sort of crazy hermit (even if there are days when I think I’d be really good at that). But perhaps we should do a little something to stem the tide?

How about this: How about, once a week, skip the touch pad and do something the human-being way. See what happens. Maybe you’ll save some money. Maybe you’ll save some time. Maybe you’ll hear a joke or meet someone interesting. Maybe you’ll get a free mint.

Give it a try. Maybe you’ll have a nice day.

Have a Nice Day!

Entry filed under: Humor - Commentary. Tags: , , .

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