I have long been convinced that technology is making us all dumber. The smarter the phone, the dumber the user. How many times when you can’t remember something do you jump on Google and blindly follow the information you are feed. We now all carry in our pockets our brains external hard drive and we use it multiple times in a day. And just as any muscle in our body if we don’t exercise our brain it gets smaller.
Just the other day my wife and I went to buy a chair, yes just one chair. I like shopping as much as visiting the dentist, they both seem just as painful. Now the first few years of living here I can remember buying an ironing board. I took forever. I was forced to take one piece of paper from on counter to the next, one person showed me the ironing board, another wrapped it up, another took my money and another placed it in a bag. An endless process that smell of socialism and jobs for everyone.
Things changed, they changed drastically. And now we don’t even have to talk to anyone as we self-check-out at the supermarket. I can’t help thinking that a time span somewhere between the ironing board and the express check-out would be ideal.
So back to the chair. I took us around 15 minutes to find a chair that we liked, or rather that my wife liked and whose price I liked. “Can we buy just one chair?” my wife asked the sales assistant. “Yes, of course, no problem,” she answered. That “no problem” would turn out not to be true. “Which chair would you like?” she asked. We pointed it out and made our way to what I thought was the checkout. “Take a seat here and I will write up your order,” said the friendly sales assistant.
I really just wanted to pay and leave with my new chair, surely that’s the idea of shopping. So I sat down at a desk whilst the lady punched at keys on her computer, and behind her a huge TV screen showed my exactly what she was doing.
“Now what was the model of the chair,” she asked. I wanted to say “Please just give me that chair and I will go home,” but instead I found myself saying “One second I’ll go and find out.” She typed and typed. Every now and then a swear word would be whispered. “Mare! Do we have this chair in stock?” she yelled to a colleague on the other side of the store.
This was kind of defeating the object, surely this computer should be telling you that, not Mare. Over came Mare. Now I had the “joy” of watching both of them hammering at the keyboard. I glanced at my mobile phone, 15 minutes had passed, the same amount of time it had taken me to select the chair. And then my shopping voyage hit another iceberg. “Mark I have changed my mind, I prefer this chair,” shouted my wife.
Was I really going to have to go through this whole process again. And would Mare now desert us. It took another ten minutes to finally locate the chair on the computer, even though I had said on multiple occasions that the chair from the shop, the one right in front of me, was absolutely fine. They finally located the chair on the computer, “Right can I just take your name and some details,” Mare asked. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back! “You do realise I am here just to buy a chair not to have a prostrate exam,” I answered. A moment of silence. “I will just use my details, no worries, and when you go upstairs to pay just give them my name.” WTF!
Not only was I now committing stolen identity to buy a bloody chair but I had to climb stairs to interact with Mare II to buy a chair. I repeat a chair! “No wonder so many people buy online,” I whispered to my wife as we climbed the stairs. In the time it had taken to buy this chair I could have made one. “Would you like the chair delivered to your home or do you want to take it today?” asked Mare II. “All I want is the chair, what is the best way for me to have that chair today?” I replied. “Well after you have filled out this form and paid then you can drive your car around the back of the building, hand over this paper to the man there and he will bring your chair from the warehouse,” she answered. It took 15 minutes to select the chair and a further 30 minutes to actually have it in my hands. It’s like they didn’t want to give it up.
“Maybe tomorrow we could come back to look for a lamp,” said my wife as we left the store. A prostrate exam at the dentists would be more appealing.