2018-04-13 / Commentary

Technical Difficulties

I’m just saying...
Julia Rogers Hook

Do we really need driverless cars?

Do we?

I just don’t see the benefit of being in a car with a “mind of its own,” and, if the car didn’t react as I thought it should, I would be powerless to stop it. That’s frightening to me!

I think our society is already far too “techie” as it is. We don’t call people anymore. Now we send emails and texts, we post on social media, and there are a myriad of things Idon’t know-what-they-are like Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, and whatever else is out there we do instead of TALKING to each other.

We shop online…we have no interaction with salespeople or even the garment before it arrives at our doors. When I’m looking for clothes, I like to feel the material, see the color, and try it on to see what it looks like on ME.

Many times, the clothes I’ve ordered from a catalogue look and feel very different when they arrive at my house than they did on the size-two model in the picture!

We can even pay our bills online, which I do use and deeply appreciate, but there’s always the chance our banking information will go to “The Dark Web,” which I’m not sure what it is, but it sounds pretty ominous.

Now even restaurants are beginning to urge people to order their take-out and delivery “online.” They are even giving discounts to people who will do that. And that never works at our house because we always have a “different” or complicated order the computer can’t figure out.

For instance, my husband Marty likes his pizza with a lot of meat on it, and I like mine with pineapple on it. There is no option for that “online.” Give me a nice person on the phone with moderate intelligence, and I can order a pizza the way we both like it. There’s no hope of getting it right “online.”

Once, for a Valentine dinner, we were making reservations, and the particular restaurant we wanted to go to would ONLY take the reservation ONLINE. I tried to explain to the man who answered the phone I was far too “technically impaired” to do that. I implored him to just take my reservation. I cajoled, joked, wheedled, and coaxed him to “just write our names on the list,” but to no avail. He told me it was all done by blah, blah, blah!

When people begin to talk to me using computer jargon, my eyes glaze over, and my mind takes a walk on the beach.

In the same 60-seconds, the man spent arguing with me on the phone and telling me I had to make my reservation ONLINE, he could have written “Hook-2-7p” and we would have been done with it. Instead we went someplace else, and that other eatery has lost our business.

I just found out we can even buy our groceries online! At first I thought, “Wow! Now this will be great!” I could just see myself with iPhone tapping in all the things we needed and then transferring it to a list on the grocery store website, and they would deliver it to me. EZ-PZ, right?

But NO!

First, after you register… then you go into the “departments.” The bread department alone must have 300 choices! White, wheat, grains, no grains, buttery white, home style, bakery style…the list is endless. And that’s just bread!

And oh my word, the MILK! They are apparently making milk from everything but a cow these days! There’s almond milk, cashew milk, Omega-3 milk— whatever the heck that is— and GRASS milk! I don’t know if all the cows got Hollywood agents and then went on strike or what, but can they REALLY get milk from nuts and grass? And if they CAN, do I want to drink it?

By the time I go through and choose from all the options in every category I want something from, I could have gotten into my car, driven to the store, purchased said items and gotten back home and put them all away! Depending on the time of day, I might even have time for a nice glass of wine, too!

But when I say it’s a huge hassle to conduct online purchases, what I’m really doing is grieving for the loss of human interaction. I like going into a department store or grocery store I frequent and knowing the names of the salespeople and them knowing mine. I like talking to my friend who sells perfume and finding out about her daughter’s recent graduation and possible new job. I like knowing the guy in the seafood department of my grocery store who just had a baby and what her name is. I just like the interaction with other human beings.

A computer can do a lot of things, but it’s never going to be able to come out from behind the counter and give you a hug if you’re having a bad day.

I’m just saying…

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