Friday, 07 June 2019 19:52

COLUMN: Technology is making things easier, not just for millennials

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A day or two ago, as I often do, I got a Facebook message from my daughter. Usually, she will check in and let me know how her day is going or how my grandsons are doing, but sometimes it's just something a little frivolous. 


It took me a few moments to check the message because I had misplaced my phone and I only heard the little message ding once. I found my phone, unlocked it with its not-so-secret passcode and tapped on the messenger icon. There was a picture of something funny and I had to smile. While it was pretty funny, it was also a small window on our current culture. 

The joke was that millennials, when arriving at someone's house, don't ring the doorbell. Instead, they simply text the person inside “I'm here.” I got to thinking about that and I was all ready to write another column about how millennials are goofy and rely too much on technology and realized that was only the tip of the iceberg. While they are linked electronically to pretty much every aspect of their lives, they are missing some of the simple aspects of life. Things we once took for granted are now all but forgotten. 

I was talking to a friend at the supermarket earlier tonight as I was checking out. I only had one item and I decided to use the self-checkout. This is a big supermarket and there is a whole row of cash registers. There was only one human cashier. I will take a single item to the self-checkout, but not a whole cart full of groceries. It was told to me that many people will take a full cart or two to the self-checkout and wonder why they are not able to ring up things like fruit because they don't know the prices. Well, the cashiers do and they know what to look for so you don't pay for Fuji apples at the Golden Delicious price. I like to deal with people, not machines. People know what's going on, machines only know what people have told them.

Convenience seems to be driving most of the technology these days. Or is it the other way around. Sure, when I was younger, you could have a pizza delivered to your house in about half an hour. You had to pick up the phone and give your order to an actual person who wrote it down and gave it to someone who made the pizza and they gave it to a guy who brought it to your house where you paid in cash. My wife ordered us a pizza the other night and did it all from her tablet. Paid for it and everything. She didn't have it delivered, though, as the pizza place is about a mile from our house. She went down to get it and paid in cash. I suppose she could have just driven there and ordered it herself instead of using the tablet, but she said this way it would be ready when she got there. The place is a mile away. A pizza takes about 20 minutes to make. She would have to wait a while once she got there, unless she went there riding one of those burros you see in all the old picture postcards from the Grand Canyon. 

The point I am trying to make is, when we make fun of the technology that has made the younger generations “lazy,” it has also made things for us more mature folks a little easier, provided we understand the technology and how it works. I understand most of it. I can manage with the chip readers for the credit cards and the self-checkouts and the automated phone systems. However, if you are coming to my house, don't text me. I probably can't find my phone, so ring the damned doorbell like a normal person.

 

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he (usually) writes on the lighter side of family life.