When Technology “doesn’t cut the Mustard”

The other night it was late  and I was hungry.  I pulled into a national chain store deli. I went to the sandwich section of the store.  The only people in the entire building were me and the three employees behind the deli counter.  I nicely asked for a sandwich.  The one employee looked at me and said you have to use the “Machine”.  I asked him to explain.  He told me to turn around and see the machine that you punch in what you want to eat.  I replied, “Gee that’s really great, but its late, theres nobody here, there are three of you behind the counter and I really just want a simple sandwich.  His reply “we can’t do that”.  I said “what do you mean its really easy, you take  a piece of bread, a slice of turkey a piece of cheese a little mayo another piece of bread, put it on top, wrap it up and I’m on my way.  His reply “we’re not allowed to do that”.

Wow, its 1:00AM in the morning and three people behind the deli with absolutely nothing else to do will not make  a sandwich that would of taken less time to do then actually use the machine or even have the conversation on why to use the machine in the first place.   Now how interesting is that?

Now don’t get me wrong here. I’m a really big fan of technology when it can be used for practical purposes and make our life easier.  This caused me to think of all the things where technology has been put to use when maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.

For example, lets take a look at a  Public bathroom.  Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but after I do my business, I get a great sense of satisfaction in actually flushing the toilet.  I’m not keen on the idea of an automated sensor doing it for me.   There have been times, when I’m not quite done yet and the darn thing flushes.  Feels like I’m getting sucked in.  This is one thing I say no to. Please bring back the handle.  Now if this isn’t humiliating enough after you been almost sucked down the bowl, you go to wash your hand and the knobs are gone on the sink.  We have to magically wave our hands across the sink to get enough water for a flea to take a shower. Oh how nice is that?   Now the topper, you go to dry your hands and again you wave your dripping wet hands across a high tech sensor and out comes a piece of a paper towel large enough to use as  a blanket for the flea that just took a shower.  Can I please have the bathroom not so technical!

Another example is the automated system you get when your cable TV is out.  Does this sound familiar?  “Thank you for calling ____, your call is important to us. To better serve you please follow the prompts. For English Press 1, for Spanish press 2, …… for Swahili press 926.  After about 20 minutes of prompting you finally get the recording. “‘Im sorry our call center is overloaded now with millions of complaints just like yours, please try again some other time, oh and have  a nice day and remember to pay your bill on time or will will cut you off so fast you won’t know what hit you.”  For most of us the cable going out and actually getting to get a live person to speak to you in your native language requires an entire night of dedication, perseverance  and at least two Martini’s

As for the sandwich, I decided to go home open the cabinet, choose a box of cereal, pour into a bowl, add milk and eat.  This required no machine, no technology, no prompting, no auto flushing,  and no conversation. Guess what!  It worked and it was simple and it was good.

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Published in: on May 27, 2010 at 2:47 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. This made my day. Funny and so true. You forgot to add that if the cash machine wasn’t working those bozos wouldn’t be able to count change. I guess we must give up to get–nothing is a snap.
    Thanks for the story. It was worth reading.


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