Sunday, August 28, 2011
A friend of mine is a checker at a grocery chain. When she is working, I always go to her line, since I want to talk with her. Today, I chose her line even though several other checkers had shorter lines or no one at all checking out. Three different people asked me to switch lines, since they would be faster: two checkers and a roving manager. Every time I said (politely) that I wanted to talk to my friend.
I felt herded. A central screen tells you which lines are the most efficient, and the managers and checkers are obligated to herd you into the most efficient line.
This is yet another case of technology trumping humanity. We are not allowed to self-sort ourselves into the lines we chose, as has been done for thousands of years in various marketplaces worldwide. An old line from an old song "In the year 2025") comes back to me, "Some machine is doing that for you..." The screen commands obedience, and we must obey.
Refuse it--when necessary. Never let machinery dominate humanity.
Yes, sometimes speed is of the essence, but not always. Remember, not always.