ND – Dark, Warm, Ominous, Blue
I grew up at the end of a time that I believe that service still existed. Wherever you went people wanted your money, but at least they were people and they would (more often than not) do it with a polite smile. But standards have slipped since then and the continual basening of service levels to reduce costs and increase revenue are a sad sight to behold.
Is it better then that machines are slowly replacing those unenthusiastic people so that you end up with no reaction at all bar the odd R2D2-like beep? Paying for parking at a car park is still only managed by hand in the roughest of places that have signs clearly stating your car just isn’t safe here and it’s “not our fault”. But supermarkets are losing the friendly checkout-girl in favour of a small “unit” whose face you touch, who weighs each item to prove you’re not lying or cheating it, and who mercilessly and unceremoniously relieves you of your electronic cash, cash that exists as electrons and not tangible folding paper.
Our local DIY stores have recently started taking on a similar machine to interact with, and I even ventured (ok, I was dragged) to a Swedish furniture outlet not long ago to find the same thing awaited to buy some large wooden products.
Ironically, whilst the apparent levels of witty banter and personal charm of some of the people I used to interact with had seemed to dwindle, I can’t help wondering if these industrially designed interfaces will slowly take on a charm, intelligence, smiling face and curvy form of their own in the misguided belief that my need for the “social company of shopping” will be satiated.
Jack me into the Matrix and get it all done with!