Guest rant by Jean S. Gottlieb
Much of our lives seem to be consecrated to making simple things complicated without the benefit of making complicated things simpler. Why is it so hard to get basic information, like a telephone number now that phone books have become endangered species? Computers were designed by people who like intricacy of the Dungeons and Dragons kind of thing, so they don’t “think” in a simplifying streamlining kind of way–at least not for the likes of me. I hate what has happened to the home page on the computer. Full of jumping ads and “information” I neither want nor am interested in. I hate what has happened to television which has been poisoned by the computer bug–all commercials and maybe 10 minutes of programming–I’m speaking of news broadcasts. All channels do the same stories at the same point in their broadcast; all synchronize their commercials to minimize viewers’ opportunity to get news on channel A while channel B is trying to sell you a car or some medication that they warn you to check with your doctor about because it can have ominous side effects.
I guess I am just in a ranting mood, but even simple things, so-called, like ordering tickets, airline, theatre, whatever, has become a humiliation, as has airline travel. What happened to the notion that service was what some of these bozos were supposed to be offering us? Why, with the the marvel of the computer to handle great gobs of data so that our records will be orderly, intelligible, and simplified, are medical records, for instance, often a muddle? Why does the doctor have you fill out the same form with the same (dumb) questions every time he sees you? Why doesn’t Dr. A. EVER seem to ask Dr. B. what he has been prescribing for you, or why is it sometimes the alert pharmacist who says, “You better not take both these medicines, they react badly on each other”? With all his record keeping the Dr. seems not to know something as important as conflicting medications that are both supposedly listed in your records!
I AM crabby tonight. Dad whupped me again at scrabble . . .
[reprinted with permission from an e-mail to amba]
Jean adds in response to comments:
What comes to mind as a further insult to the senses and the intelligence (?) of consumers is the totally distracting and unnecessary number of varieties even something as basic as TOOTHPASTE comes in: whitening, whitening with cavity preventer, gel or paste, extra scrub power, I can’t even begin to name the huge, unnecessary number of kinds of just that one item.
As for the respondent who says he prefers online shopping, I understand and sympathize. Retail has lost its lustre as a location where knowledge, charm personality, intuitiveness, whatever, are prized–or even exist. That’s a fault of employers who won’t or can’t train people to see the work as dignified. So selling a pair of shoelaces is like selling someone a winter coat (almost). What we gain is quick and easy and sanitized retail, no interpersonal relationship, no exchange, only snippy or bored “associates,” who are undifferentiated from the seller of hamburgers at McDonald’s.