Tuesday, January 5, 2016

"Tech No"

Technology is advancing quickly. And as it advances we become more reliant on it. How reliant have we become? Well I'm glad you asked. 
When I started writing this I was at a Chili's restaurant having dinner and drinks with a friend. We were sitting in the bar area and the waitress was kinda busy. Fortunately, they gave us a handy little computerized thing at our table. Just like the one Molly and I had at our table for dinner a few times. It had games (Molly and I kicked ass at trivia in every category, by the way. She's as smart as she is pretty). 
Guess what else we were all able to do with these fun toys? Order drinks, dinner, get the bill and even pay it. No joke. We were able to be our own waitstaff and cashier. 

Having worked in restaurants for years, I'm a pretty good tipper. This time I split it with myself since I did everything but cook and deliver the food. I think it's only fair. Sad part is, most of the restaurants I worked in I was in the kitchen. So I could easily have cooked my own meal. Hell, why go out to eat? Now, I'll admit, I felt kinda bad not tipping the waitress as much as I usually do. They rely on tips to survive or support families. Yet I can't justify a gratuity just for showing up to work. After all "tips", in my experience, means "To Insure Proper Service". 

We will get back to that. First, I want to express another disappointment. This year, while Christmas shopping, I found a ViewMaster. I was so excited I could hardly stand. There I was, all weak-kneed and shit, in Walmart staring at this treasure I'd had as a kid. Yess! All the magical nature stuff I learned about with mine; I just knew my nature loving boy, Logan, would love this! 
So I grabbed the only one they had left, 3 packs of cards for it, and headed to the register. Price was no object but I thought I should check this thing out while I was waiting in line. So I start reading the box. 
That's when my heart sank. Right there, plain as day, "step one, download app. Step two, insert compatible smart phone into the slot. Step three, look at the cards." Seriously?! You've gotta have a smartphone to use this thing?! 
Well, what's the "card" box say? Can't you just insert the cards like I used to do? Nope. Gotta download an app, scan the cards, then look at them on the phone. Look at them on the PHONE?! Well what the hell do you need the ViewMaster thing for?! 

So you're telling me I've gotta either get a smartphone for my 6 year old or have him walking around with my iPhone 6? That's nuts. Why'd they have to go and ruin something like the ViewMaster? It only came in two iterations (that I'm aware of) when I was a sprout. Regular or 3D. The regular was red and 3D was blue. Oh, and I also had a red and blue "Spider-Man edition" that I stole from a store when I was about 8. Yeah, it was wrong but I really wanted it. I hadn't yet developed morals. 

Back then the idea of anything more advanced than a pay phone would've blown my mind. A smartphone was something Isaac Asimov would've written about. No way could it be real. Personally, I think portable telephones and Internet are just fads that'll pass in time. 
I mean, this technology stuff is handy for now or I'd be mailing these little posts out. There's way too much to put on a postcard. I write small but not that small. Plus, my penmanship sucks. 

We had an encyclopedia salesman come by my house when I was about 12. We got the full set. Every month or so I'd have to go through and add new pages that they'd mail us. That's how we would "update our programs" back then. These days we just look shit up online. A few keyboard clicks and a video pops up. Reading an actual book is becoming antiquated. 
My kids have tablets. I bought them for educational purposes. I say that but I really think I bought them so we can make long trips without threats of violence every few miles. Sometimes technology can be a life saver. 

So back to the electronic waitresses. Where's that taking us? Well, there's a restaurant in Nuremberg that's replaced its waitstaff with automated systems. They've compared it to the world of the Jetsons. Man, I loved those cartoons. Never imagined I'd live to see it become a reality show. (Don't let me forget to talk about reality shows at some point. It's written but I keep forgetting to post it). 
What's going to happen when we don't need waitstaff at all anymore? I'm thinking that's not going to help the economy or the unemployment rate. Maybe the "Illuminati" is behind it. It's a giant conspiracy to make us all name our dogs Astro.