Food places open and humanity
Food places open that serve kindness and a side of humanity are places we must preserve. Allow me to explain.
One of my favorite books in high school was George Orwell’s “1984.” The book is a dystopian novel about a closely monitored society. I was young and didn’t understand the book’s depth. But then I grew up. In fact, I carry with me the infamous: “Big Brother is watching you” now more than ever.
So it bothers me to hear that food is now being consumed by Big Brother.
I am talking about the new Amazon Go. It is a new kind of store that made its debut in Seattle, WA last year where there is no checkout required. The store relies on the fact that you shop and never have to wait in line to pay because of the Just Walk Out Shopping app. To many it’s music to their ears. To mine it is void of the sounds of conversation and kindness.
I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But stop and think of the conversations you have had with people while buying or consuming food. Somewhere during one of those encounters there was an exchange of kindness. Whether it be a smile on your face after a good meal or a pleasant compliment from the cashier. Regardless, it injected something positive.
Reports are suggesting that this technology must rely on cameras, cameras and did I mention cameras? In other words the grocery store will have ample surveillance to identify you all the way down to the color of your skin. Sounds Orwellian to me.
For the naysayers, I understand that standing in line at the grocery is last on the fun to do list. But is it that bad? Have we become that impatient that we can’t wait the few minutes for the cashier to ring our items? Or is this another attempt to monitor our minutes even more so? I think the latter.
Jumping to my earlier declaration about food places open must offer humanity is true now more than ever. Like so many places to eat or buy groceries, food places open like Fooducopia strive to offer a place where conversation is flowing and human interaction creates a gratifying atmosphere.
I close my eyes and I think of the kind man at the local supermarket that would always rummage through his coupons as I was about to pay.
“Here’s is a coupon for $10 off,” he exclaimed. As if he pulled it out of his magic hat. I always appreciated his monetary gift, but it was his friendship that was more valuable.
So it came as no surprise that once while finishing my shopping, I noticed a poster size picture of my supermarket friend next to the exit. To my dismay, the gentleman had suddenly died and the staff made a huge poster board of thanks with his picture.
Well, it was as if my best friend had left me. I was wiping away the tears as I loaded my groceries. I grieved by myself because I was the only one who knew of our friendship.
Marrying technology and humanity is tricky and troublesome. The wave of the future will come. But I also believe that bumps in the road are there for a reason. To break us down. To refine ourselves to each other, while technology forges on its path.
So if it’s a cashier or chef—enjoy that side of humanity. It carries with it more than you can imagine. And above all it surprises us with a smile when we least expect it. Like waiting in line at the grocery store.
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