The automatic circle of life

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Remember, way back in the mid-80s, when automatic payments were advertised as “newest, easiest and bestest,” and companies offering the “service” were considered “cutting edge”?

(You’d have to be at least 40 years old to remember this, because “mid80s” were 30-plus years ago. Gnaw on that for a minute, old dog. I’ll be over here farting dust.)

I remember the novelty of having my first automatic banker service. It was super-cool to call in and get my balance, until I relied on the machine more than my own accounting skills, and ended upside down by a hundred bucks one week. The novelty of “automatic banking” quickly wore off when I discovered the automatic banker made half the human-in-real-life bank staff unnecessary, so getting Sarah the Teller to help me unravel the mess I’d made was certainly not “automatic” in any way.

It’s no secret I distrust automatic bathrooms. Once again, this is based upon broad personal experience that has been overwhelmingly negative. It was neat the first time I saw an instant, Tornado-style hand dryer, until I was subject to a poorly installed unit that immediately turned my eyeballs into raisins with a blast of satan-breath air directly to my face. I re-activated it three times, blindly stumbling around the bathroom, and lost half my lower lip when it dried out and curled up like a fruit snack. Needless to say, this experience shaded my opinion of “automatic” personal hygiene in a very negative hue. I prefer to dry my hands without having the skin blown off them, thankyouverymuch.

Just say “no” to fruit snack lips. And automatic hand dryers.Just say “no” to fruit snack lips. And automatic hand dryers.

I’ve noticed a lot of businesses going back to a more “personal service” model in the past few years. The whole “do -it-yourself” everything, from booking airline tickets to dental appointments, isn’t a novelty anymore – the opposite is now true. Accounts the come with “personal bankers” and promises of one-on-one service are considered a perk and bargaining chip, instead of a regular thing.

I’d like to follow the pattern here and say the novelty of autonomous vehicles will eventually wear off. It’s a buzzword, clickbait kind of thing these days, but when folks realize we’re quite literally years away from even having a plan for an infrastructure they can run on efficiently, the whole “Ohmygoodness, it’s better than sliced bread” thing will fade.

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Speaking of sliced bread, has anyone else lost vital appendages in the “do-it-yourself” bread slicer/hair removal station at the Kroger in Beavercreek, Ohio? Yeah? Me too. I’d much rather pay a little more for Richard the Bakery Clerk than suffer the horror of losing my French braid while self-slicing cheap French bread, wouldn’t you?

Welcome to automatic hell, y’all.

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