A month ago I entered a huge chain store in London and having come from Eastern Europe’s Bulgaria I found myself super excited by the fact you can scan your groceries on your own, then pay and leave. All this free from any staff involvement. I really did enjoy that because where I come from shopping assistants, especially in grocery stores, may sometimes be a real pain in the ass to customers. Mainly for they are usually underpaid, still working hard and logically grumpy and mean.
But what if they are not? What if they enjoy trade, enjoy communicating with people? What if they love the neighborhood where they work in? What if you like hanging out with them?
I grew up in a small town. There you know everybody and some of the people I used to buy bread from when I was small still recognize me, still say hi and still care to ask what I’ve been up to. And I still do care myself, because they were nice even though I was just a customer. And a machine may be practical but still would it be ever so advanced to care?
Today in between jobs I stopped to grab a bite at a small place I’ve been visiting for some time, bought some food and had a short chat with the lady working there. She knew what food I wanted, what drink I’ll take because I’ve been doing that for some time lately. I don’t know her, neither know if she likes her work, but I certainly don’t want her replaced by a machine. As I’m writing this on my smartphone in the subway right after taking money from the ATM I wonder where is the line, the boundary we certainly need in order not to be fully deprived from life as the social act it has to be.
All this in the name of mere convenience and cost effectiveness if you want.