Digital World


The other day, while waiting for my car to be serviced, I was sitting in the customer lounge of our local dealership. Soon, I was joined by a 20 something lady. As she sat down, she placed a laptop computer on the seat beside her. She also had a cell phone clipped to her shirt and over the next half hour, worked studiously on some nature of hand held device. 

It started me thinking of how many things we used to have to do manually that we depend on devices to do for us today. To a great degree, artificial memory has replaced our own. Simple math for instance has been replaced by digital readouts. And making change or adding sums have apparently become a lost art. 

During a recent trip to return my empty beverage bottles for a refund, I was greeted by a young man at the return window. He advised that his scanner was down and he would have to add up my return manually. Since the value of each bottle was either five cents or fifteen cents, I did not see this as a challenge of any proportion, but I was wrong. He proceeded to shuffle the bottles, grouping them by glass and plastic, then re-grouping them by size. Each time he would count them and make some notes on a piece of paper, and each time he would come up with a different total. While waiting, I mentally tallied the bottles and told him how much I believed I was owed. He however, yet unwilling to accept defeat, called his supervisor for assistance, He explained his predicament, whereupon she produced her cell phone/calculator and proceeded to tap in the amounts until arriving at the number. 

Not long ago, I made a purchase in a small shop which totaled six dollars and twenty seven cents. Not wanting a lot of change, I gave the clerk a ten dollar bill and the twenty seven cents. She quickly slid the change back and smilingly advised me I had given her too much money, waving the ten dollar bill. Not wishing to complicate her day any further, or mine for that matter, I silently slid the twenty seven cents back into my pocket. 

Don’t get me wrong. I am not against technology. I actually embrace it. I have an e-reader, a cell phone, a tablet, a couple of computers, and a car that I can talk to, and I greatly enjoy all of them. I think it is wonderful that we are able to harness programs and processes that make our life easier and/or more productive. But I also wonder, in this environment where we no longer have to talk to each other directly, or just generally communicate at all without a digital assist, what will become of us if one day someone accidentally trips over the plug?


About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Aging, Artificial Intel, Cell Phone, Future, Generations, Life, Perspective, Random Thoughts, Reflection, Technology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Digital World

  1. That has happened to me numerous times. It’s so simple but a lot of people can’t give change, or do much of anything, without help.


  2. George says:

    One of the things that confuses younger people the most at checkout is when you give them change with a payment. They just don’t know how to compute it all..:)


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