Today, I am a low tech redneck. I still write checks, lick a stamp and mail my bills. I ask the companies that I work with to give me a check rather direct deposit. I still have a landline phone in my house. I have only had a “smart phone”, an oxymoron, for a couple of years because the flip-phones I was using are no longer well made. I just got a Facebook account, set on private so you can’t friend me, because cycling and hiking groups that I am involved with no longer send emails out, just Facebook post. I have a Snapchat account because I have kids with a Snapchat account. I still contend it is the dumbest app in the world.
I am not a curmudgeon, I have always embraced useful technology. I bought a personal computer very early in the game, well before Bill Gates created Windows. I had a car phone, remember those? Which morphed into a bag phone, which morphed to a cell phone the size and weight of a brick, to a flip-phone with an antenna, a Blackberry to the i-Phone I carry today. I have had Hotmail, Juno, AOL, and Yahoo email accounts before anyone had ever heard of Gmail. For some reason I could keep pace with technology when I was 30, even 40 but when I hit 45 or 50 shit started moving quicker than I could keep up with.
I pay an arm and a leg for cable and my wife and I probably only watch 5% of the channels we get. None of my kids have cable. They have services that I have never heard of and certainly don’t understand. Every month when I get my cable bill it pisses me off but I am terrified to do anything about it. I don’t want to miss an episode of The Deadliest Catch, The Big Bang Theory or Madam Secretary.
It appears to me that Amazon, like Apple and Google, are trying to take over the world. I shop on Amazon, I bought a t-shirt from them the other day. I buy a lot of books on Amazon, heck I bought every Christmas gift I gave last year on Amazon. When I use Amazon though I need to be looking for a very specific item otherwise I am overwhelmed by all of the choices. But it seems to me what Wal-Mart started 30 years ago, Amazon is finishing, the destruction and the demise of the Mom & Pop retail stores plus many of the store brands I grew-up with.
We have what I describe as a unique and quirky gift store on our Main Street. They have been around for 20 plus years, but they are closing in a couple of months. The ladies that run it aren’t bitter about it but they place the blame on Amazon. The items that they sale are different, stuff you wouldn’t find anywhere else in our city but in order to shop there you have to find a parking spot and walk to their store. Now you can find the same stuff they sell plus more on Amazon and shop in your underwear on the sofa.
Amazon announced today that they are buying Whole Foods. I don’t shop at Whole Foods or Whole Paycheck as it is otherwise known but I wonder what is next on Amazon’s list of acquisitions. Circuit City has gone away, K-Mart is going away, and Sears seems to be next. I like going to the store. I like looking at, holding and thinking about what I am going to buy but I am the same guy that still goes to the bank and fills out a deposit slip. My kids take a picture of their checks they are depositing and send them out into cyber space. That freaks me out.
With each passing day I become more of a knuckle dragging lower tech redneck. I just can’t keep up. I suspect ten years from now the most high-tech thing I will be able to accomplish is clipping my toe nails and picking my nose unless of course there is an app for that.