Metro-East Living

Self-serve checkouts are too much for old-timers to handle

I can run from technology but I can’t hide.

It ruthlessly tracks me down and then mocks me as I helplessly try to adjust.

I avoid those self-check lanes at stores because I just hate it when machines fuss at me for doing something wrong. “Extra merchandise in the bagging area,” booms out a mechanical voice over the intercom along with a screaming klaxon as I inadvertently set some item in the wrong place.

I can’t even get to the store without my car telling me something I am doing wrong. I had everything pretty much set, I thought, then I noticed the car wasn’t telling me when I wandered out of the driving lane like it used to.

I don’t really mind that, since I easily can lose track. I searched until I found a switch on the dashboard, or what ever they call it now, and managed to restore the lane-change beeper, along with another function that actually stops the car for me when I’m not paying attention.

But in the process, I somehow changed the display on the panel between the tachometer and the odometer so that I no longer know what kind of miles per gallon I am getting.

You have to understand that the most fun I get out of driving the car is watching those numbers change every few miles. So I have to pull out the huge manual that came with this car and try to figure out which button might control that display.

Someone suggested I just look up my problem on YouTube, where someone probably would have a tutorial video about it. That mistake cost me a couple of hours of watching people fall down, run into things and just generally fail. But it was entertaining.

So, I thought I would relax with a guilty pleasure, a fast-food breakfast.

I drove carefully over to the place, being careful not to touch the steering wheel except on the very outside so I didn’t hit any of the many button, arrows and icons on there and change something.

Lo and behold, the restaurant had installed self-service kiosks and there were even more screens for me to touch. I didn’t touch them in the correct order, apparently, and had to have help.

I’m not sure how that is going to help the restaurant save on employee costs, because us old guys are going to need even more help than we did before. But maybe the technologically-adept younger customers will balance out the old-timers.

Meanwhile, I am running out of places to hide from technology, and even worse, running out of energy to run. Being out of step with the world is exhausting.