The modern age is full of niceties, devices that are meant to ease the work load of the modern human being.
Some of these “conveniences” actually add more work, different work, or don’t help much at all. Here are my top five so-called “convenience” items that make life harder.
1. Automatic dishwashers. It’s nice to have the dishes and silverware heat-treated with super scalding water for the sake of germ killing, but automatic dishwashers have their disadvantages. First of all, you still have to scrape the dishes, and if you have a husband like mine, you have to rinse the dishes before placing them into the dishwasher. Hand washing needs only one product: liquid dish soap. Automatic dishwashers require liquid dish soap (for items too big or non-dishwasher safe), automatic dishwashing powder or liquid, and some sort of shine product to keep the spots off. A load of dishes in the automatic dishwasher usually takes an hour or more to cycle. Hand washing can be accomplished in far less time. An automatic dishwasher needs a lot of hot water and energy. Hand washing needs only a sink full of water. And, worst of all, if you are used to having automatic only and end up somewhere where hand washing is the only way (like kids in freshman year dorm rooms), you will not have the experience necessary to hand wash.
2. Remote controls. The remote control for TVs or VCRs is a dubious help. I can remember when remote controls were attached with a wire to the device. Heck, I can remember when a person would have to get off their lazy behind and walk to the TV and turn a knob. Today’s remote controls supposedly do everything but bake bread and make you a cup of coffee. However, who among us knows and uses all of the buttons on a remote control? In our house, we have three, one for the TV, one for the cable and one for the DVD/VCR player. This is because the universal remote control I was given had directions too hard for me to comprehend. It sits, unused, on my window sill. Give me appliances with knobs and handles, please. It’s simple, and it’s exercise.
3. Swiffer dusters and mops. Some people swear by them, but I think they are more work than a regular mop. You have to buy the Swiffer mop, then keep buying Swiffer tops because they are not reusable. Environmentalists should be up in arms over the waste. To me, they are more work than they are worth. Just find a rag and get on your hands and knees if you want to mop the floor.
4. “Convenience foods” including fast food, pre-packaged food, pre-made foods, frozen foods and anything you can eat out of a can. Supposedly, choosing a pre-packaged dinner from Wan Chai Ferry (or anything similar) is less work than making dinner. Not so. You must still microwave the item and depending on the microwave, it could take just as long to heat as it would to make a stir fry. It’s even worse with frozen foods, which can sometimes take an hour in the oven or a half hour in the microwave. People, get with the program. It’s not so hard to cook, really. The so-called “convenience” foods are turning our society into don’t know how to crack an egg open or clean and cut vegetables.
5. The computer. There are many good things about the online automation, computers, laptops and netbooks. However, there’s a downside. Kids these days have terrible penmanship, and it’s because they’re taught keyboarding and not how to properly make a cursive “Q”. If you do all your shopping online, there is no interaction with real people in brick and mortar stores (this is something I find a perk as well as a downside). Computers suck up our time with social networking and other distractions. And finally, when the computer breaks down or the power goes out, people forget what to do. Read a book? Write a real letter? Take a stroll? Talk to real people? Do you know how to get money out of the bank without one? How to do business?
Some may call it progress, but I call it work.