I do so love to point out inconsistencies, those so-called “convenience products” or “timesavers,” designed by some geek that actually require more time and trouble than what we had – or didn’t – in their absence. Part of the frustration in dealing with the extra work of these innovations is society’s wholesale adoption of them, warts and all, so that I feel so crotchety, such a Luddite, so Andy Rooney-ish.
So, let’s begin:
1. Office Voice Mail
Every office voice mail system I’ve ever had has taken more time and trouble for me to identify myself to the system, direct the damn thing to allow me to listen to my messages while scribbling down names and numbers, tell the system what to do with the given messages, hang up, pick up the receiver to answer one of the messages – only to discover a stutter tone informing me of two more messages left during this exercise. Repeat this two or three times and it’s lunchtime already.
2. Text Messaging
When used by adults, this communication system actually does seem to be helpful at times. When used by teens and young adults, it approximates insanity. This demographic age group uses text messaging for uncomfortable subjects that they would prefer avoiding and would legitimately require two to four hours of intense conversation. When one attempts to resolve this communication issue via text messaging, you can be assured of spending four to six hours exchanging messages.
3. Instant Mashed Potatoes
In this age of leave-the-skin-on mashed potatoes, how in the world is it faster to find the measuring utensils required to measure out the freeze-dried flakes and one’s reading glasses necessary to see the tiny numbers than it is to dump hot chunks of potatoes in a mixing bowl with some splashes of milk, butter, and salt? Yes, it takes a modicum more time to cut and boil the potatoes, but I guarantee you that any household dependent on instant potatoes is out of milk 50% of the time anyway, so let’s count that “run to the store” time too.
4. Fast Food
“Fast food” may be quickly ordered or even quickly eaten, but it is rarely quickly prepared and/or bagged. Anyone can make a peanut butter sandwich faster than that counter help can get you your McMeal.
5. Drive-Through Banking
The only thing drive-through banking saves is carpet-cleaning expenses for the bank from where customers once stood in line. It is a tedious, time-consuming, smoggy affair even with the nifty vacuum tube containers.