JournalismPakistan.com November 2, 2018
There is just too much of convenience around. Take shopping. The fun of this sortie is in selecting every apple, testing the texture of the tomatoes, giving the bananas a gentle squeeze, making sure you are not being conned. How can that pleasure be derived from home delivery? I am staying at a friend’s and that’s how they do their grocery shopping. On the phone. Tick boxes. Then they have to wait. No tactile, personal touch.
Look what you are missing. The fun of spotting new products. Getting those two for one deals, snatching up the pre-expiry date reduced items, the adventure, the thrill of a bargain, walking the aisles like Livingstone deep into discovery, chatting up the saleslady, arguing deliciously with the sabziwala over the price, no, no, no, add another fistful of peas, your scales are wrong, so much strategy and tactics needed in gaining the edge.
Remember not so long ago, so fondly giving the home delivery order for a dinner to a human voice where you could argue and charm and cajole, extra chili sauce please no, the spicier one and can you add extra chopsticks, how good is your chicken in black beans and don’t forget the soya sauce. Often, you established a relationship and they knew you and added free prawn wafers and stuff. You cannot do that with an electronic voice, it doesn’t know you from Adam.
I tried to place an order online through one of those umbrella apps and hit button one option three, and lost the connection. I started again, moved ten inches to the east and the signal died. Then did a quiz contest short of sharing my blood group, took a break, had a shave and shower, wore a fresh shirt, sent the Lord a prayer, and started again. I managed to put some stuff into this ethereal cart, got to payment level feeling like an Everester in sight of the summit and then got stuck on the OTP which came on the other mobile, because that’s the number I recall, okay, I am not flying a Rafale in formation, I am only buying chop suey.
Naturally, by the time I reached that cell phone and successfully multitasked, the antiseptic message tells me I have timed out. It also thanks me for my patronage. And it crosses my mind that murder would be so facile if after you have finally got a confirmation that your bank will let you have dinner tonight, someone says, omigoodness, it is Thursday I am a vegetarian can we change the order. Miss the days of inconvenience. They were so much more convenient.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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