I Have Some Gripes. Is There an App for That?

By Ernie Witham   |   October 19, 2021

Lately, technology irritates me. 

It’s not just because I can’t remember all (or any) of my 1,200 passwords. “It’s getting late dear, maybe you should call it a night.”

“Nope. Technology is not beating me again.” I typed in zzzzzzz9999999 and waited. The password window hesitated and then… it shook from side to side indicating wrong. I took out my 12-gauge shotgun and aimed at the computer.

“You can’t shoot a shotgun in your office, dear, it’s against the condo association bylaws. Please turn the light out when you come to bed.”

Lunch has become annoying. The other day we went to a sandwich place at the mall. “What can I get you?”

“I’ll have the bacon cheeseburger special with chili fries.”

“’Kay.” He searched and finally pressed an icon on his computer screen. “And I’d like the bacon well-done.” “Sorry, there’s no button on my screen for that.” “Can I get the cheeseburger medium rare?” He looked at the screen again. “Apparently not.” “Ketchup only?” “Can’t you just scrape the other stuff off?” Then he smiled. “I can substitute a gluten free bun!”

“Does anyone ever order a gluten-free bun with a 1,500-calorie lunch?”

“Not sure. I can ask Alexa on my phone.”

My wife ordered a salmon salad. “What kind of dressing?”

“The one it says it comes with.”


“Water?” we asked. “Over there, self-service.” “Silverware?” “Over there.” “Napkins?” “Over there. We’ll call you when you can come up and get your order.” 

“Do I have to bag it myself?”

“No, I’ll do that and, oh, here is the tip window coming up.”

This is another technological tick-off. Every time you pay for anything with a credit card these days, you get a tip window. When we go for coffee, I always order the house blend and they hand me an empty cup. Then the tip window comes up.

And the tip amount keeps going up. Now it’s 18, 20, even 22%. I keep waiting for the fourth button that says, “May we access your account and just help ourselves? Thank you for your patronage.”

And don’t get me started on flying. Recently, I flew from Portland to Santa Barbara. Before the flight I got the message to download my own boarding pass, so I did. When I got to the airport and headed for the counter to check my bag, an attendant asked if I had my bag tag.

“Not yet,” I told her.

“The self-service bag tag kiosks are right over here.”

I looked at the bag check counter a short distance away. There were four young ladies standing there looking idly official. “Don’t they usually do that?”

“This way saves valuable time,” she said

For whom, I wondered, as I spent at least 10 minutes reading all the screen instructions and giving this inanimate object more information than most of my relatives know. Finally, it spit out my bag tags, and I fastened them on and took my bag to the counter. “ID and boarding pass.”

“I just gave all that to the machine.” She waited so I gave her all the info, then she asked me to lift my bag onto the scale. “Any questions?” she asked. “How do I know which gate?” “There are arrival and departure screens right over there. Next.” There was no one behind me. They were all still trying to figure out the self-serve bag tag kiosk.

So, it shouldn’t have surprised me when I went to CVS the other day and saw the new self-serve checkouts. Arrggg! But when I went to get some ear wax remover (don’t ask), it was locked up. I had to go all over the store to find someone to unlock the cases.

“I can’t believe people steal ear wax remover?”

“I hear that,” she said. “But people open boxes, use the product, buy some beer and split. We caught a guy putting on hair gel and deodorant the other day. Said he had a date, like that made it okay.”

I looked across the aisle. “Why aren’t the fast-acting laxatives locked up?” 

“Because by the time the crooks figure out the new self-pay checkouts for their beer, we have evidence on them if you know what I mean.”

Be afraid, people. Be very afraid.


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