Friday, February 28, 2014

Pricing Convenience

This is my 1,000th post on this blog, despite not being my original information. I'm looking forward to starting seeds as the weather begins to warm and melt the snow cover, and plan on a larger garden than I intended this due to what I fear is more rising food costs. Growing more food and cooking from scratch also means looking at what others do as short-cuts in convenience.

Today everything is convenient. You cook your meals by pushing a microwave button. Your car shifts itself, and your GPS tells you where to go. If you go to a  public restroom, you don't even have to flush the toilet! This tedious chore is a thing of the past because the toilet now has a small electronic "eye" connected to the Central Restroom Command Post, located deep underground somewhere near Omaha, Neb., where highly trained workers watch you on high-definition TV screens and make the flush decision for you. ("I say we push the button." "Wait, not yet!")

So we have it pretty easy. But we have paid a price for all this convenience: We don't know how to do anything anymore. We're helpless without our technology. Have you ever been standing in line to pay a cashier when something went wrong with the electronic cash register? Suddenly your safe, comfortable, modern world crumbles and you are plunged into a terrifying nightmare postapocalyptic hell where people might have to do math USING ONLY THEIR BRAINS.

Regular American adults are no more capable of doing math than they are of photosynthesis. If you hand a cashier a $20 bill for an item costing $13.47, both you and the cashier are going to look at the cash register to see how much you get back and both of you will unquestioningly accept the cash register's decision. It may say $6.53; it may say $5.89; it may be in a generous mood and say $8.41. But whatever it says, that's how much change you will get because both you and the cashier know the machine is WAY smarter than you.

I tried for several painful minutes to show a neighbor’s granddaughter how to do long division, at which point she gently told me I should go back to watching "Storage Wars" and she would figure out long division on her own. And she did. I don't know where she got the information. Probably from the Internet.


  1. My husband's big gripe is that no one knows how to do simple skills, or even complex ones, in construction any more. Bulldozer drivers have a computer that tells them when the ground is level. No one builds the fancy facades to buildings. They are all pre-formed structures. And it goes on.

    No one much seems to think about what will happen if the power goes out. Think doctors' offices and your records are on that computer.... Not all of mine, I get hard copy as often as I can. (Been thro the missing med record thing before...)

    Here, we build and create almost everything. (Being a 4th generation packrat comes in handy here.) We salvage and reuse things. But this means we have to know how to wire things, plumb w/o leaks, and construct so it will take wear and tear. These we learned by doing, or by working with someone who knew how.

    I homeschooled my son. He does know how to do math, computers, etc were banned. He can cook from scratch. He can sew and repair clothing. Basic living skills.

    I sometimes wonder what would happen.... but not too often or too deeply. It's just too scarey...

  2. Friend of my parents recently bought an item that was listed as 2 for $4. But she only wanted one and the two cashiers couldn't figure it out.


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