I was reminded when reading Ian’s blog of the hours I spent in my youth in new and second hand record shops – and that was before sitting down to listen. With tracks now individually downloadable and with shuffle on the iPods, listening to one album from start to finish (preferably having to change sides half-way through) has now been consigned to history.
So too have the record shops but they are not alone. The bank welcomed me when my grandfather brought me to open a bank account with my saving box (for some reason in our house called a Congen Box but do not know why). They also welcomed each little deposit. Now that branch and many others are closed, those that are open encourage customers to interact with a machine.
They are not alone in discouraging customer personal interaction – Insurance Brokers once occupied many buildings in South Mall and Oliver Plunkett Street had so many Travel Agents. The ESB and the Gas Company had their own large public area for customer payments and queries.
Now we are encouraged to use the internet or else listen through automated options on a telephone. This can be beneficial at times but should it be the only option?
There are even self-service taps in pubs so one does not have to talk to the barman.
It is not always the businesses who are promoting online transactions. We as customers will browse through a shop and then see if it can be purchased cheaper online – not the safest method of ensuring that the business stays open and trading; and the city continues to live as a commercial centre.
Are we becoming a society that does not wish to converse – somewhat ironic that this thought is being communicated through the internet.
Is conversation likely to go the way of the record shop and travel agency?
I do not like the vision of such a society.
Welcome to Brave New Cork.