A few days ago, I was brainstorming a scene for my upcoming novel. It involved a character who disappeared after returning from a business trip. The character’s last known location was at a convenience store where he purchased gas for his car. That’s the last time anyone sees him.
Okay, nothing unusual about this (except for the part about his disappearance.) A person drives to a convenience store, pulls up to a pump, swipes his credit or debit card, pumps the gas, and then gets into their car and drives away.
Except the event happened in 1991. So, I had to ask myself, “What would we have done in then? Were debit cards in use at that time? Did we pay at the pump or were we required to pay inside?”
Technology has changed the way we live, the way we conduct business, and the way we interact with others. I can’t remember the last time I went inside the convenience store where I most often purchase fuel. I don’t know the name of a single person who works there, and I live in a small town.
When I was a child, my parents bought gas at a full service station. The attendant would come to the car, pump the gas, clean the windshield, and check the oil. He knew his customers by name and they knew him. There was always conversation, even if sometimes it was only about the weather.
Today I shop online, pay for gas at the pump, and the only time I ever go inside the bank is when I need to access our safety deposit box. My husband and I have our paychecks direct deposited. On occasion, if we receive a check in the mail, we can mobile deposit it by taking a photo with our smart phone.
I love modern conveniences and twenty-first century technology. I enjoy interacting on social media. Being able to “Google” when I have a question and receive an immediate answer beats the days of searching through countless reference books at a library.
Yet there are days when I miss those simpler times. I wonder if we are losing the personal touch. Even sometimes the ability to communicate one-on-one.
What do you think? Have we sacrificed personal communication for convenience? Do you think that as we connect more through social media that we have become more disconnected?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.