So yesterday I went into something called a “Video Rental Store.” It must be some new concept the whiz kids in Hollywood are trying out. Instead of a reddish box there are people, and instead of waiting for my slow Internet to buffer, I just drive there and come back. It’s crazy! I’m not sure if it will really work.
Of course the main issue isn’t usually time and convenience as much as it is price.
This whole movie rental business has changed so dramatically in just a couple years, all the name brands I’ve grown up with have practically disappeared, or are on their way out. There really is no choice, you can either change your whole business structure or retire to Florida and rent VHS to the elderly.
This “Rental Store” that I went to was not only renting at a dollar, but a dollar for five nights. Beat that you Matrix robots! It really is quite the deal.
So I went into the local rental store and it occurred to me how long it’s been since I’ve ventured into one. It’s amazing. DVDs were lined up everywhere like a library for video entertainment junkies, the employees talked and discussed movies and to top it all off they gave me free popcorn.
As I walked out with a DVD in one hand and popcorn in the other, I looked across the street and saw a Redbox by the grocery store and I couldn’t help but get that strange feeling that those 60’s and 70’s sci-fi short stories about robots taking over the earth and replacing humans in their daily jobs is starting to come true. I thought about those self-check out lanes in some stores (which I love) and other random kiosks that are making everything convenient but at the same time dehumanizing the way we humans live.
Today I went to the bank to withdrawal some cash to pay a bill and when I went and saw the line of 4 people, I went back outside and used the ATM and left without speaking to anybody. Most people love this stuff, but I’m starting to wonder if:
- Machines are starting to replace humans in a drastically fast rate. And if so, how should I prepare? Other than watching (or renting) The Matrix.
- Human interaction is lost with each new kiosk placed, and if so, how much?
- If I got rid of Facebook, how I’d actually have to call my friends.
I don’t really hate Netflix and I’m not a Redbox protestor; I will probably still use it from time to time, regardless of if you have to stand and wait for someone to make their pick, and they have to read every movie description and they can’t figure out which side to slide their card, and they don’t remember their zip code and their email; all while waiting in the cold Idaho winter weather (I’m sure its coming).
I think these businesses offer an amazing service that was created at the right time and hugely benefits all who use it. I’m just starting to wonder what I’m missing out on from bypassing people for convenience.