Engage with a real human
KiwiBank and NZ Post are squabbling, turning their backs on each other in a huff and shutting down branches in a business break-up that will put people out of work and close down some branches. Internet comments abound, from blaming the Government (any government!) to blaming KiwiBank, suggesting that the New Zealand-owned bank is just as greedy as those “nasty Australian banks”, putting profit before people.
Most of the on-line comments are predictable — with a few well-worded gems thrown in — and the digital crowd is having a field day.
What do you want banks for they ask. All you need is a cyber security blanket and a vocabulary too limited for conversation.
For those people, the only thing required is a smart phone and a library of apps, and you’ll never have to leave the house again. If you do, there’s an app to count how many steps you took, how your heart-rate and blood pressure fared, and where you started and ended up, with grid co-ordinates provided by your personal GPS system. All essential stuff.
Then there are the rest of us — the ones who like human interaction and a face to talk to. We like to smile and be smiled at, to wish someone a good day and to chat about inane stuff.
Usually we know the person we’re talking to (that’s what getting out and about does), so we can talk about jobs, families and mutual friends before getting out of the way for the next person in line.
It’s good for the soul and warms those heart cockles. While many of us do our banking on-line, we also like the opportunity to visit a branch and do business with a real person.
We are the people who avoid the self-checkout machines at the supermarket, knowing full well they are a ploy to reduce staff, increase already obscene profits and frustrate the hell out of the customer.
They are not as efficient as real people (no, they are not!) and their conversation is limited to moronic comments about foreign objects in the bagging area, just after you’ve told them you’re using your own bag.
They refuse to provide the requested receipt and you still have to find a supervisor if you’re buying anything slightly alcoholic (or even alcohol-free beer).
We are the ones who wait in line at a bank to do business with a human, even though there are too few tellers to cope with the growing queue, and when we’re steered towards an indoor ATM, we politely refuse, preferring to wait for the next available space at the counter.
We know how many jobs that machine cost.
We’re odd that way. We are the people who actually leave the house and do things without the aid of a “device” or an “app”.
When we walk we’re looking at where we’re going or enjoying the scenery, not yelling a private conversation into a phone or wandering along in a stooped position peering at a screen.
We’re the ones who hear the birds in the trees and the cars approaching when we prepare to cross the road, because our ears aren’t clogged with plastic buds and our brains not blasted with sound sourced from a distant server.
Apparently we live in a “digital” age and we should move with the times, but why should we be forced to? Who said doing everything on-line is compulsory? And why should those who live in their phones feel smug about it? Are their lives any better?
Bank and Post Office branches are closing because management is saying fewer people are using them, and with fewer branches that will certainly be the case.
But I don’t believe everyone would rather do all their business from home, and I don’t believe those branches are actually less busy.
Profits do come before people and that’s a fact. It’s neither nice nor desirable, but the modern culture of greed demands that money — and lots of it — is way more important than anything else.
To do away with personal interaction — getting rid of buildings and employees — has the apathetic sanction of a generation suckled on the internet. The only opposition is from backward, cyber-illiterate hicks who think in outdated, archaic terms.
The world is evolving away from the human and sucking up to robots and computer code.
That’s not just where the future lies: that’s where many want the present to be.
To complain about the demise of bricks and mortar business is to display an ignorance of modern affairs and a quaint old-fashioned attitude with no place in modern society. To prefer the company of people to a sterile plastic screen is a thing of the past and really, slightly embarrassing.
The ideal is to spend a lot of money on the latest device, keep your eyes on the screen and try not to engage with people.
So, until the satellites collide . . .
‘The only opposition is from backward, cyber-illiterate hicks who think in outdated, terms.’ archaic