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WARD'S WORLD: 'I'm mystified by screens and apps'

In this wonderful and super - but open to debate on the wonderful bit - electronic or digital age we currently live in, I still find some of the antics associated with it being rather borderline in various aspects.

Another side to the current ongoing Coronavirus situation has also seen a surge in the sales of see-through plastic sheeting that now encase staff on shop checkouts and tills just about everywhere.

The best effort for silliness has to be the checkout I came across recently as the plastic sheeting went from floor to nearly ceiling height, on both sides of the till as in both the left and right sides.

Columnist John Ward (42406496)
Columnist John Ward (42406496)

Strangely nothing in front where the cashier was exposed to all the supposed elements, who wore no mask, gloves or anything considered to be protective.

I inquired about this as she said her boss was ‘looking into it and he might get a bit for the front but it might mean cutting a hole in it so I can still take money through it, but he doesn’t want to spoil a whole sheet as he wants to use it in his greenhouse when the virus thing is all over and done’

Now that’s what I call ‘forward planning’.

Recently another little adventure and thought provoking moment occurred.

I was going into a well-known supermarket while a member of their staff at the entrance was dishing out leaflets to customers entering regarding the downloading of their store’s app, but while I took a leaflet, I may or may not take advantage of it later although prefer not to seems the favourite option.

There seems to a be a ‘big push’ of late as assorted other such businesses are also attempting to basically persuade the public to download their respective app with offers of wondrous things to come.

A lady of a ‘certain age’ was a little way in front of me or to be fair I nearly tripped over her as she suddenly just stood there looking at the same leaflet - really mystified at it.

I apologised for nearly knocking her over and during this encounter she looked at me as she asked if I knew what it all meant.

I explained I also had been given one but when I get a few minutes I might bother with it, but it was this that triggered the following situation.

‘We must you know - as money is being done away with’ she said as it seems that the lady giving them out had told her that by using the app on her mobile device or phone it would give her wonderful offers etc. plus ‘cash saving experiences and much more’ (?!).

No doubt this would also encompass, an extra dip of your ice-cream cornet in the ‘hundreds and thousands’ tub or a stick of chocolate pushed in said cornet instead of the ‘hundreds and thousands’ as an alternative.

The lady here though was slightly upset - or confused - as the leaflet lady had told her that having the said app would also enable her to pay for her shopping at the checkout with her banking app much quicker (very much open to debate once again).

Also she was told, or rather it was inferred, that cash ‘was being done away with soon you know’ which might come as a surprise to a lot of people but perhaps more so to the printers who produce the stuff.

I would call this blatant scaremongering or at the very least a classic example of lack of staff training.

She said did not own - or want - a mobile telephone or ‘device’ in any shape or form as she had got through so much in her life so far unaided without the need for one plus the expense and upkeep of it such as the multitudes of differing contracts and so on.

She was not ‘into all that internet stuff’ either as it seems to her that ‘too many people get to know too much about other people and that’s not right’

I held back about how much ‘they’ (in theory) will learn once an app is downloaded such as shopping habits and possibly inside leg measurement or shoe size.

She asked me if it was because she was elderly that she had been ‘picked on’ but I explained it’s an across the board thing as anybody with purse or wallet was a possible target regardless of age it seems in recent times and liable to get worse, not better.

In simple words it’s quite possible that the elderly are indeed targets in a sense as the process seems to be one of ABA or ‘Alienated by Age’

‘It almost seems we get to a certain age and we just become targets for getting money out of us anyway they can.’

I suggested as an example if the fictional ‘ET’ character, as featured in the film of the same name, was to appear at the front of the store he too would more than likely would get a leaflet thrust at him.

She said that food shopping used to be, and still is, a slog but not a new fangled ‘experience’ that many places now use as an expression to ‘jazz it up a bit’ and try to encourage us to spend more.

She also explained that she had stockpiled toilet rolls, in a small way, a few months ago as a ‘just in case situation as you can’t tell from one minute to the next what this Boris bloke will think up to baffle us with’.

She confided that her friend Hilda still had over ‘two dozen toilet rolls well hidden up in her attic in case anybody official (?!) goes round to check up on people who might be hoarding any you know’.

However she herself still had just the four rolls ‘in reserve’ she added that would do for her and her husband.

I agreed that the Coronavirus situation had done absolute wonders for the toilet roll industry this year and possibly never to be eclipsed for some time but mainly all due to hoarders in general.

So far I am disappointed that no toilet roll manufacturer has announced the issue of a special limited edition or collectors boxed set but with Christmas not far off.

However in saying that, it may well happen as we may be surprised in the weeks to come as this could be that little ‘stocking filler’ that will truly make someone’s Christmas that bit special.

Although her friend Hilda perhaps won’t be affected.

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