Time, especially weekend time, is a non-renewable resource. Since I barely have enough time as it is, I do my best not to squander it. Yesterday we had to visit our local Target—we don’t buy at WalMart because there’s an ethics even to shopping these days. When we got inside it was obvious that a lot of people had the same idea. I’d never seen Target so crowded, and I’ve been in one on a Christmas Eve. We had only a small basket of purchases, so before long we headed for the checkout and saw an enormous line. Not being afraid of tech, we went toward the self-checkout and found that line long as well. Long and not moving.
Soon it became clear that all the registers were down. Store employees were handing out free bottled water and snacks, like airports used to do with cancelled flights. We were in for a good long wait. When we finally reached the register, which had started to come back online, the manager was helping those trying self-checkout. Since the system was still not really functioning, you could check out one item at a time—after several tries, each time requiring the manager to enter his pass-code—and pay for it and restart the process for the next item. We asked about the outage. He said it was global, all Target stores were down. “You’ll have a story to tell,” he said. My mind was actually going toward technology and its limitations. How much we rely on it. Without tech this blog would not be. A lot of famous people would be unknown. How would we find our way from point A to point B? Or look up a phone number?
The internet is beguiling in its ubiquity. We use it almost constantly and it’s always there for us. So we’ve come to believe. In addition to spreading the tissue of lies that is the Trump administration’s agenda of using post-truth as a means of power, it must be supported by a whole host of experts—those 45 routinely dismisses as irrelevant. Clouds were gathering outside, and I had a lawn yet to mow before the day was out. Indeed, my wife and I had intended this to be a quick trip because weekends and sunshine are a rare mix. As we bagged our six items and thanked the manager, we could see the line still snaking the length of the store. Had we more time we might’ve come back another day. Instead, we had briefly fallen victim to something that an old-time punch register might’ve solved. And a time when the pace of life itself was just a bit slower.