“I want a pogo stick!”
“And a portable popcorn maker!”
“I have only one thing to say,” Daddy answered. “Is it on the list?
from Daddy’s Back-to-School Shopping Adventure
by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
illustrated by Abby Carter
I’m pretty gullible. When I read Science Fiction, I “suspend my disbelief” and buy-in (so-to-speak) to the author’s premise usually by about page 6. So, when Amazon announced it is buying Whole Foods, my mind went straight to the future where I'll buy everything in one place--on-line. I'm not sure convenience is worth the price. Imagine: I’ll only have to think of something, and it will appear on some digital or virtual list I make up as I move through my day, ready for me to click on or speak to, or scan a credit card or phone app and voila! It’s mine! Next day, or sooner, drone delivery appears on my doorstep or back porch or where ever I designated. Now, that’s a little scary! What if I need to return something? Like maybe the peaches are too hard or too soft.
Do-it-yourself check out, I hear, is moving forward at the speed of light. In some test markets, all you have to do is scan the barcode of an item with your phone app and the purchase is made—straight to your credit or debit card. No clunky conveyor belt. No fancy cash registers. No cash. No cashier! Well, when someone figures out how to get all that stuff I bought into and out of my car and onto my kitchen shelves and into the refrigerator. . .
My mom was a child of the Great Depression. We had enough food stocked on our basement shelves and freezer to last for probably six weeks. When we’d get down to about 5 cans of mushroom soup and 5 cans of tomato soup, a couple of boxes of macaroni and cheese, and 3 packages of frozen mixed vegetables, it was time to go shopping. My mom liked to grocery shop. She always had a list. She always used coupons and she always paid in cash. She stacked her items neatly in the cart, which she always called her wagon.
Sometimes I got to drive the wagon. Sometimes I got to help find stuff on the shelves. I always got to help put everything away.
There is no end to the items we must shop for. Clothes, food, light bulbs. Many people use Amazon. I've been known, on occasion, to buy something that's not a book. I even have an accidental Prime! membership.
Where are the people in this production model? The farmers, the makers of every stripe, the store stockers.
And what if I have a question?
When it comes to choosing shoes or peaches or underwear, I like to see and touch and smell, (well, not the underwear) what I’m buying, before I pay a cashier with cash.