ARE YOU BEING SERVED?

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Stanley
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ARE YOU BEING SERVED?

Post by Stanley » 18 Aug 2017, 06:46

ARE YOU BEING SERVED?


One of the most worrying things to me about the way the world is heading these days is the way meaningful jobs paying a living wage evaporate even though the politicians tell us how things are improving and unemployment is low. My theory is that many of these jobs have been destroyed by us. Every time we use a cash machine, fill our own tank at the garage, buy a quart of milk at the supermarket or pick up a newspaper at the check-out we are short-circuiting what used to be a chain of service whereby another human being did these tasks for us. There are many more examples of course, work them out for yourselves and don't forget online shopping.
Individually these are small changes but collectively they allow the removal of a whole layer of expensive labour which is of course the object of the exercise. I mentioned this to my daughter in Earby and she tells me that she used to shop in a supermarket where she had a small scanner and checked out her own groceries as she took them off the shelves. All she had to do at the check-out was pay the amount on the scanner and then go off to bag her trolley load. This meant a faster throughput, less check-out personnel and bigger profits for the company. I’ll leave you to think about that one but I have the feeling that the ultimate goal could be the day when we unload the wagons at the back of the store and help ourselves.
My older readers can think back to the time when you sat down on the chair next to the counter, gave the assistant your list and watched while they scurried round and filled your order, often with free home delivery by a little lad on a big shop bike. Come back Granville, all is forgiven! That was how we used to operate when I was 'open all hours' at Sough but I'm afraid those days have gone. Then there are the effects of automation in industry and the increasing use of robots. Even driving is being automated!
I am convinced that the pace of these changes is accelerating and within ten years these effects will be much greater. My daughter Janet told me four years ago that Big Data and computer power was encouraging businesses like Amazon and Google to entertain ideas of running the world. It may be time to wake up and realise that these are not pipe dreams, they are an ongoing project.
Once upon a time at teatime in Barlick thousands of workers poured out of the mills after a hard day's work. We are assured that our living and working conditions are much better now and when I ask whether this is really the case I am accused of living in the past. That may be true but I was one of them and I was much more secure then than young people are today.

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My mother in the shop at Sough in 1956.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

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