The woman in Tesco today: "Have you got a Clubcard?"
Me: "No, love, I'm sorry. I think I've lost it."
"Ha, listen to me! I sounded like a computer just then didn't I? Ha ha. Have you got a clubcard? Oh dear. Listen to me eh?"
"It's like those self service machines down there isn't it?"
"Yeah, I'm turning into one of them luv, it's all automatic now."
"I hate those machines, they're sinister. I don't like using them. I like human conversation."
"I'll tell you what, those machines over there are good though. You see them, down that side? They're new. What you do is you pour all your cash into it. In change. Then it gives you a little bit of paper saying how much change you had and you can pay with that. It'd be good for a bloke like yourself that wouldn't it?"
"Yeah, it would. I often have change. Mmm. That's interesting. I'll have a look at them thanks."
The conversation resonates in my mind as I drive away. How profound a statement, "I feel like one of those machines". That really is the way things are going. We're turning ourselves into machines. Not because of some big f#cking conspiracy or anything but actually because we prefer it. Human experiences are awkward and uncomfortable, machines, binary code and numbers are a lot easier. I've mentioned before how much it f#cks me up that people will queue in preference for the self service 'tills. In preference to a human! Madness. Total madness. It tells us something very profound about humanity, in my opinion. It really bugs me as I'm driving home.
Then I get to thinking; I've heard recently that some of the bigger supermarkets are actually giving cashiers script prompts for their banter with customers. The idea is that they engage you in a conversation and then sell you on a new "special offer" or whatever. I can't say for certain but I get the feeling that might have been why she suddenly started talking about the change machine to me. It's new in the place, they want people to use it. Why not make them promote it in conversation? Or am I just being paranoid?
The fact that's possible though, that she might have had that conversation with me because it's part of a script written for her by someone else is unsettling. Conversational spam. Corporate bullsh#t interrupting normal human interactions.
My head hurts.