“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Not being a fan of self-checkout in stores is just one more thing, I suppose, that puts me further and further behind on the technology curve. Part of my dislike stems from having always been a “late-adopter” of technology, thus being a bit slow and lazy about learning it. Except out of necessity, technology has never been one of my great interests. But there is another reason I resist self-checkout, and that is I happen to enjoy interactions with fellow human beings. So, it is not unusual to find me waiting in a long line to be checked out by a human, rather than using the more efficient self-service lanes.
In the late 1980’s when the technology revolution was rapidly gaining momentum, there was hardly an industry or profession whose workforce did not fear its potential impact. Plain and simple, the fear was that our livelihoods were in jeopardy of being replaced or reduced by technology. That was when the president of our company at the time, in an appeal to calm such fears, said something I’ve never forgotten. “There will never cease to be a need,” he said, “for the advice and counsel of a fellow human being.” Meaning, while the delivery methods for our services may change, the need for them never will.
Now admittedly, I personally am an extravert by its truest definition, that is one who is energized by being around people. But it doesn’t matter really whether we are extraverted on introverted, we are all designed for the purpose of companionship, not isolation, for intimacy, and not loneliness. Nor are we here on this earth to serve only ourselves, but to serve God and others. Simply put, people need people, always have and always will.
Does that mean self-service will disappear, and checkout clerks are going to make a comeback? I wouldn’t count on it; which means people like me are going to have to accept it and adapt to using it. But one thing will never change, and that is that “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up.” That is the way we are created, and technology will never change that fact. For as my old boss once said, there will never cease to be a need for the advice and counsel – and companionship – of fellow human beings.