Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rules and common sense!

The other day I went a local electronics store. As I was checking out, the cashier, who was a polite young man, asked me few questions.
"Can I have your name sir?"
I gave him my name.
"Can I have your address sir?"
I did that too.
"Can I have your date of birth sir?"
I was getting a little annoyed now. "What's the next question? My favorite color?!"
The young man got a little flustered. "We just like to know our customers very well, sir," he replied.
"I think I really feel very close to you already with the info I gave you," I smiled, taking the sting out of my words.
He smiled nervously. "May I ask you one last one question, sir?"
"Sure. Go ahead, I know you are just doing your job," I said.
"Would you like to buy warranty for the product you are planning to buy today?"
I couldn't help smiling as I held up the "product" I was planning to buy -- A pack of AAA batteries!

The young man that day was just doing his job, as trained by his superiors. But don't you think that the corporate culture in our society sometimes takes this "Doing my job" & "Just following rules" too far? Its good to follow rules, but a touch of reality check now & then, is not a bad idea. With the new Airport security rules, a full body pat down for an eighty-year-old grandma from Kansas can definitely be modified with a pinch of common sense thrown in.

With all the rules, regulations, stipulations and impersonal computers, common sense will die a slow death if not used commonly. Common sense is seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.

"Common sense and sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing!" ~ William James

P.S.--Here's wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving!!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Of 'smart' people, and their 'smarter' phones....

This is a familiar scenario at many get togethers I happen to be at ---- There's a discussion on some topic, followed by a mild argument about certain facts & figures. And in a flash, everyone whips out their smart phones and starts tapping wildly to prove their side of the argument. And then somebody will say "Got it!" a couple of seconds before the others chime in with their "Got its." But the moment belongs to the person who was first as he beams and explains about the latest 'App' he has in his smart phone, and therefore "his smart phone is the best and a couple of seconds faster than all the others in the room!"

This is generally followed by a chorus of protests from other smart phone users present and there follows another discussion about whose phone is faster and better. The logistics always amaze me. People will argue for five minutes about whose phone is faster by 2 seconds!! I haven't seen people talk of their kids as proudly as they do of their smart phones.

And then the other day, I saw two friends discussing about the flashlight on their phones. One of them said, very proudly --"My phone has a flashlight on both sides. One flashes forward and the other flashes back at me."
"Both sides! Wow...!" the other person was suitably impressed.
And I thought to myself --So when is he going to use the light that flashes straight back at him? When he's looking for himself?

These days smart phones are a national obsession. Don't get me wrong. Smart phones are a great innovation and eventually all our connectivity to the world of information and entertainment is going to be through these hand held devices. But I think a lot of people take their infatuation too far. Some folks are more connected to their gadgets than to their partners!
Favorite Techno-geek line ---

"Some things Man was never meant to know. For everything else, there's Google!"