We went to a local department store this weekend. It is like a rabbit warren. Many areas, with stairs up and down, going from one department to another and before you know it you have no idea where you are and how you ended up in the wool department! You know at some point you will come across an exit eventually. I can only imagine what it must be like for children.
The thing with this department store is the lack of technology. Now this isn’t something we noticed until we ordered some curtains and the lady joked ‘let me look up my computer for the size’. Really it was a notebook with lots of handwritten, highlighted and underlined details of stock and ordering details of various curtains. We didn’t think anything of it as I paid by card.
We then purchased a light in another department and it was only then I realised the old fashioned cash register, there was no barcode scanner just a punch button till. There was no computer in sight, but there were plenty of notebooks. I overheard someone asking if they had a website and the answer was yes but it was for information only as they didn’t do online shopping. That puzzled me. Think of the reach they could have, the convivence for many people who perhaps had mobility issues or lived far away.
But I didn’t give it much thought. We then went to a supermarket with it’s technology laden checkouts and returned home.
Once home I did think about the reason why the department store perhaps didn’t bring themselves in line with 21st Century.
- It is a family run store for over 40 years, it’s a local store which generations have been shopping in. They want to keep it that way.
- It’s great for the local high street, as soon as they move online, they would lose foot traffic from the younger generations in particular. This would threaten the stability of the store. They are essentially future proofing it.
- People love going there, you can make a day out of it, they have a cafe, a Christmas section and many many other departments. You could easily buy all your gifts for the whole year in that store.
- I’m not a fan of shopping and happily online shop to make it easier for me, but to go to a store and be able to get so many things under one roof is fantastic. So many products under one roof. They are like Amazon in that respect.
- If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
- The amount of work and money involved to change a store that size to be driven by technology would be incredible.
We are so accepting of technology and expect to see it everywhere, then when we don’t we are shocked. But perhaps that says more about us than it does about where we are.
We all know how we feel when we forget out phone, or our laptops don’t work or there is an IT issue in the office. Being disconnected in a connected world is such a struggle that we really don’t know how to function.
Have we lost the ability to function without technology?
By contrast, I was at a careers fair at a university this week. The number of students taking photos of our banners which had our company and contact details on was incredible and perfectly normal. We accept it and expect it. Only a few people asked for my name and wrote it down, most students happily entered their contact details into our tablet.
My challenge to you this week, is to try and spend 30-60 minutes doing something that doesn’t involve any kind of technology. Step away and feel the freedom. So if you want to go for a run, walk or cycle then do so but don’t listen to music or a podcast. Instead focus truly on what you are doing. Perhaps you want to read, grab a book and sit and read, don’t use a kindle or listen to the book, instead feel the pages as you turn them. Who doesn’t love to hold a book!
Perhaps we see these as simple pleasures, something to be enjoyed occasionally, but not to be done too often as we may forget how we live in the 21st century and we don’t want to be left behind!
Enjoy engaging with technology free environments, spend time away from everything connected and just be in that moment. How does it make you feel? Do you feel less stressed or pressured? Or do you feel you are missing out?
When you are out and about this week, notice anywhere you go that doesn’t use technology. Ask yourself does it need it? We use technology to help us, but what happens when it goes wrong? Quite often it leaves us paralysed, we don’t know what to do.
Sometimes the older ways of doing something despite being slower, is perhaps the best?
Have a great week. Notice the technology everywhere and feel the freedom from it when you can.
Look after you. Love Emma xxx