Information Overload


Sales shopping in town? Not a major attraction for me normally, but this January I happen to have a clear and present need for clothes which fit (for good reasons) and so I entered the fray.

I’m not too bad with queues though. It’s a good chance to read a novel or indulge in unrestrained guilt free social media communication. But even in my phlegmatic calm, I became aware in one shop today of the inordinate length of time it was taking for each person to pay at the till.

It wasn’t online problems either. It was simply the length of time it took to conduct the personal interrogation of each customer prior to payment.

I listened with increasing impatience and fascination as everyone ahead of me delivered up email addresses, names and postal addresses. Naturally it took for ever for this information to all be entered.

When it got to my turn, and the first question for me was could they have my email address please, I smiled politely and said no. The world didn’t collapse around me, and the transaction took the more normal course of just handing over a card.

It reminded me of an argument I got into a few months ago in a nice restaurant in Manchester when on arrival at an empty place, with no reservation, they wanted all my details. I refused. They said it was ‘policy’, and I couldn’t eat there unless I provided the details. I demanded to see the manager and after a further silly debate with him, they agreed to allow me in without feeding my address into the system.

What is the world coming to? Isn’t it enough to drive you nuts? Or is it me?


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