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Personal shoppers

To the editor:

Whilst taking my geezer walk at Walmart the other day, I encountered a young employee fixated on his handheld Walmart electronic thingy while he diligently pulled items off the shelves presumably filling the order of a customer who would later retrieve their collected booty under the canopy out in the Wallyworld parking lot. In an attempt to engage this industrious lad, I mused, “I’ll bet the last thing you want to do on your day off is to go shopping, eh?” Lost in his work or, more likely, not at all amused by my lame attempt at commiseration, he simply chose to ignore me. I really don’t blame him.

It’s ironic that Walmart finds it feasible to employ personal shoppers to schlep my accumulated grocery order through the snow while I sit all snuggly in my warm SUV, but doesn’t seem nearly as concerned about my well-being as I’m pumping my own gas in a blowing snowstorm. Such are the contradictions of the ever-changing “gag” economy.

We Americans live in very different worlds from one another. To the restaurant server who couldn’t afford her own car to get to and from work, that beat-up old Neil’s taxicab summoned by a simple phone call was a godsend.

At the risk of eliciting a round of “OK Boomer” catcalls, I wonder how many app makers and internet titans realize or care about how difficult it has become for seniors to navigate the online healthcare/health insurance morass without access to and extensive experience with a personal computer. Having trouble navigating an ambiguous website? Suck it up, grandma or hit the boneyard. Work it out!

I wonder what all the truck drivers will do when trucks drive themselves, and only occasionally hit some runner or bicyclist? It’s not just the working class that will be impacted. I read recently that artificial intelligence machines can now read certain critical mammogram images more reliably than radiologists. Time to get a bicycle, Doc?

I guess we asked for all of this. I don’t remember asking for it, but I guess we did. Best economy ever? That’s what I hear. Record unemployment? That’s the story I see on cable news. I realize that we live in a “bubble” up here (thank goodness), but I’m having trouble seeing the tangible impact of this booming “gig” economy on real people, in general. I’m thankful there are still some family owned and operated businesses that look at you rather than through you and ask how you’re doing, and actually mean it.