Urban Fathers' Liberation Front

Confused dads working out the city

Bananas and Technology

on July 9, 2013

There will be those of you who will quite strongly believe that I am a Luddite of some principle and I do fear an increasingly pointless existence trying, and failing, to get to grips with the latest gadget, gadget upgrade, app or social media essential.  Perhaps some of this is down to age, perhaps some of it is down to a comfort in midlife existence, but a lot of it is down to an inability to see the point in constant change when all the stuff I’m used to generally does the job I want it too perfectly well.

I have now embraced the iPod (which now appears to be on the wane itself), the iPhone and the iPad (both in formats that could be considered prehistoric already) and have accounts in Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Pinterest and Red Bubble with Hootsuite overseeing the whole kit and caboodle.  I upload my pictures to Flickr, and I manage two websites on behalf of my business and I, so suddenly I don’t look massively behind the times.

However, I did stop listening to the Top 40 and Radio 1 some time ago, enjoying instead the comfortable debate of Radio 4 or Radio 5.  I cannot bring myself to watch reality TV, especially if someone is being chosen for their special talents in order to sell us their stuff on the back of their win.  I can’t see the point of sat navs and Kindles (why sell us hardware for hundreds of pounds when the traditional alternatives are under a fiver?), and the wide spread of social apps is so tedious as to be boring and pointless.  And I still insist on buying CDs and, occasionally, vinyl (but I think that still makes me cool).

I write about this because I was watching Greg Wallace tell us all about the secrets of supermarkets on the Beeb last week.  There was much to be amazed about, not least the quantities in which food has to be processed in order to get it to us on a daily basis; for instance, as a country, we consume 47 million bananas in 3 days.

This banana mania led Greg to Tesco, where he was being told that the staff wear ‘smart badges’ so that, in the event of no bananas going through the till in a five minute period, the till could send a message to the badge and tell its wearer to go and get some more bananas.  I think that the point of this was to make us gasp in awe, think that this innovation was the bees knees and that Tesco really are on the cutting edge of technological advance.

I couldn’t help thinking that if the till has to allow a five minute wait before sending a message to some dweeb that it’s not beeped any bananas lately, that probably means that there have been, or are, shoppers bemoaning the lack of bananas (this given fruit and veg is usually the first thing you come to in a store and that  it takes about 15 minutes, if not more, to get to the till after that  – unless you just want bananas, in which case you’ve already stormed out).  I thought it might be marginally better to have that badge wearing dweeb looking at the fruit and veg once in a while as part of his/her job, and when those bendy, yellow things start to run out, then they go and get some more.  How’s that for an earth shattering advance?

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