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Self Service

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Everything wasn’t bad in the good old days. While it’s certainly true that things are much better today, generally speaking, for everyone who isn’t a white, heterosexual male, there were some things that merit waxing nostalgic about.

Take for example, service stations. Or, as we called them, filling stations. Nowadays, most people buy their gas at pumps located outside a convenience store. But what was really convenient was back when one could just pull in and tell someone else to “fill her up.” You would get your windshield cleaned, your oil and tire pressure checked, and your ashtray emptied. It was called “full service,” and it was worth it.  

And at the grocery store, there were teenage boys (mostly) working part time who would sack your purchases, making sure that the heavier items were double bagged and that your bread was resting on top and not buried (and crushed) under a gallon of milk. After asking if you’d like to carry your eggs, the bag boys would then take the rest of your groceries out to your car, load them in the trunk or back seat, and then you were on your way. Nice.

But these days, that’s all gone. Unless you’re in New Jersey, you pump your own gas. (Good for you, New Jersey.) There’s not much that is more deglamorizing than to see someone pumping gasoline into a Maserati. At the grocery store, you likely will need to bag your own groceries, particularly if you accepted the invitation to check your own self out. And if you go inside a fast food place, you’re likely to be given an empty cup and sent to jerk your own soda, so to speak.

And when we’re not expected to do it ourselves, the human job is being replaced by the internet, the automated phone attendant (press “1” for English), and the ticket selling kiosk outside the movie theater. Think about it. When was the last time you called information or needed to speak to an operator?

It all reminds me of that scene in Dinner at Eight when Jean Harlow laments to Marie Dressler that “machinery is going to take the place of every profession” to which Marie, after giving her the once over, says, “My dear, that’s something you need never worry about.”  Well, not so fast, Marie.

It seems that Houston mayor Sylvester Turner is having to deal with the prospect of a robot sex brothel. And while these “sex dolls” aren’t the old blow-up kind (Lord, there’s just no right language for this), they are apparently equipped to provide vocal responses during the “interaction.” And for someone who doesn’t even like to rent bowling shoes, these 21st Century sex machines being available at the so-called brothels raises a high creepy factor.

So if we’re on the edge of replacing the world’s oldest profession with talking robots, I think it’s time to call this sack it yourself, bag it yourself, pump it yourself society to task. It truly is time to resist.

Which is ironic considering resistance is something you really have to do for yourself.  

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Well, Let Me Say This About That is an interesting twist on current events, as told by Dallas' finest and funniest Craig McCartney.

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