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So much stuff

February 8, 2012

I needed a VERY special greetings card last week. One that I knew couldn’t be found on the shelf at Clinton’s (where I normally go) or my local newsagent (who also does a very nice line in cheaper cards for those I’m not so keen on – but feel obliged to buy for). Remembering an image of a pigeon on a motorbike, I logged onto “” and was able to instantly design the very thing I needed.

As I was doing it, it was instinctive. My business cards were designed online; in fact, anything I’ve needed printed cheap and quick has been done with the same sort of site. It’s there, I used it, it’s cost-effective, I’m happy.

When the card arrived 24 hours later (no extra cost!) it then hit me.. it’s just another thing that wasn’t around when I was a kid, or even in my 20s – yet it’s now taken for granted. That just got me thinking about other daily objects that just didn’t exist but that are almost impossible to do without today. Almost all small stuff, but it fills a blog entry:

The internet, of course. Obvious. I’d be unemployed without that for sure. Essential for work for me –  but if it didn’t exist there would be more ‘service industry’ jobs of the type I’m qualified for around. Can save a life by making information available? So can a first aid manual – and you don’t have to boot that up first. Fun? Yes, but a million other things are too. Verdict: Keep it in the office.

Mobile/ Cell phones. I only got one a very few years ago, after all the phone boxes everywhere I went had been removed. I still don’t have one that does more than just ring and (I think) can send texts. I don’t need to be on it all day, I don’t need to live life as an endless stream of communications.

Oyster Cards: For paying fares on London Underground. Easy to use, no change needed and no getting your ticket stuck in the machine. One worthwhile improvement.

Gym Club Membership: Drive less, eat less, walk more and learn about your local area. Why give Duncan even more cash, really?

3D TV: Any good reason? Same goes for a zillion channels you have to pay for and that pump out rubbish. Nope, I just don’t get this one.

Discount Clothing Stores: Without allowing for inflation, the actual price of clothes now is far less than when I was growing up. It was very odd that a school uniform today (for a child, not the type Mr P is buying for somebody for next week… I’m not saying who or the date as it’d spoil the shock, er, surprise) costs less than when I was a child. A great thing. On the other hand, who is making them and for how much? Fine, if nobody is getting hurt.

“Electronic Whiteboards” in schools. Seen on a few news programmes recently. These produce a collage of bright colours and video to keep the back row interested. We had a dodgy reel of movie film once a week (if the film arrived from the rental place). Learning how to sit still and concentrate on something difficult is vital, and essential from a very young age if you are going to later have the skill to build your IKEA furniture yourself. Dig up Mr Chips.

Cars the size of trucks: If you have the space, Ok, if not, don’t take anybody else’s. That applies when using them as well. Verdict: If you haven’t been taught using an electronic whiteboard, you’ll get what my feeling is on that one.

In fact, I hope this very random entry provides my general drift. Things change almost without noticing, and some changes are great, others baffling. The oddest of all is that with all the “time savings” they are supposed to create, nobody seems to have any… now a time machine, wouldn’t that be great…

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