The Digital Dilemma of the Retiree Group
by Tom Damron
Plano, Texas - 1993 vs. 2013
I was told that I needed a smart-phone so when I was given an iPhone, all I could think about was the 44-year business where I managed some 150 clients and nearly one hundred million dollars of their assets. The remarkable thing is that I was able to do it all without a smart-cell phone that played music, recorded videos, took pictures and communicated with strange names such as Face Book, Twitter, and an acrobat aptly named Tumblr.
After they gave me the phone, I was pressured to sign up, under stress and duress, for Twitter and Face Book so that my son and family could communicate with me in the modern way. That communication also included Face Time which I thought was what we had when we vacationed together each summer.
In addition they convinced me I could easily handle Twitter as it allowed only 140 characters per message. Once I was signed up, I was told I was ready to tweet. That was their opinion, not mine.
That darn phone was beeping constantly, not from my family, but from requests for friendship from strange people that wanted to tell me about their last trip to the bathroom and what they planned to do to their significant others.
They sent pictures in their panties and gave me details of last night's party. I decided that I was being over-informed and can't live with the thoughts of all that strange communication so I gave my cell phone back to my son and I bought myself the phone that matches me--a dumb phone. It rings; I answer and then hang up. No pictures, no music, no friends just a Black Hand phone.
And then, this. A good friend from out of state came for a visit and wouldn't shut up about how great his new GPS was on his trip. It guided him through the cities; it took him to the theme parks, and even told him where the gas stations and restaurants were located.
He took me to Wal*Mart and picked out a GPS for my trips, assuring me I would never get lost again. I reluctantly handed my American Express card to the clerk and took the box home with me. My spouse and I do travel quite a bit so when we headed for San Diego, she insisted that I hook up the GPS. I worked for an hour trying to get it to stick on the dash, the windshield, and even the rear view mirror, all to no avail. So, I stuck it in a cup holder and declared it ready for the trip.
The one thing I discovered quickly was that the irritating lady giving me directions didn't like shortcuts. Every 5 minutes, she would say, "Recalc-u-lating," with an obvious tone of exasperation over my taking a useful shortcut.
I had a notion to write the GPS Company and tell them that she could have been trained to be a little nicer to her owners. I felt that she could barely stomach me the way she sighed and insisted that I obey her. Any way you look at it, one could tell that we got off on the wrong foot and the relationship soured from that point on.
The world is getting just too complex for me. They even mess with my head in the stores where I do my shopping. When I pay for an item, they ask if I want them to e-mail my receipt. They used to ask if I wanted it in the bag, as that was my preferred place for the receipt. I can only assume that is the e mail ploy is a part of the 'Paperwork Reduction Act' that has increased paperwork exponentially.
When I grocery shop, the clerk haughtily asks, "Paper or plastic?" I wait for the moment when they ask me as I, with a great stone face, answer. "Yes!"
Believe me when I say that it's fun to watch them stare at me with a blank look indicating they don't have a clue as to what to do next. I gave them a proper answer to the question they asked so why did that confuse them? It did because they've never been trained to ask a question properly, that's why.
At the coffee shop last week, I was asked if I stilled tweeted with my new phone. I answered, "Nope, but the wife says that I chirp a lot when she nags me to repair something."
There is a conclusion to this story and it is --- We senior citizens don't need additional gadgets. The TV remote, our Pacemakers, and Insulin pumps plus the house alarm system are we seniors need to deal with in retirement!
Wendy: BRAVO TOM! Pretty funny and SO Darn True! Thanks for sharing!!
I must say I am ADDICTED (in the past few months) to my Ipad. I had it for a YEAR before I used it, now I carry it everywhere. I even used the map feature to find pizza and urgent care when in Vegas! Love it, but yes, it did take time, lots of it, getting used to a new way of life with it.. grin!