20 March 2012

The Voice of the People

Last night I received some information that will change the way I shop forever.

It’s a well known fact that I hate the automated self servicecheckouts at the supermarkets. I realise it’s old fashioned of me, but I’m okay with that. I prefer to have my essential services performed by humans; it adds a social dimension to the otherwise completely menial task of buying food. It’s a chance to make small talk and potentially brighten someone’s day before you take your groceries home.

You just don’t get that anymore with the new machines. You can try as hard as you like, but engaging in mildly flirtatious small talk with a touch screen just comes off looking weird and awkward. Just ask Samantha and she’ll tell you (sort of). And all they ever say is “please take your change” "Please take your items” “Please take your receipt” “No, you can’t buy me a drink later” and “Thank you for shopping with the Fresh Food People”. And it’s always in that voice that’s been synthesized to sound like a human but hasn’t quite got there. It’s like they took the top fifteen most irritating voices of not-quite-humans and blended them into one patronising computer to rule them all.

But all that changed last night. Last night, in one glorious moment of profound revelation, I discovered a forbidden secret.

Did you know you can turn the voice off before you start?

Just like muting the ads during a Friday night movie, or watching Millionaire Hot Seat with the sound off while you boil your dinner (Fish fingers again tonight. Yum) because all you’re really interested in is the trivia answers, or hurling a pewter carving of a Turkish carpet salesman through your television screen every time Michael Slater comes on the cricket (or, for reasons I haven’t quite figured out yet, the Footy Show), now I have the power to banish that god-awful voice from my universe forever! Liberation! Power to the real people! Death to simulated people everywhere! Except you Siri, if you’re reading; please don’t hurt me.

Make of that what you will.




Garry with 2 Rs
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