Do I desperately need same-day delivery of Rembrandt toothpaste? Will the living room immediately stink to high heaven if my order of Nest Fragrances Reed Diffusers arrives in two days rather than one?
Amazon just announced that it will soon have one-day delivery for its U.S. Prime members on most items. “It’s a smart change, but one that is increasingly necessary,” a spokesman said.
I’m not so sure. Many smart changes have already eased our lives. Global Entry expedites clearance back into the United States after a grueling plane ride from Singapore or Paris. I photograph a check and deposit it into my Bank of America account, all the while sipping a Nespresso and still wearing my white terry bathrobe. Microwaves speed up cooking Stouffer’s lasagna, iPhones let me dictate messages rather than type, and E-Z Pass lanes on I-95 are a godsend. These timesavers have merit.
Daughter Lisa logs onto her Instacart account to arrange for deliveries from Costco, Whole Foods, Petco, Total Wine, and Publix. She uses an IMDb app to identify the name of a movie. Rather than drive to the mall, she orders “lots of shoes” from Zappos, tries them on at home, and returns the rejects by mail. These conveniences I understand.
Sister Robin appreciates the availability and speed of a Geek Squad at her local Best Buy. “There are no lines, no attitude, and I can access them in person a couple of times a day if I need or want to. Plus, there are always little hangover glitches that I don’t understand on my Mac which would necessitate a trip back to the Apple store which is miles away. This way I avoid traffic, time and angst.” This makes sense.
But some time-saving conveniences don’t please everyone. Brother Robert eschews the “bag your own” self-checkout machines at his local Safeway. “I prefer to keep jobs available for humans by waiting in line to buy groceries,” he says. (I avoid them because I have yet to finalize a transaction without the store manager racing to my rescue. Plus I like copping a free read of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY when I’m in a long line.)
My friends swear by her but do I honestly need Alexa, the virtual assistant developed by Amazon. Is it so onerously time-consuming for me to walk all the way to my kitchen window, look at the LLBean thermometer, and learn it’s 40 degrees outside? How can I clock 10,000 steps on my FitBit if I’m sitting in a chair jawing with Alexa?
I do appreciate not having to locate a dictionary when reading on my Kindle. If I come to a word — “bespoke” — that I can’t define, I press my finger on the word and SHAZAM! The definition pops up before my eyes: “made for a particular customer or user.” That’s cool.
And yes: SHAZAM. That’s another time-saving app that immediately identifies music, movies, advertising, and television shows, based on a short sample played by using the microphone on the device. Lisa uses it but I often wonder why. What’s so wrong with scratching your head and digging deep into the grey matter to finally recall (YES!) the song Archie and Edith sang at the beginning of “All in the Family?”
Question: What are we going to do with all this time we’ve saved? Question again: Do I really need one-day delivery of my toothpaste?
As I watch sand filter down to the bottom of the hourglass, I’m trying to savor every moment. Faster? Faster? No. Step on the brake and let’s slow things down.