Over the Christmas holiday I rented a movie from Redbox for the first time. In case you’re not familiar with it, Redbox is literally a red box filled with videos. You choose your selection using a touch screen, pay a modest fee and your DVD is expelled from the kiosk. The only human hands that touch the transaction are yours. Therefore, as the user, it is incumbent upon you to figure out what to do.
I didn’t encounter any problems until I attempted to return the DVD. Standing before the kiosk, I tried to shove my used movie back into the slot from which it came. The red box wouldn’t accept it and after multiple attempts I realized that I must be doing something wrong. I asked the person nearest to me, who looked about my age, if he could help, but he didn’t have a clue. My next actions were my defining moment – the period in which I crossed over to the mother side. (If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.)
Two young women were leaving the store. Equating youth to knowledge, I thought they could help. As I started speaking to them, I heard my mother’s voice spew from my mouth: “Girls, could you help me?” They looked at each other with knowing looks – “I can’t believe she called us girls and doesn’t know how to return a movie.” Without saying a word, they activated the screen, touched return, and told me to place the movie in the slot – which it now willingly accepted.
I left the store in shock. Not only did I call two young women “girls” but I had to ask for help in operating technology. I was no longer the helper, I had become the helpee. Worse than that, I had become my mother.
My New Year’s resolution, my mission, is to seek out and conquer new technology – to boldly go where I haven’t gone before. With any luck, if I need assistance, there’ll be helpful girls nearby.
Happy New Year and may the farce be with you!