Briones: Sticking to the ‘old ways’

Briones: Sticking to the ‘old ways’
SunStar Briones

I still prefer to pay my bills the old-fashioned way.

That means I physically go to the payment center and wait in line. Patiently.

Yes, I sometimes complain about the inconvenience, often sharing my exasperation with the person seated next to me. But it’s all part of the ritual.

I run errands. Then I complain about how long these take.

And no, I don’t live in the Middle Ages. I am quite aware of online transactions.

Let your fingers do the walking, as they say. Which, by the way, reminds me of the Yellow Pages’ old slogan back when I was a kid.

This time around all you need is a smartphone.

I know there are many advantages if I availed myself of this not-so-latest technological innovation.

First, there’s the convenience. No cash or checks are involved. Payments can be done anytime, even in the middle of the night. No need to worry about beating the clock. Holidays? There is no such thing under the current system.

This next bit I lifted straight out of the internet because even though I understand it —sort of— I find it hard to explain in words since I am not a practitioner.

“Online payments use encryption and secure servers to protect sensitive financial information from fraud and identity theft. Payment gateways ensure that card details are securely passed between the customer, merchant and payment processor.”

Sounds good but hardly useful when buying half a kilo of red onions from your suki at the Carbon Public Market.

Then there’s the savings bit. Because you do end up saving money if you no longer have to make that trip to the bank or wherever it is you are paying. You save on gas, on fare, on that side trip to your favorite fast-food joint, etc., etc.

They also say it’s quick and easy.

Maybe this applies to payments only but it doesn’t necessarily hold true when ordering food online.

Of course, the current generation – What are they called now? Generation Alpha? – can probably run rings around me on such matters.

I have to admit I am a bit envious at their seemingly symbiotic relationship with technology. In my case, technology was thrust upon me.

I remember back in high school, computer science was offered as an elective. Yours truly opted for typewriting. Until now, I average around 70 words per minute; not bad for someone whose finger joints ache during successive dreary days.

How is this relevant, you might ask? It isn’t. Not every one of my generation is a Luddite. In fact, I may be an exception to the rule.

So why do I insist on sticking to the old ways?

Well, I’m a creature of habit. I’m dead set on holding on to what is familiar. And I love to interact with my fellow human beings. Really, I do.

You don’t get to joke around with an App, no matter how funny you might think your joke is. And striking up conversations with strangers is definitely out of the question. Who else would you complain about the weather or the affairs of the city to?

I have made so many friends over the counter over the years. Wait, that didn’t sound right. But you know what I mean? Of course, I probably don’t remember more than half of their names or even recognize their faces. But still, we connected. We were being part of a living community. We were socializing.

But the biggest factor I am techno-fearful, and for me this is the most important thing -- is you can’t release your pent-up emotions over lousy service or hidden charges at a smartphone or a laptop.

I mean, you can but then it’s not the same. Trust me. I’ve tried. More than a couple of times. And all it got me were stares and shaking heads.

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