I recently came across this list of Ten Things That Will Disappear In Our (or our children’s) Lifetime! Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. I’m not sure if I agree with all of these statements, but let’s examine the first five now.
First is a statement about the post office – “Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. It is so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.”
Much of this may be true, but I still enjoy getting a letter. Email is fine and the way most people communicate now, but you know it only takes a little extra time for the person to get out stationary and pen, and put their thoughts in writing. OK, the envelope has to be addressed and a stamp put on which costs money and is old fashioned, but it shows a little extra effort. Sadly, the personally written note has nearly disappeared. But it’s really easy and quick to use email. Even faster is instant messenger. I have to admit, I am guilty of enjoying the written note form of communication.
Next we have the disappearance of the check – “Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of them. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office might absolutely go out of business, quicker.”
Think how many checks you used to write at the grocery, when buying something in a store and to pay bills. Now all of these things can be done with a debit card or online, which is faster and more efficient. This statement about the check is probably really accurate.
Then we have the book – “You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages? I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience!”
Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can’t wait to see what happens next, and forget that you’re holding a gadget instead of a book. All that said, I have become quite a fan of the audiobook. I listen now much more than I actually read. Listening to audiobooks keeps me walking. Before I know it, I’m into my second mile and I have to keep going because I don’t know what’s going to happen next in the book.
Ah, the landline telephone – “Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they’ve always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.”
We do still have a landline at our house because it’s a way to be in the directory. If people don’t know your cell number, they can at least reach you on the landline. But then there’s the tiny little directory we have now. The phone book, as it’s called, is smaller and smaller each year because fewer people have landlines.
Then we have the loss of the music Industry – “This is one of the saddest parts of this story. The music industry is dying a slow death. It’s not just because of illegal downloading, but also due to the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. It is said that greed and corruption are the problems. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing.”
I have been told that over 40 percent of music purchased today is “catalogue items,” meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with by older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. Look at all the artists from the ‘70s and ‘80s who are out on tour now.
This is the first five of our discussion. Do you agree they are disappearing? Come back next week and see the final five disappearing items in our world. Some of them might surprise you.
(Melanie Behrens – email@example.com)
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