There’s a common practice in fast food and coffee chains where you place your order on an app and then either pick it up at the counter or have some random stranger deliver it to you. It seems super convenient and eliminates waiting for someone to prepare your order. In a way it probably feels like cutting in line in that you’re the hot shot who ordered ahead and simply need to pick up your order on the fly, or have that random stranger drop it right at the door. No human contact required. No small talk. No uncomfortable wait amongst the crowd. Grab and go!
When I see that counter full of anonymous cups and bags lined up neatly I view it for what it is: the lost opportunity for two humans to interact in a world increasingly ruled by convenience and disengagement. No wonder it’s so easy to demonize people with different world views–if we don’t ever talk to them they can’t possibly be otherwise just like us. Is it any shock that the only way young people can meet others now is through an app?
Not for me. Even if I’m the only sucker who stands there to place an order, I’ll take the eye contact and interaction. I’ll take the clarifying questions, the banter, the brief spark of life between two humans before we both move on with our busy lives. Call me the lone hold-out if you’d like, but I prefer to think of it as being a bridge between the isolated and the engaged. Bringing people together, one order at a time.