Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

May 20, 2009

The Implications are Stunning

I check out customers a lot in my current job, and just about every fifth person cannot figure out how to work the credit-card machine. It baffles me because it is just not that complicated. I try to be patient, though. The thing that really gets on my nerves, however, is what they invariably say after pushing random buttons for a while. "All of these things are different. They ought to standardize them!"

It's amazing how many philosophical implications you can fit in a statement that short. Look at just "All these things are different." Well, yes they are, they're all made by different companies FOR different companies and it would actually be illegal for them to copy each other too closely--patent infringement, you know. Phrasing this statement as a complaint is like declaring that you have no desire to pay attention or think at all, you prefer to operate strictly from habit without ever once having to engage the gray matter.

And who is this mysterious "they" that ought to be standardizing credit-card machines? The companies that make and use the machines actually have an interest in being different. It's hard enough to distinguish one big-box store from another these days, and every little bit helps. Is it the government that they're talking about? They'd really prefer that the government dictate what kind of *credit card machines* get used? Of course, the government probably already *does* this, to an extent, but how much freedom are you looking to give up here?

Do you seriously never want to be confronted by anything you haven't seen before a thousand times? What a way to live!! Even thinking about it makes me feel ill.

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