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File Extensions Robert Sheridan bobsheridan I have a very strong aversion to buying anything over the Web.

I have taught myself sales-resistance anyway, but especially over the Web.

I like to go into stores and deal with humans.

I like to ask questions, and get answers. You can usually tell pretty easily whether the person talking to you is a clerk, an order taker, a salesperson, a helpful human being, or a waste of time.

Years ago, when they introduced B.A.R.T. (the Bay Area Rapid Transit) (read "da Subway") out here, they eliminated the need for token sellers (you know those gray looking people who sold you the NYC subway tokens; they lived underground, it seemed?) by installing automatic fare machines into the walls.

All you had to do was to walk up to the wall, insert some money (never the proper amount) press a few buttons, retrieve your card, which had your credit electronically coded on the magnetic strip, then walk over to the fare machine, insert the card, and hope you got it back and the gate opened.

That, of course, is like saying all you have to do is to press a few of the right buttons and this rocket will go to the moon.

Ever try cursing out a machine for taking your money and giving you nothing in return?

It ain't worth it.

Those nice gray token sellers who lived underground were nice people. Never got rattled. Gave you the right change. Told you if you were in the wrong subway. Gave you directions. They made the N.Y. Subway a lot friendlier place. They also represented security if you were standing alone down there. There was a sentient being keeping an eye on the place.

We're still in the Dark Ages in a lot of things, and certainly in the CyberWorld.

Hell, we're still hanging people who ask for it.

A thousand years from now, will we still be hanging people?

Damnrightwewillbe! People and cockroaches have been around a long time, doing the same old sh*t. Step on 'em both.

Talking about sentient beings in preference to machines, when I worked for the NYC Parks Department, I noticed that also working for the department were a number of people who weren't blessed with all the advantages. They stood, or sat, by a gate all day. Opened it in the morning, closed it when evening came. Or operated an elevator. Or were handed a broom and told to stand there. Some were a little retarded, some were handicapped in one way or another and virtually unemployable any other way.

No one ever explained it, but here's what I figure was going on. The person had a family. Someone in the family went to school with the guy who became Borough President, or head of the Water Department, or was high up in the cops, or the Sanitation.

Do you think you could get my relative, here, onto the city payroll doing anything? He can stay awake.

A phone call was made.

The relative got the job.

He stayed at that job for the next 25 years when he got pensioned off, if he didn't get hit crossing the street.

The gate got kept, the vestibule swept, and the elevator operated.

Now we're automated.

God knows what happens to those people today.

But yesterday they were taken care of to some extent.

I just thought I'd mention that the more advanced we get, the further back we sometimes seem to go.


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