Monday, 3 September 2012
This morning as I got off the bus I could hear the church clock striking 9.30. Too late for any of my usual morning mood-setter, not even the pater noster.
The reason the entire grumbling, stressed, disgruntled bus-load was late was that the bus company, in its wisdom, has installed a time-saver machine which will read bus passes at a glance, thus doing away with the need for tickets. Only those (on my usual bus about two) people who have to pay for their tickets will need a ticket in future.
As is so often the case with the introduction of new time-saving technology, the process took about four times the normal length of time.
Apparently the machine was devised as a national not a local initiative and nationally, bus passes/concessionary cards of any type are not valid until after 9.30 am. In Buckinghamshire they are valid from 9.00am. So when offered a card the machine rejected it as invalid.
After the first 10 or so passengers had 'enjoyed' the explanation from the driver and then about 10 minutes late he took to waving passengers on board with resigned expression and a "don't bother with your pass, the machine is not working".
Our payment cards (debit or credit) used in stores and shops are supposed to save time, though often a weary "the computer is slow today" will accompany the process.
Twice a year we indulge in the particularly British folly of 'putting the clocks forward or back' in order to save yet more time.
Recently I tried my first-ever shop on line, a terribly involved process which took around half an hour to complete, even with the help of a neighbour. Since I pass other grocery stores every day and only have to pop in and buy a couple of items which takes about five minutes, I won't be repeating the on-line experiment.
Even if all the gadgets which are supposed to save us time actually did so, what I wonder, are we supposed to do with all that spare time?
Personally I would prefer fewer hours in the day, then time would not hang so heavy on my hands.
My wristwatch by the way, is never changed for British Summertime, and is therefore right for exactly half a year, after which it leaps forward an hour for some odd reason.
Still, I know it will be right again in 6 month's time.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 4:35:00 pm