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Phone vs. Net

There are phone people and there are Net people. My wife is a phone person, and I am a Net person.

What I mean is that given the desire to find certain information, my wife will use the telephone while I will turn to Google. The question of which is the most efficient has become a bone of contention between us, and we will argue about it and even race one another.

For example, let's revisit yesterday morning. It was Sunday, about 7:45 AM and we were expecting company later in the day. I also had some important errands to run that would take me away for a few hours. There were things needed at the store, and it looked like I would be squeezed for time to get them on my way back. Question: what time does the grocery store open?

The race was on. I headed for my computer, my wife picked up her cell phone. I suspected that she might have the store store number programmed in, but I felt I could count on her "on-hold" time to beat her. Actually, she didn't have the number, so she had to dig a receipt out of her pocketbook to get it. I won that hands down: before she even started dialing I told her that the store was open at 8:00 AM. Score 1 for the Net.

So, unshaven, barely dressed and with disheveled hair, I headed for the store. The list was short: milk, strawberry sherbert, and some Asiago cheese bread she had sampled there a few days back. Simple enough.

My wife and I have different shopping methods. I first look for hard to find and unrefrigerated, and pick up the "must be kept cold" stuff last. That just makes sense to me: why have milk or ice cream sitting in the cart while I try to find something odd? My wife doesn't see the point, but then she does tend to find things more quickly than I do. She cheats, I think. She asks people.

Yes, I am a man We don't ask directions, and we don't like to ask for help in stores. That's probably why I don't want to use the phone to find out when the store opens: that's very similar to asking, and that's an unpleasant activity.

However, I haven't stayed married thirty nine years by being a total idiot. I knew where the milk would be, and was pretty sure I could find sherbert, but the Aiago cheese bread was not on the bakery shelves. I'm not so dumb that I'd go home easily without it, so I asked the woman who was stocking the shelves with fresh bread.

She'd never heard of it. Well, on second thought, yes, they used to make that, but had discontinued it long ago. But my wife said she had samples here? She shook her head doubtfully. Good enough for me. I picked up the other items and headed for the car. As I drove out of the parking lot, I called my wife to tell her about the missing bread.

A moment later I was back in the parking lot. My wife was adamant: they must have the bread because she had sampled it just days previously. Who had I asked? Did this person even work in bakery? Maybe she was new? Did I ask a manager? Arrghh.. the milk and sherbert are going to get warm.. but I'll go ask again.

As I walked toward the bakery I could see that a young man was on the phone. I could tell by his body language and expressions that he was talking to my wife and he looked at me and recognized that I must belong to the woman he was talking to. He was shaking his head: they had no Asiago cheese bread, hadn't had it for years. She must be mistaken. He hung up, we waved pleasantly at one another and I headed back to my car. I called my wife, but she didn't answer. A few minutes later, as I was driving, she called me. Turns out it was a different supermarket she had sampled at. She called them, but as it happened, they had not baked any Asiago today, so I could just come home. She claimed a point for phone over Net, but I can't see how: I don't have a computer in my car, and how would I know what store she was at? Never mind.

I returned home. My meeting would be at a Panera's, and I was pretty sure they had Asiago cheese bread. I could have looked that up on-line, but stupidly I suggested that she call them. That gave her an uncontested phone point - what was I thinking?

It was still early. I showered and shaved and put on better clothes. No rush, plenty of time, oops - we are out of pistachios.

Apparently pistachios would be indispensable at lunch. We buy them in a large bag a BJ's, which would be a little bit out of my way, but if I left a few minutes early it wouldn't be a problem. Ahh, but what time does BJ's open on Sunday? I knew I had her on this one, because BJ's phone service is awful. I lingered at my breakfast while she dug in her purse looking for a receipt. As she pulled it out, I walked slowly to my computer and opened the cover.. she was dialing, I was typing "BJ's" into Google.. the tension builds as the music swells..

"Eight o'clock!" we both shouted. I was about to give her a tie when she added "But that's Stoughton. Taunton is probably the same".

Probably the same? PROBABLY?? Ha! I KNOW it's the same, because I looked it up. I stripped the tie point from her eager hands and anointed myself the winner. Probably the same.. nice try!

My wife of course does use the Net for many things and has been known to tell her friends "Just Google it", so she isn't Internet phobic at all. She just believes the telephone is faster for some things. I say it isn't. The battle continues.



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Mon Jul 17 13:57:12 2006: 2265   BigdumbDinosaur


My wife of course does use the Net for many things and has been known to tell her friends "Just Google it", so she isn't Internet phobic at all. She just believes the telephone is faster for some things. I say it isn't. The battle continues.

Hate to say it, Tony, but I'd have to agree with your wife -- most of the time. If I already know the phone number I can punch it in faster than I can type something into a search engine, wait for some responses and then sift through them to find what I want. Assuming a reasonably intelligent person answers my phone call, I can ask him/her my question in an interactive way and get my answer much faster. Also, the key here is "interactive." No search engine can do that.

As for the case of the Asiago cheese bread, I never even heard of such a thing. But Alta Vista and Google have. So I guess that's one point for search engines and zero for the old dinosaur.

My wife and I have different shopping methods. I first look for hard to find and unrefrigerated, and pick up the "must be kept cold" stuff last. That just makes sense to me: why have milk or ice cream sitting in the cart while I try to find something odd?

Ditto here. I get all the "warm stuff" first, followed by produce, milk and eggs, and lastly, frozen stuff. I figure it's bad enough standing in line while the slow-motion checkout clerk chats with her pals. No point in adding to the spoilage time by shopping backwards. However, when possible, I get my wife to handle the shopping. I really can't stand stores and the rudeness that passes for service.



Mon Jul 17 14:19:51 2006: 2266   TonyLawrence

gravatar
"Assuming a reasonably intelligent person.."

Ha. Gotcha. Point and game.



Mon Jul 17 15:44:12 2006: 2268   rbailin


Try as I might, I haven't found an acceptible substitute for the local Yellow Pages directory. The online versions suck, because they're just as helpful as the YP without display advertising. Try finding a local electrician or plumber with a net search. There's just a list of addresses & phone numbers, with no indication of specialties or hours (most small businesses still don't have websites). You still end up making a lot of phone calls.

--Bob

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