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Please help us, Rosie

Published December 03. 2011 09:01AM

If you're a boomer, you recognize the name Rosie the Robot.

Rosie, of course, worked for George Jetson.

She did housecleaning and all sorts of chores. I suppose she'd be called a maid or domestic. Actually, Rosie may have been an illegal alien, probably from a different country. Maybe from a different planet, too, like Mars. You can't get more alien than Mars.

Rosie was a thoughtful, pleasant robot. I remember watching in amazement at what Rosie could do, and how she took care of the house while George put in a shift at Spacely Sprockets. I couldn't help but think about the future, and wonder if we'd eventually have robot maids, and live in elevated houses and fly to work in small spaceships or bubbles.

Some of those fantasies have come true.

Thanks to electronics, there is now a small, battery-powered household vacuum that automatically runs along floors and picks up dirt and dust.

Our cars can't fly. Not yet. But they're becoming almost human. They remind us if we've left keys in the ignition. The GPS units tell us where to turn and how many miles to our destination.

Ever so slowly we're catching up to George Jetson, daughter Judy, Jane his wife, his boy Elroy, and doggie Astro.

But we're losing something along the way. We're forgetting how to deal with our fellow humans.

And some businesses have lost a sense of customer service. For instance, virtually all companies and utilities have robots or machines to answer the phone. Automation forces us to wade through a menu of options, and sometimes the options don't include the reason we called. The machines then dump us.

Press One for English.

Press Three for a Lost or Stolen Card.

Say New Address or Start New Service.

Sorry, I Didn't Make Out that Last Sentence.

Are You Still There?

Sorry You're Having Trouble.

Call Back Another Time.

Have A Nice Day - CLICK.

They may be necessary for a variety of reasons, but I feel answering machines are the opposite of customer service.

In general, society has become too rushed, and the personal touch is gone.

Did you ever walk up to a cash register and find nobody there to ring up your purchase? You stand there looking around but can't see a soul. That's because many businesses now require cashiers to also stock shelves and do inventory.

Customer service is disappearing.

I was surprised recently when I walked into a fast food joint in an area town. Let's just call it my favorite McRestaurant chain. I like the place because it's cheerful. Let's face it, there's too much sadness in the world and so any establishment that uses a clown as a spokesman is a place I want to be. But the eatery now greets guests with an unfriendly sign that reads: "No Loitering. You have 30 minutes to eat your food."

What? The McRestaurant chain now wants customers to gulp down their McFood and make a quick McExit?

I guess they're trying to funnel eaters in and out like a Henry Ford assembly line.

Maybe it serves as proof that Earth has finally caught up to the Jetsons, with emphasis on speed, efficiency and production. It's all about automation. Robots rule. At some places, human customers are treated as an annoyance.

If that's the case, even Rosie the Robot wouldn't like it. She'd say "that does not compute."

Rosie could probably help me find a friendly restaurant on Mars.

Problem is, on Mars I'd be an illegal alien. You just can't win.

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