The Machines Take Over, But Everything Gets Slower
One of the great myths of capitalist society is the suggestion that labour saving devices are always beneficial, or even that they always save time.
Yesterday I had the dubious honour of paying a cheque into my bank. I queued up at the counter rather than using the paying in machine, as I prefer to deal with human beings, and I also wanted to clarify how long the cheque would take clear.
Astonishingly my cheque won't clear fully until Thursday 4th June - a full six days. How can it be, in these days of automation and super fast computers, a bank can take six days (including four working days) to clear a cheque? Oddly enough none of the cheques I write seem to take six days to clear? Clearly the banks would rather charge interest on any overdraft than process cheques promptly.
A second surprise followed. Although the teller would answer my question, she was not supposed to take my cheque. Obviously not - why interact with a customer, passing the time of day, when you could send them to a machine where they can press buttons instead?