One of my dad’s first jobs growing up in Southey, Sask., was to pick rocks.
Yes, that was a thing back then.
Farmers hired Rick, my uncle Jerry, and all their Li’l Rascal pals to kick through the dirt every summer flipping stones into a wagon (or whatever it was).
This was the times before rock-picking tractors, which I now realize is the equivalent of Artificial Intelligence robot machines replacing human labour, but I digress.
This seems unimaginable to me now. I had my share of hard jobs growing up — busboy, paperboy, stock boy (never pool boy, sadly) — but I never had to stoop in the unrelenting July sun rooting through Prairie dirt to quarantine quartz.
It was then my dad learned to eat like a death-row inmate. As part of the lucrative rock-picking trade, the farmer’s family would feed the boys lunch.
Every day at noon, the dinner bell would ring (maybe it was a giant, iron triangle), and every day the boys would come running.
Whatever was put in front of them, they’d eat.
Dad said he never liked peas as a kid until a bowl of hot, buttery green peas landed in front of him.
He ate every damn one of them, and to this day can be found using peas in place of his Cheerios when he’s feeling nostalgic (or when the Riders beat the Red Blacks).
It’s what I thought of this week when the generation gap between us widened slightly.
I took to Facebook on Sunday to vent about an experience grocery shopping.
My wife and I are frequent users of online grocery shopping, where we select our items from the website, shop up a few hours later, and someone brings them to our car.
OK, I get it, it’s the ultimate suburban, parental privilege. But, darn it, when something goes wrong it’s still really damn disappointing.
I had spent an hour filling out a $250 order consisting of several dozen items.
Six minutes before I was able to pick it up, the store called to tell me their computers had crashed and my order wouldn’t be ready.
“Could you please go online and reschedule?” the apologetic woman on the other end of the phone said.
“Sure, stuff happens,” I replied.
But by the time I was back online to reschedule the order, the store had cancelled it on the other end.
It was gone; zapped into oblivion.
Back on the phone I went to ask questions of the store in question.
The only way forward was to redo the entire thing and spend another hour wasting my time.
I didn’t swear at the customer service person. There was no ranting, or raving, just a simple request that management understand what an inconvenience it was to my family of five, especially a few short hours before I’d be making three little girls lunches on a Monday morning.
My Facebook friends were split, some sympathizing and others -- like my dad -- telling me to grow a pair.
“Tell me if I have this right,” said my dad, whose told my girls to call him Grumpy. “You are impressed that you haven’t thrown a fit because someone is offering to shop for all your groceries; you are paying them nothing to do this; but you have to give them the list twice. If ever there were a cause for rage, this must be it.”
Now, he needs to get his facts straight. I’m the journalist in the family, I know all about facts. He’s just the uber successful math genius.
I pay these people $5, thank you, not to mention the exorbitant markups they charge on things like… peas. But that’s not the point, either, is it?
Wait, is there a point to all this?
Oh, right, I remember: if you’re going to advertise a service, and you can’t honour that promise, why do it at all?
Coresight Research in the U.S. expects 70 per cent of Americans will use online grocery shopping by 2022.
It’s a market worth $20 billion.
Those adorable millenials use it most often, with 60 per cent of them shopping for food online this year already.
You and I will be bombarded by retailers encouraging us to shop for food online.
It won’t go away, and one day my children will look at me, wide-eyed, when I tell them of the times we shopped for food ourselves.
You know, before the AI robot machines did it all for us.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.