Being in the food service industry has introduced me to a different interaction with people.
When I was sitting behind a desk, in a professional environment, I used the computer to type documents, prepare presentations and converse over email. I used the telephone to answer questions, have conversations and get information. I went to meetings to talk and listen to people face-to-face and I actually had real relationships with the people who came into my office to sit down and chat.
Now that I am working with the public in a more relaxed, casual environment, I see who is out there and that most people just don't have the desire to have conversations or even look up from their telephones. I don't know how many times I approach a table and greet them with a "Hi, how are you today?" only to get them request a water with lemon without even looking me in the eyes. They are too busy texting or playing games on their phones. In fact, I waited on one table that consisted of a mother, father and two tweens and every single one of them was playing on their phone at the table. Come on!!!!
What is this world coming to when we can't even use our voices or have meaningful conversations with someone anymore? We rely so much on technology and I only imagine it getting worse in the future. Don't get me wrong, I love technology and use it on a daily basis. It does seem that the younger generation (pre-teens, teens, young adults) are not the only culprits, many people in their 40's are teaching this kind of social trend.
I must say, lots of other servers don't like to wait on the "older generation" but I really love it. These are the people who are grandparents and great grandparents. They have been around in a world without all of the social media and probably have no desire to ever learn about it. They have real talks and real stories that they will share with you whenever they feel like it. They genuinely care when they await your response to "How are you today?"
I had a conversation with my daughter about social media recently and how kids her age are using it to express all of their feelings to the world instead of talking to their parents, writing poetry or even calling up a friend (as I did when I was her age). If teens have a problem with someones actions, they take to the Internet or texting to express their feelings instead of going straight to the person and just talking things out. This leads to so much confusion and many more people's involvement. I guess I can't limit this behaviour to just teens, I know plenty of marriages that have unfolded over the Internet and Facebook. It's put right out there for all of us to be a part of and to react to.
One of the biggest problems I see (and there are many) is that when you rely on written word to get your point across, there is no reflection to hear and no guarantee all of your words will be taken the way that you mean them. Texts can get lost, sarcasm can be detected (or not detected) and cap locks can accidentally be used when we are not even upset. Why not just pick up the phone or go hang out and talk things through?
Okay, I am done venting and I am going to step off of my soap box.