After a tough afternoon of dominating the beach volleyball courts on North Campus, a couple of friends and I decided to head over to Bear Necessities in RPC and grab some food like we used to in the good old days when we were freshmen. I figure i’ll have the usual turkey sub (with no tomatoes) and a Gatorade. Not a difficult order right? Wrong!
Long ago when I was a freshman there were mini sheets that were used to order what you want. Today, I am standing in what i guess you would call a restaurant and I have to swipe my ID and order through a computer. It took me 15 minutes just to figure out how to order and pay for the thing, and then another 10 trying to complete the order with no tomatoes. Of course, I did not get the sub I wanted and I used up 25 minutes of my life which I will never get back. Since when did computers start appearing in public eating venues? Technology does make our live much easier but at what point do we say enough is enough?
In today’s world it is not uncommon to see computers everywhere, whether it is a classroom, a household, even outside in some areas of campus. Cornell’s dining facilities are not any different. Although i personally think this computerized process is useless other than the fact it saves paper, the idea of literally touching a screen a few times and a sandwich is handed to you over the counter does not seem that outrageous. When did this become normal? I like the satisfaction of actually ordering to a person so I know it is correct but it seems as though that is a thing of the past.
When this issue is actually examined, from an architectural standpoint, this computer ordering process makes sense. First of all, Robert Purcell Community Center is a fairly new building and has a very modern look to it. There are other computers in the building and most importantly, Cornell dining does charge people most through ID numbers. The set up of the area for ordering can accommodate the computers and multiple people have room to order at once. Other than the brutal software in the computer that is difficult to use, the whole concept actually works.
This also changes the social aspect of the dining scene. Social interaction drops right down to zero now that you have the ability to order electronically. People’s social skills are bad enough as it is. Now, as these simple changes creep into our daily lives I think it is safe to say that people’s communication skills will only get worse over time. Technology is typically used to connect people and this is the one scenario where it has the opposite effect.
It seems to me that having a computerized system to order food in a dining hall, such as Bear Necessities is pretty much pointless. The old system worked and was just as quick as the new. The only advantage I can see is that it saves a little bit of paper. But on the other hand, it also takes me an extra few minutes to order. Now that I have taken a moment to scrutinize this small change on Cornell’s campus, I find myself asking the question that although technology does make our live much easier but at what point do we say enough is enough?