Sandwich Shop Observations

In stealth mode at a sandwich shop, I’m observing people during lunch hour. The music playing is too loud to eavesdrop on conversations. In my opinion, technology is slowly replacing person-to-person connection with person-to-electronic-device connection.

Observing a table of four young professionals, a woman talks to others about her father. Working people at lunch, the gentlemen wear ties, the women wear fancy sandals exposing shellacked toes. They listen to their friend, without the distraction of personal electronic devices.

But wait, other people sit alone, partially shielded by laptops or other electronic devices, making connections to something through the free wifi in the shop. More people are talking to devices than talking to people.

I observe people wearing “earpieces” for instant connection to something. Why is it that some people need to wear earpieces to connect? Waiting for a call from a child or spouse is important.

A gentleman wearing an earpiece rustles through a volume of papers in a stack of file folders. I didn’t observe him talking into his earpiece, not once.  He finishes his lunch, taking his food tray to a trash receptacle. Returning to the high-backed booth, he begins talking to the earpiece.

Should we consider how computers, earpieces, smart phones, tablets and high-back booths become barriers to personal contact? As I observe people using electronic devices in a sandwich shop, I notice they aren’t conversing with people at their table but conversing with, “artificial intelligents.”

Is personal contact becoming replaced by smartphones, social media, and texting? What is happening to “Eye”-Touch? Is it time to take a break from the “pods, pads, tablets, phones, and social media apps,” to connect to people instead of electronic device screens?

What do you think?