Unnecessary Customer Interactions

I read that headline on an article coming out in PT May with horror. Yes I understand social distancing and the like, but interacting with customers is what makes us human. We do it every day.

Parking enforcement officers interact with our customers, office staff interact with our customers, garage personnel interact with customers, valets interact with customers. The cancelled Parking Industry Exhibition was all about interacting with customers and how that would make the parking experience better.

Now, we are told, we must do as little of that as possible.

Of course, this ‘unnecessary interaction’ isn’t limited to parking, but it is with everything we do. At the supermarket, at the bodega down the street, at the dry cleaners, as we walk our dogs, at the post office, the goal is to prevent interaction as much as possible. And it’s horrible.

Face masks make it worse. We interact with people by seeing the expressions on their faces and then reacting to them. The masks make that impossible. For those of us with hearing challenges, the masks simply make our lives more difficult. They say that babies learn from looking at faces. Take that line to its natural conclusion.

And what about facial recognition — I’m told that there is a minor problem with the new Apple phones and face masks. They don’t work with them. Technology uses faces too.

I understand that social distancing is important in the short term. We must be safe. But at what cost? I’m not talking about the destruction of our economy, although that is happening before our eyes. I’m talking about the fabric of our society.

Sorry, but interaction is what we do. It is necessary. Without it our lives have no purpose.

We must not forget that.


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