Machines Or Us

By Joseph J. Mazzella • September 9, 2019

A local grocery store here is remodeling and not a single one of the changes is good for those of us who shop there. The grocery aisles have been rearranged with some going in one direction and others going in another. The aisles have been pushed closer together too making it harder to get through them. All of the items have been moved from their usual spots as well. It seems like all of these changes have been for the purpose of slowing the shoppers down so they will make more impulse buys and give the store bigger profits. As I walked through the store today no one was smiling and everyone was unhappy about it.

The change that bothered me the most, however, was in the check-out aisles. Only a few cashiers were left working with huge sections being converted into self-scanning check-outs. It saddened me to see this. I knew that people were probably going to lose their jobs because of this change. I got in a cashier aisle and patiently waited while I saw some other people struggling to figure out how the self scan machines worked. I vowed at that moment never to use one myself even if I had to wait longer every time I shopped there.

When I finally arrived at the front of the aisle I saw the cashier was someone I knew. I smiled and asked her how her family was doing. She smiled back with a warmth and kindness that touched my soul. We chatted happily while she scanned and bagged up my groceries. I felt a friendship and a connection with her that warmed my heart. I wished her well before I left and said a little prayer to God for her and all the other hard working cashiers there.

Machines can do a lot for us, but there are many things they can't do. They can't smile. They can't love. They can't touch a heart. Only we can do that. Only we can make life worth living. It is time we realize that profits aren't more important than people and machines aren't more important than us. It is time we see that we are here not to conquer the world but to be a part of it. It is time we learn that Loving God, each other, and this world is what life is all about.

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