An app too far?

It is now easier than ever to pick up an Apple product -- you don't even need a salesperson or a cash register!

Tess Vigeland: Technology has made it incredibly easy for us to buy stuff. We have credit cards. We have bar codes.
We have online shopping -- just click the mouse and poof! Your merchandise is on its way. But retailers are always looking for ways to make it even easier to part you from your money.

Commentator Lore Sjoberg fears for all of us as that happens.


Lore Sjoberg: Apple has a new use for your exquisitely engineered handheld status symbol: You go into an Apple Store. Pull up the Apple Store app on your iPhone. Scan the bar code for any item that kidnaps your fancy and then you pick up the item and walk out. You have just purchased that item.

This is dangerous.

I, personally, am not great with money. The more speed bumps there are between me and a completely unnecessary purchase, the better. And let's be honest, nothing in an Apple Store is within 50 miles of necessary. If civilization collapsed, the Apple Store would make The Sharper Image look like an army surplus outlet.

And civilization will collapse, because I am not alone in my financial negligence. And I have even less credit card debt than the average American. My purchasing decision-making may be abysmal, but at least I'm not buying my kids $200 sneakers. Then again, I don't have kids, another canny financial decision.

But this isn't about me. This is about the fact that being able to buy something by taking a picture of it is going to break the back of the American will to thrift.

We're hitting a new apex of ephemerality in our currency. No longer do we have to hand over goats, gold, paper bills or even a credit card with a picture of our family on it in order to get our "Beats By Dr. Dre" headphones. We just have to snap a picture of a bar code. It's like the old superstition about cameras, except that it's the taker and not the subject of these photos that takes a hit in the soul department.

Mark my words. In fact, memorize my words, because when the coasts are in flames, you're not going to be able to Google me. This is the beginning of the end. A new age of ignorance and suffering awaits us all, and our lovely glowing devices will mock us darkly as they pile up in useless monuments to folly and denial.

I'd go into more detail, but I have to go see if my local Apple Store has the new iPad in stock.


Vigeland: Lore Sjoberg is a columnist for Wired.com.

About the author

Lore Sjoberg is a columnist for Wired.com.

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