Friday, 7 January 2011

Not hearing in IKEA

Today is Thankful Friday and I am thankful the week is over.

I am also thankful for the most amazing news I got last night. There I was in IKEA with GBman and the Singing Swede eating meatballs – as you do – when GBman broke the news that he and the SS are engaged!

Hurrah!

Honestly, it couldn’t happen to two nicer people and naturally I was bouncing up and down with excitement at this news.

IKEA is a strange place to hangout on a Thursday night I know, but we all needed bits and bobs and it made sense to go together and support each other through the traumatic one-way system, the shock of realising that all those wonderfully cheap bits and bobs add up to rather more than you were anticipating, and me demanding Swedish translations of every single product I picked up!

IKEA is a deafness minefield though – its warehouse setting makes it very hard to hear anything and the multitude of accents of the staff means that even in the quietest of settings, I still wouldn’t be able to hear what was going on.

For example, in the café last night I wanted meatballs and salad. Somehow I ended up with meatballs and chips and no salad. And when I tried to rectify the situation I had no idea what the man behind the counter was saying. So I ate my chips and meatballs and wondered if this was the best way to be starting my new year diet.

Then, at the till the man asked me something and by that point I just decided to answer yes. No clue what I consented to or confirmed but it seemed the right answer given his raised expectant eyebrows.

Even the poor Singing Swede couldn’t interpret for me and she can hear, so this guy must have been really hard to understand.

It’s no wonder that I gravitate more and more towards the self-service sections in shops now. I don’t mind totting up my own shopping as it means I never miss the ‘Would you like a bag?’ question or answer no repeatedly, when they are actually asking me to insert my pin – I did the former in TopShop once and thought the till lady was going to deck me by the end of it.

At my local Sainsbury’s I can do a whole shop without needing to hear a single thing and even better I can’t even hear the annoying voice that ‘talks’ you through what you should be doing that well either.

Modern technology may be making people more antisocial – less ticket offices, paying at the pump for petrol, vending machines for absolutely everything, credit card hotels – but it is making my life so much easier, and for that I am extremely thankful.

I wonder what it’ll be like in 50 years time though. Maybe we’ll be having online consultations with our GPs, shopping will be done only via computers and IKEA will be staffed by multi-lingual subtitled robots. Come on, the last one would be pretty cool, wouldn’t it?

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