Cell Phones Equal Convenience, but do They Ever Really Equal Connection?

Writer Katie Kohler argues that instant gratification isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.


"I want it now, Daddy!” —Veruca Salt

She may be the brattiest movie character of all time—a spoiled snob whose demands never end. Still, I can’t help feeling a bit like Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’s Veruca Salt every time I place a mobile order:

“I want it now … And I don’t want to interact with anyone!”

Despite so many places imploring me to go mobile, there are just three spots where I’ve actually taken advantage of the feature. It is tempting—getting to cut in line and park in those designated spots where they run your order out to you. I’m still waiting for the offer where an Oompa Loompa preps and delivers my order.

Not that we’ve completely abandoned our thirst for a human connection. There are still the networking happy hours, coffee dates with fellow moms, and pop-up beer gardens. But make no mistake: Convenience is key, even when it involves real-life interaction.

A few weeks ago, an after-work Wegmans run made me “hangry” in the extreme, thanks to the hordes of Instacart workers hogging the aisles. But then I happened upon a cheery cheese peddler.

“Would you like to try some Manchego?”

Of course I would.

And I bought that Manchego, instead of my usual cheddar or provolone. Nibbling on a sample, I pondered it’s nutty goodness as I fantasized about what it might be like to go straight home after work and find my whole wheel of Manchego and other groceries waiting for me in the kitchen—or, better yet, a prepared meal laid out on my dining room table.

It’s worth noting that Veruca Salt spent quite a bit of time inside the Chocolate Factory before her untimely, if well-deserved, demise. So while the cell phone may be one golden ticket to connection and convenience, it can’t equal the rush of simply stepping outside—or inside. Nothing beats a few hours in Target, after all.

Veruca may have got what she wanted right away, but it never really made her happy. 

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