Archive | January, 2011

2011: My Year Without Facebook

12 Jan

I used to be the kind of person who was always very successful in peer-pressuring individuals to get Facebook accounts. “Come on,” I would say, “how do you expect to even be connected with your friends without one?” Due to having friends in other countries and others states, I always found Facebook to be a very convenient way to connect with all of my friends. After much, thought, however I am starting to believe that the costs outweigh the benefits. So, while this post deviates from my usual retail ramblings, I feel that posting this on Retail Robot may help others who are looking for new year’s resolutions or ways to improve their lives.

Thanks to social media and technology constantly at our fingertips, the way that people socialize has completely changed. Now, it seems, even the most outgoing individuals have succumbed to the new, more introverted persona of modern day technology. One could even argue that Facebook has made being antisocial more popular than ever before. Instead of calling a friend on the phone and hearing their voice, we text, write on their wall, “poke” them, tweet them, ping them, Google chat them, Skype them…all these crazy names and applications for something that we were all born to naturally do as human beings–communicate! Sadly, however, our lives all seem to be so busy and so consumed with ways to make more money that we have to find other ways to substitute being a good friend.

I have decided, in 2011, to run an experiment to see just how much Facebook affects my social life. My guess is that it will not change it at all because the people who I am truly close with have my phone number and usually make contact with me outside of Facebook quite often.  Those kinds of people are the ones that matter anyway! I will admit, though, that Facebook is very addicting, so I will be limiting my access to Facebook and then, hopefully, eliminating all access altogether. I will only allow myself to check my Facebook once a month for six months, and then after six months I will not go on it at all.

I have been contemplating this change for a while. It all started when I realized that one of my ex-roommates commented and “liked” every little thing that I liked. If I liked yoga on my page, she would go and add it too. If someone left a message or video on my wall, she would find a way to comment on it and even try talking with the other person. In addition, the amount of updates she made a week was just, well, embarrassing. The icing on the cake, however, was that she would always post on my wall about how she wanted to hang out, but whenever I would invite her out, she always had a way of isolating herself—either by being with her boyfriend, or being at home. I realized that I did not want to become one of those people that really have no social life but try to compensate for it through interacting on Facebook. It makes all of us look desperate for attention that we really don’t need. What we need, instead, is to draw attention to ourselves.

I used to always feel so smart. I have been a bookworm all of my life, I’ve always enjoyed learning new things, especially about other cultures. I realized that all of the time that I have spent of Facebook could have been spent doing things that could actually benefit me. The amount of time I spent on Facebook each day, once taken away, would probably be equivalent to reading five chapters of my book each day. The amount of time I spend comparing myself to others and making myself feel inadequate could be replaced with time spent getting homework  and studying done so that I could actually find time in my day to relax for once, or even write on here more.

Basically, when you think about it, Facebook is a waste of time. The friends you truly need will find other ways to contact you, and the ones you don’t need won’t. No one needs to see pictures of your ultrasounds, your engagement rings, your new puppy…why do we make ourselves all so vulnerable for only a few minutes of happiness? It just doesn’t seem right. I want to live in a world where I can focus on bettering myself, spending time with the friends that matter most to me, and enjoying the real world–a world that is slowly disintegrating because all we can seem to do is destroy it through our greediness.

I made my Facebook almost “unstalkable” today: I hid all of my tagged photos, my place of employment, and even my relationship status. I left an update explaining that I would not be on a lot and that people should find other ways of contacting me…this post was “liked” by five different people within a matter of an hour. I bet those five people won’t delete their accounts, though! It’s a hard thing to do and it certainly is going to make communicating a bit more difficult for me. But I’d rather take this year to become a better person and to not get caught up and depressed about all of the stupid things we would never know if social media did not exist.

So! Please feel free to join me. Also, if you have gone this far and are still rolling your eyes at me, consider this video that a friend showed me (who also deleted her account yesterday):

Conversations My Customers Should Avoid

5 Jan
gingerbread house

Where the lunch lady lives!

Working in retail has always allowed me to indulge in two of my guiltiest pleasures: eavesdropping and people-watching. Actually, I was trying to find a single word that would describe that, and as always Urban Dictionary came to the rescue with “earhustling”…couldn’t have said it better myself. I am a naturally curious person, and I’m constantly on the lookout for people who are so crazy, messed up, or so unlucky that they make my life look amazing. Let’s take, for example, a regular at my store who I will call Lunch Lady. No, she doesn’t walk around with an endless supply of cold cuts at her disposal along with jewish rye bread and mayo and, no, she isn’t even a lunch lady at a school. But to me, she kind of looks like a lunch lady that would be in the movie Matilda: stocky, hair with a bad dye-job pulled back into a greasy slick, constantly hunched over with a look on her face that is a mix of anger and disillusionment.

Lunch Lady ranks pretty high on the list of the craziest customers I have seen. She usually comes into our store to buy wine, which I have to triple-bag because she rides her bike. On the days when she is actually shopping for other things, she goes to the extreme and buys the most random assortment of items all at one time. A few days ago, for example, she called me and asked me to set aside five gingerbread house kits. She was freaking out about them and told me to keep a close eye on them because other customers might try to take them away. Right she is! Gingerbread houses are always in high demand. I instantly got a mental image of her drunk on the two bottles of cheap wine she always gets and attempting to glue together a gingerbread house, and I laughed quite a bit.

Before Lunch Lady came to buy her various goods, I noticed her pick up her phone and a look of sheer terror appeared on her face as she screamed “Stop calling me!” and hung up. She then proceeded to scream “Why won’t they leave me alone!?!” and started arguing/talking to herself. She ran out of the door and started yelling more. Then, a few minutes later, she came back in and acted as if nothing had happened. Maybe she is planning to build a giant gingerbread house for herself so that she can hide inside it and escape the people that are after her?

But there are customers who, well, make me feel less normal and glamorous. I hate them because it seems as if they are able to look directly into my mind and pick out exactly what is bothering me, and then bring it up. In one week, I had two customers touch on the tenderest of topics for me (and for many others, I’m sure) as of late: love and a career. One customer was an older man, and I’m sure he was trying to be nice, but he looked at me and said “What, no ring?” and I said “Hah! Married? Me? I’m only 21!” and he just looked at me and said “Well I am surprised a girl like you isn’t married yet. But you still have some time.” Another old man came up to me and asked if I was in school, and I told him what university I went to and how I am graduating after this semester, and he asked if I knew what I wanted to do with my marketing degree. I always stay really positive when people ask me this, so I said “No, not really! I am open for just about anything!” and he said, “Well, you should really try to pinpoint it and do something that you love.” Huh.

I do admit that sometimes I take what people say too seriously, but really? Why bring up such annoying topics? Next time someone mentions love or work, I am going to flip. In terms of career, I have no idea what I want to do because all I ever do is work, go to school, or study and any time I have left over is used to relax, and thinking about what I want to do for a career just makes me have mini panic attacks. And with love, well, let’s just say that my male friends have already labeled me a “mindfuck”: I dress like a prep, I sound like a prep, but I also play video games, am a closet nerd, and lack many typical girly stereotypes such as collecting obscene amounts of shoes, gossiping, and constantly being caught in a whirlwind of ridiculous drama. Try finding love and a career in the midst of all that!

Sad to say, but I miss the days when all customers wouldn’t mention such personal topics and would instead inform me  about how they just asked the pharmacist how to get rid of a huge, leaking boil on their back or asking me if there is a difference between “chunk” and “chunk light” tuna.

%d bloggers like this: