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Death to the DIY society

14 2 2
06.01.2019

NEW YORK - I admit it: my bias derived from self-interest. I was a bag boy. But that didn’t make me wrong when I reacted to the news that supermarkets would make customers bag their own groceries. This, I told my friends at the time, is the first brick in a road to perdition.

Since the 1970s, corporate efficiency experts have burdened American consumers with a constantly expanding galaxy of tasks that businesses used to perform for them. Craig Lambert calls it “shadow work” — labor imposed on you that you’re not conscious of.

The “do it yourself” (because companies won’t hire workers to do it anymore) movement faced little resistance in a culture that elevates personal responsibility and rugged individualism. Which is how, in less than half a century, we have become accustomed to pumping our own gas and planning our own vacations and scanning our own groceries and running our own cable TV diagnostic tests, forgetting how much easier life was with service station attendants and travel agents and cashiers and technicians who came to your actual house. Not only do we work harder, we earn less due to the disappearance of service personnel jobs from the labor market.

Corporate profits uber alles.

I recently visited a Burger King with touchscreen kiosks where you’re supposed to order your food because God forbid Burger King should fork out $10 an hour to a human being so you can simply tell........

© The Japan Times