Whenever I am in the drive-through lane and have to unbuckle my seat belt to retrieve my wallet, an insistent computer voice repeats “Please fasten seat belt” until I comply. (What, they don’t use definite articles in the computer world?)
When I am in the self check-out lane at our neighborhood Kroger, an annoying computer voice instructs me to “place item in the bagging area” — and it does it every time I scan an item and don’t instantly hurl it into a bag. This computer voice is not only bossy, it also apparently thinks I’m such an idiot that I can’t remember a simple instruction throughout the check-out process, so it needs to remind me again and again and again. I find myself speeding up the scanning and bagging process in hopes of avoiding that irritating voice. (Hey, do you suppose that’s why they have the computer voice in the first place?)
It seems like everywhere we go we hear those aggravating, soulless mechanical voices telling us what to do and badgering us until we do their bidding. I object not only to the dead-sounding voices, but also to the fact that the computer voices are always bugging us rather than encouraging us. Why not have a voice, sounding like the Bill Murray lounge singer from Saturday Night Live, that says “Looking good!” every time you get in the car, start the ignition and look in the rear view mirror? Why not have the car say “Great driving today!” when you get to your destination and put the car in park? Why not have the Kroger voice say “Way to go with the healthy eating!” when you drag the salad fixings across the scanner or “Hey, that looks good!” when you scan that frozen pizza?
We’re destined to hear hectoring computer voices for the rest of our lives. I’d be more willing to put up with them if they paid me a compliment once in a while.