Are we doing just a bit too much online?

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while but it kept slipping off my radar. On Saturday, whilst at the local Tesco, it popped up in my head again as I spotted a lengthy queue at the lottery counter. There’s still a fair amount of people who, despite the fact that they’re carrying around a very expensive smartphone, still choose to do things the “old way”.

Some older ways of doing things have almost died off. Writing a cheque, for an example, was something I only every did for my milkman each week. Now even he uses direct debit. Likewise, the mobile mechanic who repaired my bike had a PayPal card machine to take my payment as I stood on my doorstep. Also, the nice cashier at the bank has now mostly been replaced by a set of machines around the country. I can’t even remember the last time I was inside my local bank.

But at the local Tesco, on a Saturday afternoon, people still choose to stand and wait in a very long queue for their lottery tickets. Now, whilst I understand that some of these people may be needing a real “paper” ticket for their own peace of mind, the National Lottery App is a much faster and easier way of doing the same transaction. Even if you’ve got a lottery syndicate at work, you can set up an account and fire the collective funds across in seconds. Heck, you can even do it on your smartphone as you walk past that long line of people waiting for the machine.

Some may still want to check the results against the update on the evening news, but you can do that online too, checking either the National Lottery or the Euromillions lottery results with the phone in your pocket. It takes seconds.

You can do so much more on your smartphone now. My wife buys the majority of her clothes online, we shop online, we buy those lottery tickets, check the bank, update online gas, electric and TV accounts – there’s less need to actually go out and do these things any longer. However, for those of us who do so much on smartphones, I guess this is why people always tell me that they “don’t have the time” to do things any more. In a way, when those things pop up in your head, you can action them immediately and then move onto other things – but the continual up-sell and availability of online stores means that you actually spend much longer doing those “little things” even if you no longer have to drive all the way to the local city to browse 20 different shops. You instead spend hours in front of your phone, checking the latest clothing without moving an inch.

Perhaps the people in the lottery queue do have the right idea. They’re chatting, they’re laughing and they’re probably going to have a coffee in the coffee shop after. They’ll talk with each other and interact.