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Dispatches from the Digital Revolution

“Excuse me, sir, my menu doesn’t work,” or, when high-tech overshoots the mark

The iPad menu at Temazcal Tequila Cantina

Source: Claire Ivett

Sometimes I like our high-tech world, and other times I feel like we’re making unnecessary improvements. You know what they say: If it ain’t broke, don’t replace it with an iPad.

Case in point: A friend and I met for snacks and cocteles at a trendy restaurant in Boston’s seaport area last Friday. What should have been a simple task—ordering a delicious beverage to accompany chips and dip—quickly devolved into an over-technical task.

Upon our arrival, we were presented with iPads instead of printed menus. Now, it might be kind of fun to browse the menu like a web page rather than page through a printed one, but it just seemed like a waste of someone’s money (probably mine, at the end of the day—twelve bucks for three skinny little flautas? Come onnnn). As friends will do, we chatted instead of exploring the menus at first. Mine quickly went to sleep, and when I attempted to wake it up, I was prompted to enter the password.

I’d been locked out of the drinks list.

The waiter eventually arrived with a replacement. (And I will just say, for some reason, someone else’s fingerprints and guacamole smears are about three times more repulsive on a tablet screen than on a paper menu.) And diners don’t even order on the tablets; a waiter still takes the order and brings the food.

No Back to the Future 2 80s diner here. (Yet.)

I’m all for high-tech solutions to everyday problems. But sometimes, you just can’t beat paper. It doesn’t use any energy, is quickly replaceable, and can pull off food stains with aplomb.

Sometimes I see the future and can only sigh.

One comment on ““Excuse me, sir, my menu doesn’t work,” or, when high-tech overshoots the mark

  1. kosieeloff
    July 13, 2012

    You’d think that tablets that are meant for usage by multiple patrons throughout the day wouldn’t be password locked. Of course, the lock might be for security reasons – in which case, the tablet shouldn’t enter sleep mode so quickly.

    There’s no point using technology if you don’t understand the context / needs / goals related to its usage.

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This entry was posted on July 12, 2012 by in Opinion and tagged , , .

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