I was filling up the tank, self-serve, $3.35 a gallon. (A “good” price at that moment.)
I barely noticed 10 inch screen at the top of the pump. Out of the corner of my eye, I registered a message about the lethal dangers of texting behind the wheel. Then there was an “Entertainment Tonight” -type teaser about a movie I don’t want to see, Mario Lopez thanked me for watching, and a screensaver appeared with information about the station’s hours and services.
Eek. I had watched four minutes of PumpTV without even realizing it.
There are screens flickering in cabs and elevators, in airports and at supermarket checkout counters. Entertainment is not the point; sales and pacification are the name of the game.
If you’re watching a screen, maybe you’ll be less angry about the four-hour flight delay. If there‘s cheery music, soothing commentary, and pretty pictures, maybe you’ll give in and buy the chocolate bar from the rack by the register. (You want it — you know you do.)
Last time I was called for jury duty, I brought a book with me, hoping to turn the wait into an opportunity for uninterrupted reading. But there was a TV screen bolted to the wall in the holding pen and after the recorded civics lesson was over, I had no way to escape the laugh track, as we were being “treated” to an honest-to-goodness sit-com.
I’m sorry. This is getting to be an Andy Rooney rant, so I won’t speculate on the impact of flickering screens perpetually aimed at children sitting in the back ofthe minivan. I’ll stop now.