Generation Gapped

29 08 2012

Those who know me are already convinced that, while my furrowed brow may signify 50-plus years, I refuse to sit idly by. I sang along with Roger Daltry back in the late-60s when he rhapsodized about hoping to die before getting old. Besides, I get paid to stay current on this stuff. If I were to give up, I would have to go back to teaching more mundane subjects.

That said, the differences between the generations is growing exponentially. Just last night this all became crystal clear to me when 14-year-old Becca came to me while I was catching up on work emails.

“Dad, I want to buy something.”

Uh-oh. That always involves me. “Um…what did you have in mind?”

“I want to buy this shirt at Wet Seal.”

“Well, why don’t you just buy it in the store?”

“Because they don’t carry everything at the store, Dad. I’ve been looking at their website on my iPad. See?”

“Yep, I see it,” as I checked to see if my wallet was still there. “Hey Becca, have you ever bought anything online before?”

“Nope, Dad. That’s why I need your help.” Code words for “Dad’s credit card.”

“Wait…you’ve downloaded hundreds of songs and apps to your phone and iPad. That’s not the same.”

I thought for a second. “Hmmm…you’re right. Those only involve entering my iTunes password.”

So I handed to keyboard to Becca and let her navigate through the shopping mall that the members of Generation C (as in “Connected”) know. She quickly found what she had seen on her iPad, and I walked her through the process of buying a pair of jeans. Sure, we could have done it on her iPad, but I wanted her to get the full e-commerce experience the way we old timers have known it.

I then retired to bed, only to be awakened by a bright light (wait…had I died and begun my walk to the other side?). I was brought to consciousness by a loud announcement informing me there were more things to be purchased…at American Apparel and PacSun.

Isn’t it fun having a teenager?

The Dad in me secretly loved the whole exchange, though, for Becca learned some valuable things in the process. She has learned how to pre-shop (on whatever device is handy), she learned painfully that her desired item was not available in her size (necessitating a search for something else, lest Dad’s credit card go unused). She had already observed that many retail stores do not stock everything in their BAM storefronts, and instead use their websites as superstores with many times the product choices.

And finally, she learned that shopping is just much easier when you don’t have to actually go anywhere. No traffic. No crowds. No cute outfits and make-up (for her, not me).

Yeah, it’s a whole new world out there, and I am thrilled to be a part of it. Never mind my membership in the Over-50 Club, I dig this as much as does Becca. I only wish I could let my Dad pay for it all.

Dr “Folks Who Bought This Also Bought…” Gerlich



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