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Better living through technology…or not


“Welcome, boys,” waitress Beverly greets us with her back to us.  “Your coffee is already for you at your favorite table.”

“How did you know it was us?” John asks.  

“Oh, we’ve installed a camera in the restaurant that recognizes you by your walk long before you get here.”

“Did you get that from the NSA?” I survey the coffee shop.

“I’ll never tell,” Beverly smiles secretly.

“You’ve got new carpet,” John treads carefully.

“It’s a safety measure to predict whether some customers might fall,” Beverly explains.

“So you installed it just to cover your butt,” John counters.

“You’ve been watching then,” Beverly winks and John blushes.

“Say, I like today’s coffee,” I sip. “What is it?”

“You have our Dominican Republic special Cibao,” Beverly replies and John is drinking our Hawaiian Kona.”

“Why did you think I’d like this?” John says somewhat miffed.

“Customers buying choices are easy to predict,” Beverly asserts as she refills our cups.

“That’s baloney,” John argues.

“No, it’s true,” Beverly hands us menus. “And you can even get people to change their minds.  Here, I’ll show you.  Read the coffee recommendations.”  

I read aloud, Do you agree that the mild Barahona is preferable to the robust Cibao?  “Yes, that’s true,” I agree.

John intones, Do you agree that the mild Kauai Estate Reserve is more flavorable than the Hawaiian Kona?  “Of course,” John declares.

“Turn over the menu and read the back statements,” Beverly requires.

I state, “Do you agree that the robust Cibao is preferable to the mild Barahona?  “I agree and that what I want…the robust Cibao.”

John continues, “Do you agree that the Hawaiian Kona is more flavorable than the Kauai Estate Reserve?  “Sure and that’s what I’ll drink.”

“There you go,” Beverly boasts.  “The Cibao is already in your cup,” Beverly points to me, “and John is on his second serving of Hawaiian Kona.”

“What just happened?”  I ask.

“Haven’t a clue, but I’m too busy working on other stuff,” John turns on his cell phone and hands it to me.  “Here, take my picture.”

“Why?” I snap and return the phone.

“I’m supposed to have a physical but it’s just faster to send my photo,” John reveals.

“Uh…what am I missing…what’s wrong with this picture,” I expose my curiosity.

“Yeah, are you hitting on your doctor?” Beverly jokes.

“After three wives, no way.  But studies show that your photo can indicate your health,”  John texts to his physician.

Beverly shakes her head, places a slice of toast engraved with a design in front of us. “Here you can drink and catch up on the news.”

“Say what?” John looks up.  

“We have a new laser cooker that can imprint drawings on food that you scan with your cell phone for news and information from the web.”

“Can I exchange my white bread for whole wheat?”  I request.  “I’ll skip the bland Kardashian updates for the more wholesome political reports.”

“And I’m better off using my ear electrical power plug to stimulate my brain,” suggest John.

“Here try this instead,” Beverly places a small vase with a flower on our table.

“Why the flower,” John and I ask together.

“Didn’t you know?”  Beverly deposits the bill on the tablecloth.  “Plants are good at math and this beauty will help you calculate today’s tip.  Have a good one and don’t trip on the carpet when you leave.”

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