Opinion

Too Convenient For Our Own Good?

glasto ticket

With the ever increasing popularity of online shopping and barely any necessity to leave the house anymore, convenience has taken over our lives. We can order food, clothes, mobile phones, televisions, furniture and even cars with our laptops, but surely convenience has it’s drawbacks?

Tickets for next year’s Glastonbury Festival sold out in record time this year. All 120,000 remaining tickets were sold to this year’s wave of Wellington boot wearing music junkies in just one hour and 27 minutes. That’s just fewer than 1,400 tickets per minute. That’s 22 tickets per second!

No matter how massive the company, organisation or country hosting an event, the phone-lines, websites and whatever other method of booking they have chosen is never able to cope with the ridiculously high demand. The sheer mass of people that relentlessly fight their way through the web-pages and engaged phone-lines lead many to barely consider the idea of trying at all.

A lifetime can seem to go by, as you stare at a blank loading screen, waiting to find out whether this was your year or not. Many will have been left disappointed as their computer breaks the news that they haven’t been successful in their endeavours. No amount of yelling at the screen will make the slightest difference, and what little optimism is left has to be poured half-heartedly into the April re-sales.

This week, it was announced that Matt Smith will play the role of Patrick Bateman in the new American Psycho musical that will open in December. The three month run of tickets sold out in just hours of the announcement, attracting avid theatre go-ers and Doctor Who fans alike. One has to wonder whether all audience members will be of an appropriate age to witness this particular stage show.

News of Smith’s new role as a chainsaw bearing psychopath spread like wildfire among anyone that has ever owned a television, and tickets sold out almost instantaneously.

How different would things be if we didn’t have the internet to rely on in these situations? Imagine if instead of our trembling hands hovering above our keyboards, we had to run to the box office to secure our tickets. The fight would then not be won by those who had the speediest broadband, but indeed who could run the fastest. Rewards would probably be given to those whom were unemployed or those without any qualms about calling in sick to work.

Has such a quick process actually made our lives a bit less convenient? Sure, there is no need to sprint down to the box office in the middle of the day, or for thousands to queue up at Michael Eavis’ house, but would slowing the process down slightly be all that bad?

With all this talk of 4G, a promise keeps cropping up of faster data usage, quicker broadband, and speedier pretty much everything it seems, our lives are supposedly going to get even easier.

But is faster always better? Personally, I’m sceptical. I live in a house where I’m lucky if I can make a phone call without any trouble. In the middle of a valley in Hertfordshire, surrounded by farms, I would never dream of even attempting to register for such events. Not only because the internet stops working when the wind blows a bit too hard, but I couldn’t put myself through that much anguish.

Our internet gets ‘faster’, but our systems remain, to put it simply, rubbish.  We have thousands of people online, waiting to purchase their tickets, but the systems crash every year, apologise every year, and remain the same every year.

Picture 2050, where we all have internet chips in our foreheads, and tickets have just gone on sale for iGlastonbury festival (I can only assume Apple have taken over the world). With a few thoughts, you can have the ticket downloaded into your brains and the bar-code for entry ready to be scanned from your retina. Except, of course, if you think that millisecond too late and your mind trails off and becomes suspended in a limbo-like state while the system is failing to cope with the amount of brainwaves. You are then disappointed of course, because they have all sold out and you’re unsure about how much time you’ve wasted in the process.

So, is faster always better? As I said, I’m sceptical.

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