When simple technology lets you down

automatic doorsI’ve been shopping at the same branch of Sainsbury’s now for a little over 300 years. When I first started going there one could bump into many a local celebrity: Moses was stocking up on tablets, Napoleon was looking for a quick ready meal and a good book and yes, Dale was on the checkout doing his “beep-beep” thing, even though the checkouts weren’t actually electric yet.

But they had “Automatic Doors” and they’ve never changed. Over the 400 years that I’ve been shopping there, I’ve learnt how to gauge exactly, the correct speed to approach them in order for them to open wide enough to let me through, without me having to slow down and wait for them.

They’ve been reliable. Opening every day, steadily, sensibly, never too quickly, never too slowly, telling the time, for Trumpton.

Sorry, reminisced for a moment there. Anyway, they’ve always opened, just at the same time, just at the same speed for well over 500 years.

And so over the intervening six centuries I’ve been able to load myself up with boxes and groceries, completely blocking my view of the doors, but it mattered not. I know from the moment I set foot on the mat, the precise speed at which to walk, in order for the doors to part at the crucial moment, as if I was stepping through the curtains of the Theatre Royal to take a bow.

So imagine my discombobulation therefore, when today, laden as I was with all the essential elements for a good pancake evening: microwave ovens, garden sheds, eggs, flour, gherkins and masses of toilet paper etc., only to discover that things have changed.

Strode I, manfully and purposefully, and it has to be said, a little cockily (having nearly 700 years of Sainsbury’s Automatic Door Opening System Knowledge under my belt) stepping onto the mat, my speed already set and predetermined to coincide with the exact moment of door whooshing…….

No whoosh.


A very big clatter.

Suddenly, I am without cocky look, without elegant and purposeful poise and without shopping.

So my question is (well you didn’t think i was just rambling on did you)? My question is, what simple piece of technology has let you down with embarrassing results?


About Words of Little Relevance

Freelance stage manager; software and web tester; Excel and map geek; Tweeter; Blogger and Cake Eater. Often back-stage in and around Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire where I move scenes, or play with lights or sound.
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