You would assume with all the information we have access to at our fingertips, planning a simple meal out with 6 would take, at most, a few minutes. You’d be wrong. With practically unlimited choices – but then factoring in the various limitations: cuisine, location, price range and the added requirement of halal – you end up with hundreds of Whatsapp notifications, frustrating searches through blogs, reviews and Instagram, and waiting for that one person who just goes MIA in the middle of a very important decision making process.
Do you go for somewhere local because you just know you’ll feel lazy? Do you go for somewhere safe and trustworthy but boring or try somewhere new and exciting but risky? Burgers or curry? Can we all afford a treat?
We did get there in the end and I am looking forward to finally catching up with my oldest friend group for lunch. No doubt we’ll have a great time irregardless of the food – but when you’re spending money, you may as well spend it well.
This reminds me of post Internet Denies Mystery I recently came across, about how technology has developed the way we behave, specifically focusing on dating. But taking it a step further, it’s even effected our choices for a simple meal out. No longer would we just arrive at an area and look around to find a place to eat. Plans are made beforehand, having followed a full background check: menu, reviews and pictures. Even when I am at a new area, for another purpose, I can quickly Google the local options.
Now don’t get me wrong, of course when I’m in a certain area and walk past a place that catches my attention, I do go in. I miss the days when all my meals out were based on how the shop looked from the outside or word of mouth recommendations. I didn’t have a map on my phone to search up a place that would meet my requirements. I would have to take a leap of faith, and more often than not, my intuition would play out well.
There are, of course, many benefits to this new way – otherwise we wouldn’t do it. We like to reduce risk of bad experiences – risks that can lead to a waste of time, effort or money.
But I can’t help wondering which delights I am missing as I search for ‘best burger places in London’.
And that got me wondering about life without Google. The way I did my degree, the way I write this blog, the way I book my holidays, the way I learn new hobbies, the way I problem solve, the way I find out what diseases I’ve contracted – all would have to change. I wonder if it’s a step too far to say my life decisions are decided by Google? But that’s certainly what it feels like!