Generations and Technology

About 20 years ago my Dad bought my grandparents a microwave. Up to that point, my grandparents had been insisting that they really didn’t need one, the stove worked just fine. After they tried it out and loved it, they were hooked. They loved their new microwave.


At the time I thought it was rude of my Dad to buy his parents a piece of technology that had so many choices. There were literally hundreds of different microwave models to choose from, how could he have possibly chosen the exact one that my grandparents would want? How could he have optimized power, cost, color, size, brand and features without asking them dozens of questions?

As I grew older and saw that my own parents were becoming more and more out of touch with new technology, I started to gain a bit of understanding. Then when I was going through university somewhere along the way I learned about “overchoice”. A bit of choice is a good thing, but too many choices can paralyze the decision making process. It was likely the new technology combined with overchoice that led to my grandparents never buying a microwave though they should have.

Time marched on and I forgot about the microwave story until last week when I received a call from my Dad: his TV was no longer working. That wasn’t a surprise, given that it was over 10 years old and the picture was starting to show lines. I started to ask what kind of new TV he was going to get, but then I realized that my Dad had no interest whatsoever in talking about the latest TV technology with me, he just wanted my help.

So today I have become my father. Today is the day that I bought a brand new 50 inch LED TV for my Dad without asking him any questions. And honestly, he loves his new TV.

I look forward to the day when my children buy me a flying car without even bothering to ask me any questions.
About the author:

Todd Trann has been programming computers since 1983, and is a self-proclaimed geek and Dumb White Husband. He will not buy a TV for you — go do your own research. You can find him on Twitter at
@toddtrann.

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