Responsibility is it Declining?

Posted in Blog | 6 comments

While writing a new chapter on my website called, “Next Stop is Okinawa”, many questions came to my mind as I was typing about a job which I had worked at prior to leaving Texas for Okinawa.

While describing my job requirements and responsibilities while working as a  grocery cashier/checker at HEB in 1969, I realized that many young people in 2018 would find those job requirements and responsibilities quite challenging and maybe a little bit enslaving.

Having these thoughts running through my mind,  led me to wonder about the changes that modern technology has made in the world, especially in the regard to responsibility.  Is responsibility something that is born into us, something our parents teach us or does the world and technology around us decide if we are to be responsible?

Technology has come so far since the 1960s.  Machines have come along that actually think for us.  We no longer have to know some of the things that absolutely made us use our brains.  Technology has given us such things as calculators, spell checkers, computers, Google or Grammarly to do our thinking for us.

My cell phone collects and stores phone numbers, so I do not have them memorized anymore.  Lord help us if our cell phones should “die” because there would be no way we would remember a person’s number to make calls.

Hint: this actually happen to me once, so now I have an index card in my purse with numbers for emergencies.  I also do not use the app on my cell phone for medications that I take, they are listed on another index card in my purse.

There was also no excuses for being late to work time after time.  You got there early and stayed late.  You always did your best for your employer, not only because it was required but because you required it from yourself.  There was such a great feeling of self-pride when you did your very best.

One of the things mentioned in the chapter I wrote was the fact that as a cashier/checker we were responsible for making the correct change. Of course, in the 1960s the register did not tell us the correct change to be given back to the customer.   If we made a mistake in giving back the correct change during the day then our register came up short of money at the end of our shift, the shortage came out of our paychecks.  This was true responsibility being expected from us.

When we were on breaks or at lunch we did not clock out or in but were responsible to be at our register on time which also let the other checkers have a break or lunch at their scheduled times which was true respect for others.

The cash registers were not connected to scanning devices to scan the groceries which was good because there were not scan bars on the grocery items, they were hand stamped or labeled manually then put on the shelves.  Each item was looked at for the price on it then manually hand-keyed into the register by the cashier/checker.

Sale prices were to be memorized by each cashier/checker each day for the items that would be on sale.  A table was set up in the front of the grocery store by the Manager with cards in front of each item with its new sale price.   The prices were not changed on the merchandise out in the store on the shelves.

The hours we worked in one day did not matter but were gifts to us for the purpose of making money to meet our needs or goals.  As a matter of fact, we fought for the long days, especially on Saturdays, so we could make more money.  On Saturdays, the lines were long at the cash register but the checking was fast as we challenged each other to check out the most customers.

Well enough of all of that, that was then this is now.  The real questions concerning me are whether or not there is a declining of responsibility now?  What effect have the presence of new technologies had on our thinking ability?  Is technology making us smarter or dumbing us down? Have the new “I have rights” laws,  expectations from parents, the influence of friends, and new “hand-tied” rules of employers lowered the bar of learning true responsibility or is responsibility something that is God-given and inside us from birth?

I would love to know what you think.





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  1. No one knows how to count back change anymore. They put the amount the cash register tells them to (or something close to that amount) in your hand. But do they need to count it back if the amount is right? (Though it’s interesting to watch today’s cashiers trying to figure out how to make change when you’ve given them an odd amount and they don’t key it in correctly. In Florida, you could be standing there for days…

    As to responsibility, I think we are less responsible for small things (remembering phone numbers) but maybe that frees us up to be more responsible for more important things. We can hope at least.

    • Barbara, I hope so too. I had a young man now my grass today and I asked him if he knew how to make change. He told me he did.also I gave him several instructions to follow before I went in the house to type. He followed every instruction to the T. He is sixteen, fixed his own truck. and his lawnmower plus other yard tools. I am so impressed by him each time he mows. He told me he doesn’t play video games at all, he works to put up money for college. There is hope.
      Thank you so much for reading my blog and commenting.
      God Bless Zhou

  2. I agree with Barbara that not having the responsibility to know things that a computer can do for us frees us up to do other things – like maybe enjoy life more? Technology may be seen as hindering responsibility but I don’t see it that way. For me, it might even have turned the tables. Working at the computer all day is enjoyable knowing what it can do for me. I can put out a lot more work on it than writing by hand. Research is a breeze now. But… and… it feels great to get off the computer and do something with my hands. lol… I feel like my thoughts are rambling so I will go… thanks for the thought-provoking article, Nancy Lou.

    • Thank you MaryRae for your comment. You never ramble but speak from your heart which zi love. The blog was meant to get others opinions on responsibility. I love what the computer has done for me too. I am of a different generation and it is very important for me to know we have instilled the younger generations to be responsible.
      I personally thing it is born into us.
      God Bless You,

  3. I’m starting to play catch-up on your widow’s blog even though I am still not caught up on your love letters posts. I still find mistakes in my cash register receipts though they have scanners and registers that tell how much change is due. I usually use my debit card, so change is not relevant, but sometimes they have even missed charging me for an article. I have been charged wrong prices probably because the either reverse the numbers of the code entered, or have simply not remembered the code correctly. In the grocery stores, they are required to remember the codes for fresh produce. I’m afraid I wouldn’t fare too well in that area. I tend to reverse numbers. So I’m not sure whether things are more efficient today or not. One thing I think is that cashiers back then may have been on the whole a lot friendlier than today. Though I don’t have a lot to complain about in the store I mainly deal with. But I have had some pretty unfriendly people serve me in stores at times. But they are in the minority. Probably if stats were available, the percentages of responsible people compared to irresponsible people might be similar. It just shows up in different areas of life. I think I’m rambling and I had better move on to the next post. 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences. I think we were friendlier back then because we were expected to be and we were raised to be curious, respectful and friendly.
      The cash year, at my store, just punches in numbers off of stickers on fruits and vegetables but for somethings that do not have stickers, they have a list of numbers to punch in.
      Thank you for your comment.
      God Bless You, Diane,Nancy

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