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Age Of Convenience – Friend or Foe?

So much is said about our generation. Whether it is focused on laziness, entitlement, or avocado toast, us Millennials have a bad rap.

What all of those slanderous (albeit sometimes accurate) articles forget to point out is that we have figured out something very important. Call us lazy, call us entitled, call us what you will, but one thing we have figured out is how to trade time for money. Time is a commodity that we cannot actually buy more of, but what we have really nailed down is that we CAN reclaim the time we do have by outsourcing tasks that can be done by someone else.

Our generation works longer hours than any previous generations, and with the rise of entrepreneurs climbing by the year, it’s not looking like we’re slowing down anytime soon. Not to mention how strong our side hustle game is — these days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a millennial who doesn’t have their own blog, podcast, or Etsy company…and the list goes on. With a generation so motivated to do more, it begs the question: is living in the age of delivery the answer we’ve been looking for?

Basic home supplies like toilet paper, household cleaners, and dog food can be automatically ordered on a monthly cycle. On Amazon, this even nets you a fun discount. God, what does Amazon Prime NOT do? Even Walmart has free delivery over $40.00, so even if you’re on a budget, you can forgo your regular trip to your nearest grocer or Costco and have your items shipped right to your door.

The shift in the availability of “convenience shopping” means that we can get what we want when we want it. No waiting in lines or dealing with salespeople. We can get food delivered, have taxis arriving to our doors on demand, and we have streaming services all at our fingertips. Millennials have found the key to happiness in the fast and easy convenience of delivery services like UberEats… so, will we ever have to lift a finger again?

Of course. 

The expectations of living a successful life are multiplying — climbing the ladder at work, building your side hustle empire, working out every morning or evening, eating well, keeping a home clean, maintaining relationships AND keeping up your curated social media channels, to name a few. Just reading that list made me want to order DoorDash on my phone. 

But what is the cost? And I’m not only talking about the environmental cost but what about the human cost? Besides the looming conversations about climate change and the carbon footprint, many of these large companies face, in the recent news we’ve seen behemoths such as Amazon come under fire for allegations of unfair labour conditions and long hours of strenuous physical labour. As many of these articles point out, humans are not made to be robots or meant to be treated as such. We need to understand that in this age of straight-to-door delivery, we are certainly privileged. But what is that convenience and privilege costing our fellow human beings, the ones who deliver our meals and drive us to our destinations?

So where are we headed if this is our current reality? How do we keep the convenience of this age without exploiting workers? It would seem that drone delivery may be on our very near horizon. Currently, drones are being used to move medical supplies and right now they only have a maximum weight of 5 pounds, so they’re unfortunately not able to deliver your latest box of La Croix…yet. But what about the workers that these drones would replace? Where will their income come from? There certainly are pros and cons to both sides of our “Age of Convenience.”

Maybe we aren’t a perfect generation, but which generation has been? At least we can ponder where our priorities lie in our productivity journals, alongside our gluten-free, vegan buddha bowls. 

Brittany Johnson

Brittany is a Toronto based freelance writer, avid traveller, sheet mask hoarder and Nora Ephron enthusiast.