Friday, 27 May 2016

going dutch

Kottke’s assorted links point us back to reporting on a sociological phenomenon that we first found merely revolting but decided to take another look into the deeper implications of not being about to censor our feelings or affinities so well these days: there’s an application for one’s mobile accoutrements that allows one to transfer small sums of money between friends frictionlessly but the quick descent into audacity and miserliness is really straining those bonds and changing the nature of the casual encounter that’s funded by these exchanges.
Like that ungrateful bride who graciously gave a guest the opportunity to top-up a gift that the bride deemed unworthy or pan-handlers, people engaged with this application are abandoning IOUs, trust, quid pro quo, simple generosity in favour of instant and monitored reimbursement for their contribution. Etiquette notwithstanding, I think that the loss of reciprocation—demanding payment-in-kind, marks the dissolution of civil cohesion. I know many people are struggling to make ends meet, but to allow this spectre of expectation to dampen the mood of going out for a drink is really beyond the pale. What would you do if a friend (the scenario is in the article), with this convenient and absolving outlet, were to digitally inform you that your accounts weren’t settled until you reimbursed her the difference in price between the martini you asked for and the beer you bought her in return? Really? I would not want to meet any of these pinch-pennies.