Lidl, the smart phone and ageism

Lidl, the cut-price supermarket chain, has been the subject of charges of ageism recently.
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Lidl, the cut-price supermarket chain, has been the subject of charges of ageism recently.

While they advertise their special offers very widely, it appears that some offers are available only to those with the appropriate app, on their smart phones.

Since many older people may not possess such high-tech equipment, or be unsure how to access it, the store has been accused of discrimination against older people.

Rev David ClarkeRev David Clarke
Rev David Clarke

The claim, if true, is understandable.

In the days when VHS recorders were still being used, it was said that if anything went wrong it was best to ask a five-year-old to fix it.

Young people adapt to these advances with great ease.

Smart phones are everywhere; and younger people vie with one another to have the latest model, regardless of the cost. The monthly cost is now built into almost everyone’s budget.

The phones are more than phones; they are cameras, both still and video, they are diaries, they are alarm clocks, they are games consoles, they are calculators and so much more.

And it all began with a Scotsman who emigrated to America, Alexander Graham Bell.

Though Bell was confident in his invention, he needed hefty financial support to launch it.

One of the men he approached was Theodore Roosevelt, father of the man of the same name who became America’s 26th President.

Roosevelt was born into riches, and enhanced his fortune through a virtual monopoly in plate glass, at a time when Washington D.C. and New York were rapidly developing.

Bell hooked up his newly invented telephone so that Theodore could talk from his desk to a room down the hall.

While agreeing that it was an interesting device, with potential as a toy perhaps, Roosevelt felt it had no real future, and refused to put money into it.

For Roosevelt it represented a missed opportunity. Someone said that there are three things that can never be taken back; the spent arrow, the spoken word and the missed opportunity.

In ancient sculpture, opportunity was represented by a wisp of hair at the front of the head, indicating that opportunity was to be grasped as it approached, and impossible to reach thereafter.

The New Testament tells of one who missed his opportunity. Felix held the post of procurator of Judea.

He was an avaricious judge who kept the apostle Paul in prison for two years, in the hope of being offered a bribe for his release.

When Paul preached before him, and spoke of righteousness, self-control and judgement to come, we are told that Felix was afraid, and said, ‘When I find it convenient, I will send for you’(Acts 24; 25, 26).

Felix was later recalled to Rome by the Emperor Nero, and we never read that a convenient time came for Felix.

As Paul wrote elsewhere, ‘Now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation’ (2 Corinthians 6:2).

READ MORE: The true meaning of ‘Neighbours’

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