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Adoption of a New Idea Takes Time

Sometimes, no matter how much time you've put into an innovative new product, it takes users time to adopt...

I was an exchange student in Moscow, at the end of the Cold War in 1980. Every morning my fellow students and I would drag ourselves out of bed, put on several layers of clothes and brave the fierce Russian winter. By the time we got close to the university and popped our now slightly warmer heads out of the subway onto the sub-zero streets above, we were pretty hungry. So, we stopped in at one of the many stores that sold coffee and piroshki (meat pies, yes for breakfast).

I remember the first time vividly. After standing in line to order, we had to stand in another line to pay. I showed my drink and food to the cashier who was using a then brand-new electronic cash register. I was quite impressed by the use of such modern technology in such an unusual venue. Then, I became even more surprised. After ringing us up and seeing the total in bright green numbers on my side of the register, I handed the cashier just the right amount of money. She wouldn’t take it.

She said "Podazhdeechee menootochkoo" (Wait a minute!). I was proud that I could understand what she said in Russian. Curious as to the delay, I leaned my head over the wall between us so I could see what she was fidgeting with. To make sure the transaction was correct, she was checking my purchase on an abacus!

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  • Helen Tarver

    Mike, I love the story, but the over reliance on technology is also just as worrying. I was in a big shed PC retailer, where the tills had gone down. I had two items at £4.99, which first the cashier had to put into the calculator to add up and then couldn't work out why I was questioning that the answer was £10. It was what the calculator said, and she did not question that two 99s could never add up to a round figure. So, it might take time, but we should never let newness takeover from sense!

    Resolving gift problems one present at a time