A Psychic Return

While Big Brother needn’t try too hard these days, having outsourced his position to a publicly oversharing citizenry, I’m still pretty confident my handy tech gadgets are spying on me. This past week, though, I had an experience that made me wonder if cyber surveillance has upped its game, moving beyond the old school techniques of watching and listening and into a far more invasive realm.

I do a lot of walking – 3 to 4 miles on an average day and closer to 10 if I plan an epic adventure or happen to get lost. Because I walk so much, good shoes are imperative, and my current pair is problematic, with too-wide treads that trap rocks and other bits of detritus. Several weeks back, after endless scrolling through online shoe sites, I thought I’d found the perfect replacement pair – similar to the current ones, but with narrower treads. I made the purchase and received notice they’d arrive in 3-5 days.

They didn’t. About a week later, I got an email saying the order was delayed. The message featured a picture of the shoes, and when I looked at it closely, I realized IT WAS THE EXACT SAME PAIR I ALREADY HAVE. Apparently I’d scrolled through so many photos during the online hunt that my power of observation went kaplooie. Bummed, I realized that when the shoes finally did arrive, I’d have to send them right back.

Weeks passed. I received another email saying there was still a delay but the shoes were totally going to arrive at some point in my life. Again, I grumbled at the screen and thought, Whoop-dee-doo, then I can return them. I didn’t hear anything else from the company until a few days ago when an email arrived stating that my return had been received and my refund processed. Baffled, I checked my bank account to find that yes, indeed, I’d gotten my money back for the shoes that never arrived.

As I’ve already said, I realize technology is observing us 24/7. But monitoring my thoughts?! Come on, now. Even in our current, weird-beyond-belief world, that seems like a bit of an overstep.