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Chris van Schaick: It’s time for me to catch up with the digital age

PUBLISHED: 15:28 09 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:28 09 January 2017

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto


The paperless digital age seems to have passed our writer by. Now he’s absolutely determined to catch it up. Maybe not today though

I’m going to try and go a bit more paperless this year. Not totally digital you understand. Just try and de-clutter some of my important little places. It’s one of my New Year’s resolutions.

I realised something had to change on a recent visit to a Café Rouge during a business trip. For some weeks I’d been carrying round two fairly bulky 25% off vouchers after a previous visit to the French-themed eating establishment.

This time I duly paid my bill, tempered by the vouchers. Getting rid of that paper was a weight off my wallet. Then, horror of horrors, the waiter came back with the receipt – and two more vouchers. I had spectacularly failed to break the cycle of loyalty.

I know that too much money off in a restaurant is something of a First World problem. But over recent years, my wallet has begun to bulge – and not with cash. Why am I carrying round the loyalty cards from separate branches of the same dry cleaner in both Wickham and Bishop’s Waltham? Or the “rewards” card for a hotel chain I visit maybe three times a year.

It’s not just in the wallet that I’m being overrun by paper. Mrs. v. S. is vociferous in her condemnation of my piles. Not the medically diagnosed type, you’ll be relieved to know. No, the small hillocks of paper that are a feature of my den and those of many other Meon Valley men.

Amongst us all, the battle against paper is certainly a thing. A chum was telling me the other day you can get a shredding service that comes to your door. Now that would be a status symbol.

Meanwhile, in this uptight, litigious and procedural era, it seems unwise to throw any bits of paper away. But I do at least need to have a filing fest. I must get my piles more organised into the fifteen drawer cabinet I bought this time last year for that very purpose but somehow never found time to fill during 2016.

After that I may venture into the loft and confront the ticklish question of whether I still need those boxes of credit card slips and cheque book stubs left over from the 1980s.

You never know.

Strange thought it may seem, given the foregoing, I was a speaker recently at a paperless conference. As part of my other life, I was pontificating at the Southampton Digital Media Marketing Summit. Organiser Robert was quite fierce in his view that a conference about digital media shouldn’t be cluttered by paper. Even business cards were banned.

But hell, I needed speaking notes in order to do my turn. So, ever the maverick, I quietly defied the formidable Robert and smuggled in a few sheets of A4. But I did assure my audience that it wasn’t paper as they knew it. What looked like a sheaf of printed sheets was in fact an arboreally-sourced personalised prompting device. They’d buy that in Silicon Valley, wouldn’t they?


Chris van Schaick: zombie words of the English language - This month, Chris van Schaick leafs through the dictionary to find the zombie words of the English language


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