There’s a Starbucks less than a mile from my house. To say I visit it frequently is an understatement. The baristas know me and my drinks by name. It’s sad, really.
I usually visit this Starbucks during the morning rush, when the line can extend out the door.
And the people in that line are often on their phones. In fact, I’d say 90 percent of them are on their phones. I’d also say, given the demographics of the neighborhood (this Starbucks is next to a school), that most of these folks are 40 or older.
Strangely enough, I’m usually the one in 10 people who is not on his phone. I’m on it so much during the day I’ve learned to take breaks. Standing in line is one of my breaks.
I chatted with a gentleman the other day about this habit of being on the phone while in line, and he felt the same as I do: If people would look up, they might discover an interesting person with which to talk. I did.
My local Starbucks certainly isn’t the only place this happens. People stare at their phones while on the bus, on the train, in the grocery store, at the movies. It’s no revelation people are hardwired to their phones these days.
But I’m making a bold prediction: Among the 40-plus crowd, we’ll see a faction of people resist being tethered to their phones in 2015.
And by “resist” I mean “unplug.”
They will still use their phones, but they’ll make a conscious effort to unplug when standing in line, riding the train or even driving, for crying out loud. Enough is enough.
I’m singling out the 40-plus crowd because, frankly, this is weird for us.
We didn’t grow up with cell phones. Heck, we didn’t even grow up with email (for the most part. I was 22 when I started using email.) We don’t have the long, storied history with technology that millennials do, so it will be a bit easier for us to give up technology for small chunks of time, like while standing in line.
People in the 40-plus age group are reaching a tipping point. I don’t have any scientific facts to back this up; it’s just a hunch. A hunch from of a 42-year-old who’s a bit burnt out.
A version of this article first appeared on Arik Hanson’s blog, Communications Conversations.