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You have now entered the age of absurdity

You have now entered the age of absurdity
Highlights

Shopkeeper: -'Will you be paying by credit card, EPS, Apple Pay, debit card, Google Pay, Bitcoin or sacrifice of your first-born?-'

Shopkeeper: "Will you be paying by credit card, EPS, Apple Pay, debit card, Google Pay, Bitcoin or sacrifice of your first-born?"

Me: "Uh, do you take cash? No? Okay, I guess it's one of the kids, then."

Life is so complicated these days! Many things which cost money can no longer be bought using money.
The world's biggest shopkeeper, Alibaba, doesn't have any shops.

The world's biggest taxi company, Uber, doesn't own any taxis.

"None of the shows I watch these days are made by moviemakers. They're all made by delivery firms," said a reader.

True. Netflix was set up to deliver videos and Amazon to deliver books. Now both make TV shows.

What next? A hotel chain with no hotels? Oh, wait, a friend of mine just stayed in an Airbnb room.

A young Indian reader offered her favourite modern Asian absurdity: "Today, parents tell us not to talk to strangers but still try to get us to marry one."

Sometimes, the names and functions of organisations are mismatched deliberately. I read recently that an organisation called "Citizens for a More Affordable Cook County" was set up in the US.

It sounded reasonable but was oddly focused on fighting the sugary drinks tax. Reporters looking at the donations list discovered that the "citizens" who financed it were Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper and Red Bull.

Real life is so out of control that it's no surprise people flee to the Internet – but things are even more confusing there. It horrifies me to think that it's statistically likely that there must exist at least one real Nigerian prince who wants to share his mega-fortune with me and is wondering why I haven't responded to his email.

I was moaning about the confusions of modern life when an "older gentleman" in our social group said that this was nothing new: Companies have always changed their core businesses.

"Most young people today probably have no idea that Shell, the multinational oil company, is called that because it started as a shop selling seashells," he said. "Sharp, the Japanese electronics firm, made pencils. Nintendo, the king of video games, made playing cards."

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