³Indeed,´ he said tonelessly. ³It all began a little over a decade ago, when Idecided that many basic services and products we provide using great manpower² retailing of clothes, for instance, or the sale of hotel rooms²can be done easilyusing a technique we already knew had been used to great success with food²thevending machine. Why not vend clothes out just as you would vend a Snickers bar? Why not create an all-inclusive vending machine, that would sell hotel roomsas cardkeys, rental cars, clothing, et cetera²all without the need to employ people.We placed test versions of these vending machines at train stations, at airports,malls, schools²anywhere people congregate. And they took off.´³Do you regret that you are credited, by some estimates, for putting upwardsof 20,000 people in the service industry out of work?´
ncluding a woman just trying to get a daughter through college, who happened to be my mother?
³I don¶t look at this invention as a put-people-out-of-work sort of thing. Ilook at it as an efficiency thing. I look at it as progress. Sure, you can say penicillin put a lot of bacteria out of work²´³Are you equating the VendAll system with penicillin?´
Are you equating my mom with bacteria, you *******?
I didn¶t even think of a swearword, I was soshocked. I just thought of asterisks...and scribbled furiously. Boy was I going toquote him on this one.³I wouldn¶t say
that much,´ he said smugly, ³but you do realize that before we came along, purchasing used to be a dreadful ordeal of waiting in line,having to grab things off shelves, waiting for slow cashiers to hand you your receipt²surely you wouldn¶t want to go back to
days, now would you, MissDewinkle?´
Days when people actually had the muscle to grab things off shelves?
I thought, but I maintained at least a modicum of professional objectivity.³I can see that you¶re not regretful,´ I said, my face still, ³but your then-colleague and cofounder, Jacqueline Wasserman, doesn¶t seem to feel the sameway.´³Aw, Jackie was always a heart-on-her-sleeve type,´ he growled. ³Youknow women...´ he paused, seemingly having just realized I was one. ³And²you