Talking and paying

The author of ``It's Time to Put Automated Services on `Hold,' '' Oct. 6, considers automated self-services as efficient, but adds to the isolation and abstraction of an already fast-paced, impersonal society.

Her examples include doing banking through an automated teller machine to get cash to pay an attendant for gas at a station and to pay for stamps from a machine. She extends this to minimal conversation with a waitress in a cafe while getting breakfast.

My experiences have been just the opposite. When I go to a gas station, I slip my credit card into the machine and get gas; however, while the tank is filling, I am able to talk with the station manager who is at the pumps ready to provide assistance if needed. We exchange pleasantries and light conversation since we aren't burdened with handling cash.

At the grocery store, the clerk is using a scanner to record bar-coded items while I slip my credit card through a terminal at the register. We are able to have light conversation while the machines do the recording, because we aren't absorbed with detailed key-punching and hand recording. G. Stanley Doore Silver Spring, Md.,

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

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