Nostalgia for Closer Human Contact

HAD just been thinking about my grandmothers and how they actually knew the people they bought products from, when I read the article ``It's Time to Put Automated Services on `Hold,' '' Oct. 6. Each grandmother had a regular hairstylist and these people even went to my grandmothers' homes when my grandmothers were unable to leave the house. I, on the other hand, go to a haircut shop every few months where someone different cuts my hair each time and I never know their names.

When I thought about my grandmothers shopping at ``markets'' and knowing the people behind the counters, though, I had to admit that the people at my local grocery store are very friendly. Four or five people there always recognize me, and we have short chats. (The gas station, though, is even more automated than the author's description. I can pay at the pump with my credit card and never even see another person.)

Those of us brought up with all this automation feel very uncomfortable when we must interact with people. On the other hand, one extreme usually leads to another, so I am optimistic that certain areas of our lives will have more personal contact in the future, by popular demand. Suzanne Soule, Vista, Calif.

Discovering beauty in Canada

At the risk of carrying the discussion too far, I want to respond to the letter ``Beautiful, Polluted Parks,'' Sept. 23, regarding Banff Park and Lake Louise. The author of the letter contends that these areas are too crowded and too littered. My wife and I have just returned from several days in Canada. In the Canadian Rockies, in particular, we found practically no evidence of the conditions she condemns. On the contrary, compared with many US venues, Canadian parks - and cities, for that matter - are sparkling jewels of pristine beauty.

Lake Louise and other glacier lakes have a rather opaque blue-green color, not because of pollution but because glacier-melt contains a sediment that gives the water that peculiar but beautiful color. It's the same color that the ice itself has if one looks deep into the crevices of a glacier.

We found Banff to be a charming community in a spectacular setting. Overbuilt? I don't think so; the setting is too expansive and dramatic to be intimidated by a town. Too crowded? Maybe, particularly during the tourist season, but that's because the parks are such desirable places to visit. C.H. Humphrey, Oceanside, Calif.

Owners playing a game of capitalism

Contrary to most of what we hear, the baseball strike is not about greed. The position of the owners is the essence of capitalism. They are attempting to maximize profits by reducing the cost of labor.

In the opinion-page article ``Drowning in a Field of Greed,'' Sept. 27, the author would have us believe that only owners take risks. If players don't take the financial risks that owners do, it's because they didn't arrive with any money to lose. How many players does the author know born into rich families?

Players must earn as much as they can in the short period (an average of four years) of most major league careers. To do so, they are required to take potentially career-ending risks every day. Because there are only several hundred players in this hemisphere with genuine major league skills competing for even fewer jobs (because of baseball's antitrust exemption), they are paid accordingly.

In this day of busted unions, high unemployment, and shrinking wages, we should throw our support behind the striking players and celebrate their solidarity in not breaking ranks. Barry Flanagan, Cincinnati,

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