At school in the 1970s, they'd ask us to dream of our future. What would life be like in the year 2000?
Would we have pet dinosaur clones?
Would we be riding in flying cars?
Would people live on the moon?
Never did they speculate that by 2018 so much of our day is spent worrying about our battery life.
Our phones, laptops, notepads and watches all are now little mini-computers operating wirelessly in our lives.
Well, mostly wirelessly. Those little buggers need to be recharged, and they seem to always be running out of juice at the most inconvenient times.
So, while our devices may be operating without wires, in truth the average American is never very far away from a charge cord, and probably is the owner of several of the cords to meet the needs of those multiple devices and multiple places one might want to recharge them.
And finding a places to charge a device can be like striking gold to someone who just tweeted their way to a dead battery.
At home, it’s easy and getting easier to find a charge.
Many outlet manufacturers are getting hip to the idea that people want to plug in their iPhone as much as they want to plug in their hair dryer, so they make outlets that do both.
And most stores that sell standard wall outlets – Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart etc. – also now carry dual outlets where appliances and USB chargers can be plugged in at the same time, saving time and the clutter of too many adapters.
Many new homes are being built with such outlets as standard features, and if you have a vehicle made in the last decade or so, you probably have a USB charger instead of a cigarette lighter/car charger port.
But now the service industry is becoming more savvy, making sure patrons have a place to plug in while away from their home or auto.
I recently attended a play in New York City. In the lobby there was a machine where people could pay to have their phone quick-charged rather than crawl around on the floor looking for an outlet – which one of the actors insisted during his opening introduction had occurred in the middle a previous production.
Airport terminals now boast charging stations for weary travelers who’ve used up the last of their power trying to watch “Finding Dory” on their laptop during their connecting flight.
DINE AND CHARGE
For some time now, a number of the restaurants that I frequent have savvy bartenders who keep a variety of phone-charging cords behind the bar.
When a panicked patron comes to them for help with a charge, they can accommodate most any phone or device.
It doesn’t just build good will, having that extra cord will likely lead to a better tip.
Consumers are definitely demanding access for their chargers in more and more locations, and smart businesses are adapting.
The recently opened Arooga’s Grille House and Sports Bar on Route 100 in Fogelsville was built with connectivity in mind.
Every booth in the restaurant has an outlet with a multiple USB port-charging outlet, and people were using them during my last visit there.
It was easy for the new restaurant to add in the amenity since its dining space was almost entirely new construction. But I can see other, established restaurants looking to add such conveniences to their existing space for the benefit of their customers.
As more people become used to the idea of easy access to a phone charge, it might be a deciding factor on where a group goes to eat if one of them needs a full battery as much as they need a full stomach.