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Cell Phones And The Produce Industry

Many years ago, Alan Siger, President at Consumers Produce Co., told the Pundit that the cell phone had transformed his life. Because mistakes could be so expensive when one is dealing with perishable goods, many in the produce industry felt tied to the office, warehouse or packing shed.

The Pundit Poppa, working on Hunts Point, never took a vacation longer than one week and two weekends.

The availability of cell phones and, later, smartphones that handled e-mail, texting and web searches, freed people to travel, knowing they were always reachable and able to function in business no matter where they happened to be.

Of course, eventually, people began to take the liberating aspects of these devices for granted and, instead, felt oppression as the ubiquitous presence of the devices changed expectations. There was a time when every ad or credit listing in the business listed both a regular phone number and a number preceded by the letters “LD” — standing for Long Distance. At a time when long distance calls were expensive the idea was that nobody would pick up the “LD” lines unless a person in authority was present. So the caller would incur no charges when a person of authority on the other end was absent and the phone would keep ringing. Implicit in this arrangement was the notion that people able to act would often be unreachable.

Now that key customer, who one would have accepted that his key contact at a vendor was unavailable because he was traveling, on vacation or sleeping, has come to expect 24/7 availability.

Some spouses are now demanding that their spouse forswear these devices during vacations.

Much depends on personality. Some people can relax only when disconnected from the grid, and some get in a state of anxiety if people can’t reach them. Before the Pundit had a cell phone, Mrs. Pundit once took us to a Bed & Breakfast in Newport, Rhode Island, with the goal being to relax. The Bed & Breakfast had no phone and those who wished to contact a guest had to call another location where, if someone was there, they would send a runner. The Pundit couldn’t relax a minute.

In any case, Popular Mechanics ran a pretty clear guide to the various operating systems available for Smartphones: Android, Blackberry OS, iPhone OS, Palm Web OS and Windows Phone. It helps clarify the choice.

We would add one caveat. In business it is often a pain and sometimes an expense to get your IT people to support more than one operating system. At Pundit headquarters, we have a Blackberry server and, although we tried a pretty terrific Android phone, it was just one more technical difficulty to worry about and so we went back to a Blackberry device, which works best for e-mail. Mrs. Pundit has an iPhone, though, and that is clearly the best for web browsing.

You can read the piece here: Field Guide: What’s the Best Smartphone Operating System?

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