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There is such a thing as too much "time-saving"

Modern life in an instant-gratification world. If you take the hassle out of gardening, is it still gardening?

There is such a thing as too much "time-saving." I worry that our 24/7 culture is creating instant-gratification expectations for even low-tech experiences.

I was worried that our 7-year old was getting hooked on high-tech immediacy, but even she realized that the TV ad for "Roll 'N Grow," the "miracle garden in a box" was pretty ridiculous. Talk about inventing a problem that isn't a problem. The pitchman blared in an alarmed tone, "You hoe and your rake, you shovel and you ache, and for what? Flowers that might not grow? Forget all that work.....Cut & place or just roll and grow!"

For $19.95 you get "over 1000 seeds" embedded in a cloth that you roll out and water. I'd be curious to see how many seeds you typically get in a regular 99 cent packet you buy at a nursery. I bet more than a thousand. Roll 'n Grow wants to spare you the trouble of "wast(ing) time getting them in the ground." Funny, I thought all that time-wasting activity was called GARDENING. As our daughter says, "The fun of gardening is doing work!"

For a second point on a potential trend line, I recommend Charles Fishman's Fast Company article "Message In A Bottle" about the $15 billion bottled water industry. Fishman writes a nuanced portrait of a complicated business, but my overwhelming take-home message was that we are wasting a lot of money on a product we don't even value that much (Fishman takes us to task for the half-empty bottles rolling around on our car floors. Guilty as charged.) His most eye-opening statistic is that if the water coming out the tap cost as much as bottled water, we'd be paying $9000 a month. His most chastising anecdote tells us that the in country of Fiji, home of a the hippest brand of bottled water, more than half of the islanders themselves do not have access to safe, reliable drinking water.

Here in the U. S. we have perfectly good water coming out of the tap, but we mindlessly plunk down $2.00 a liter to save us the hassle of thinking about packing a bottle ahead of time.

These examples show us that it is truly time to "stop and smell the roses" and realize that everything in life doesn't have to boil down to a 1-click shopping experience.