A ‘smart’ way of getting an infection - GulfToday

A ‘smart’ way of getting an infection

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

How precious is your personal smartphone? I liken it to your lip balm or your lipstick or your comb. Aside from your family you wouldn’t share any of those items with a complete stranger, would you? No you wouldn’t. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that, for hygiene reasons, there are some items you should never even share with your family. They are personal to you. Now take this and think about your smartphone.

To whom would you hand over your smartphone so that they could open the case and swipe around on the screen? Under normal circumstances probably no one. Am I right? Why do I say this? Imagine you go into a shop and the shop assistant needs your phone to do something shop related with it, like redeeming a voucher or using their in-store app to get your points.

Would you allow him or her to touch it? I don’t even like them putting the tip of their finger on my screen. I’m not being difficult here but imagine the last thing they might have touched and not washed their hands. Those hands are now on your phone which you take home, which your child might play with, which you touch whilst having your meal, need I go on?

Imagine that the person who is now manhandling your phone, a phone that you probably treat like it’s a piece of fragile glass, is now being held in the air by the edge of its case. Complete carelessness! Imagine that person having just come back from the toilet and maybe they didn’t wash their hands after wiping and flushing. I assure you I have seen people go into lavatory stalls, flush and then walk right out of the door.

These people are now working in food outlets, pharmacies and supermarkets and they are now charged with asking to handle your phone to read the barcode.

Again, why am I saying this? Well I am absolutely tired of new technology and the incessant need to download countless Apps to redeem vouchers or to accumulate points. I am tired because most of these Apps can kill your battery.

Because these badly designed Apps they are often still running in the background even if you exit them. I am tired because these buggy Apps are often huge in size. So in addition to killing your battery they also take up a huge amount of space on your phone thereby slowing them down.

Moreover, these Apps are constantly updating, sometimes every two to three days. The updates are doubly annoying when they don’t actually fix the underlying bug issue with the App. Often the update exacerbates the problem and makes it more buggy.

The result is that when the time comes to use the App to redeem your voucher or to check your points, it’s blank or the App doesn’t let you log in.

I get that the shop doesn’t want to print loyalty cards and vouchers any more but I’ll guarantee you that there is an economic factor involved in it too. Nothing is altruistic.

They simply don’t want to spend the money printing out vouchers. They’d rather the customer downloaded their buggy App and try to redeem their vouchers electronically. But have they thought about how the customer might feel about downloading large size, buggy Apps on their phones? Or not being able to download their large size, buggy App because it is incompatible with the customer’s phone operating system? No they haven’t.

So does the customer now have to upgrade their phone just to download their buggy, large size App?

Aside from all of this, it is the most unhygienic thing in the world to have to hand over a personal device to some cashier who may not have washed his or her hands after going to the toilet or having eaten.

Or who might have a bad cold or flu or some other contagious infection. They may actually be carriers of a virus that they don’t know about. He or she might have sneezed in their hands or touched their scalp or nose or mouth or some other private place just before handling your phone. Believe me in some shops you can’t just open your phone and hold up the screen to the cashier so she can use her handheld barcode scanner. In some shops she needs to take your phone and do everything herself.

Now if she hasn’t washed her hands after touching heaven knows what, imagine now you have to put that phone to your ear to take or make a phone call. Infections are just waiting to happen because of these Apps.

I have a solution which works very well with one particular shop. They give you a log in number to their website. You create an account and every so often you log in to see how many points you have. If you have enough to get a voucher you print it off at home and take it to the shop and they do the rest. No Apps, no bugs, no bacterial or viral infections and no phone touching.

Stop with these Apps!

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