Went to a fave local small indie bookshop today. I’ve patronized quite a few times before but am hardly a regular. Requested a book I knew they’d have to special order. Seller confirmed my number and asked if I wanted a text once in. He remembered my name, number and preference.
We briefly discussed what we were reading. Recommendations were traded. Mutual loves discussed. I made an offhand comment about the number of books about trees. Told him about my friend Matthew and his love and deep knowledge of trees. Came away longing for a new book the seller highly recommended. I should have just bought it on the spot. Likely will when the special order arrives.
The algorithms might know my name and number. Might make some recommendations (but not trade them). Might even be able to discern I’d like a book about trees. Even at greater convenience and cheaper out of pocket cost.
But it will likely never be able to make me feel valued, listened to, and known in the way I am in the bookshop. There is no price one can put on that and at only a few dollars more and a little bit of time it’s a bargain.