You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Some people say that modern technology has made shopping today easier, while others disagree. Discuss both views and give your opinion
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
It is true that some people believe that shopping is easier today than ever before, thanks to modern technology. While this is certainly the case in some respects, I agree with those who find the modern high-tech shopping experience more impersonal and stressful.
On the one hand, advances in technology have transformed and facilitated shopping in the developed world. In terms of the internet, online shopping has grown in popularity, and some experts believe that this trend is still in its infancy. Certainly, ordering goods online from the comfort of your own home saves time and effort. Those trips to the shops, when traffic grinds to a halt or shoppers find themselves caught in rush hour traffic jams, have been superseded by a click of a mouse. Even inside a supermarket, modern technology makes shopping easier, with self-service checkouts and payment using a smart card.
On the other hand, despite the disappearance of many traditional ways of life, some old shopping habits have not died out. Firstly, many of the older generation are slower to embrace change. They find that the personal service available in shops makes shopping an easier and more pleasant experience, whereas technology may be confusing and discourages real interaction. Secondly, old ways of shopping continue to thrive because some people prefer to see and touch the goods which they buy. For example, although technology provides images of products for sale, many shoppers prefer to try on clothes or shoes or to physically handle fruit or vegetables before choosing.
In conclusion, while technology has made shopping quicker and easier in some people’s opinion, I would argue that it makes shopping harder because it cannot offer personal service or the physical opportunity to browse.
Vocabulary from technology:
advances in technology: the improvement or development in technology
Example: Recent advances in medical technology are making a great contribution to the search for a cure for Aids.
online shopping: shopping while connected to the internet
Example: For people who are physically disabled, or even for people who are simply very busy, online shopping is convenient and may also be cheaper.
to be in its infancy: to be in the early development of something
Example: It is clear that robotics technology is still in its infancy, and it is impossible to imagine the possible future developments.
to be superseded by: to be replaced by something which is better
Example: The latest technological innovations are usually soon superseded by new and more advanced devices.
supermarket checkouts: the place where you go to pay for the things that you have bought
Example: Personal service in shops has been replaced by the impersonal experience of superstore shopping and queues at supermarket checkouts.
a smart card: a small plastic card used to make payments and to store information, which can be read when connected to a computer system.
Example: People rarely need to visit a bank these days, and it is easy and convenient to make purchases using your smart card.
discourage real interaction: to result in less face-to-face communication with other people
Example: the availability of new communication technologies may also have the result of isolating people and discouraging real interaction.
Vocabulary from transport:
to grind to a halt: to go slower and then stop completely
Example: In my city, Paris, traffic regularly grinds to a halt during the rush hour.
rush hour traffic jams: the time when most people are travelling to or from work/school and so there is too much traffic on the roads.
Example: If factories and offices introduced flexible working hours, this would help employees to avoid rush hour traffic jams to get to or from their place of work.
Vocabulary from traditional vs modern:
the disappearance of traditional ways of life: the fact that traditional ways no longer exist
Example: The advances in technology that have driven industrialisation in developed countries have certainly contributed to the disappearance of traditional ways of life.
to embrace/welcome change: to accept change with enthusiasm
Example: While it is important to embrace change, the public must try to preserve all that is worthwhile from the past.
to continue to thrive: to continue to grow, develop, or be successful
Example: Conventional skills would continue to thrive by providing alternatives to modern ways of life, and innovative ideas for modern technologies.
impersonal [adjective]: without friendly human feelings
Example: The atmosphere in the office was very impersonal – nobody smiled because they were all staring at their computer screens.
to die out [phrasal verb]: to disappear completely, so that it no longer exists
Example: Some traditional languages have died out, because nobody uses them nowadays.
to try on [phrasal verb]: to put on clothes to see if they fit and if they look good
Example: She tried on a lot of pairs of shoes before she decided to buy any.
to browse [verb]: to look at a lot of things in a shop or book, without having any particular idea of what you want
Example: I browsed through the shelves in the bookshop, until I saw something which looked interesting.