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  • Nancy Spear

VHS or Beta?

Sometime in the early ‘80s, my family got a VCR. It was so exciting. A big event. I remember overhearing my mom’s side of a phone conversation with my grandma.

Mom: Why don’t you and Dad come over to watch the movie?


Mom: No set time. We’ll just start it when you get here.


Mom: No, Mom. It doesn’t start at a certain time. Just when you get here.

It was confusing.

A few years later, I had a summer job at a little video store in the Palisades. The VCR era was still dawning. Customers would come up to the register with the empty video box they found on the shelf. I would ask, “VHS or Beta?” In response I’d get a blank stare followed by, “It’s a VCR.”

The confusion continued but somehow we all learned to navigate the world of videos, Pong, trash compactors and microwaves.

Now what do we have? iPhones, Kindles, Skype, Facebook, Uber, Twitter, Reddit, and more. And the generation who was explaining VCRs to their parents is now learning about texting from their grandkids.

It is still confusing. And not everyone is patient.

I am. With the same patience I used to find out if the video store customers had Beta or VHS, I now help older adults with iPads, laptops, desktops, and more.

This holiday season, if you are giving the gift of technology to an older adult in your life, give the gift of me to go along with it. Gift cards are available.

And, yes, my grandparents did make it on time to see the movie.

Nancy's Tech Help Gift Cards

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