Happy (almost) New Year! There's never been a better time to be an introvert. Over the past decade, it became a whole lot easier to practically never leave your house.
Say you just woke up on a Saturday morning and you realize there's a long list of errands to attend to. Don't want to do any of them? Prefer to stay in and watch a movie on Netflix? It's almost 2020 and now you can automate chores to your heart's content.
Open a new tab to Amazon Prime or Pantry to order the paper towels, toilet paper, and toothpaste you've run out of—if you stock up and order $35 worth, you can get free shipping, with items dropped off at your door within a day or two.
Need groceries? Open a tab to Instacart or Prime Now and browse Whole Foods' (or your local supermarket's) selection of produce, dairy, snacks, meats, and seafood. Plan your meals for the week from your bed or couch. And if you're feeling too lazy to cook (or do the dishes), your fallback plan can be ordering Thai via DoorDash or Chinese via Grubhub.
Realize you're out of birth control pills and don't want to miss a day? No need to visit the gynecologist to re-up when your prescription is running low; log onto Nurx (or Alpha, or HeyDoctor) and order your next month of pills. If a more serious malady ails you—mysterious food allergies?—order an at-home testing kit from EverlyWell and, later, send it off to a lab. And if acne is keeping you even more shamefully sequestered within the cozy four walls of your house, log onto your Curology dashboard, take some selfies of the problem, and chat with your remote dermatologist to get cream prescribed and delivered to your door.
Though feeding your family, taming your zits, and not getting accidentally pregnant are top priorities, we all know what Saturday mornings are truly about. If you live in a legal weed state, open up your Weedmaps or Budly app and pick which gummies, chocolates, and flower you want delivered to your door. This is the future libertarians want and, thankfully, increasingly have.
In the rare and startling occasion that you're forced to leave your house, at least someone else can drive you to whatever horrifying social fate awaits. Thanks, Uber.
What is often disparagingly called late-stage capitalism is not just an introvert's dream but also a huge blessing for those who want their time freed up. Though a common criticism levied at those who take advantage of the fully automated millennial life is that such pleasures are only enjoyed by the wealthy, on the backs of gig economy workers, late-stage capitalism's little conveniences offer something to those who don't fit the stereotype. Disabled or chronically sick people who legitimately can't leave their couches now have more ways to get the groceries they need. People who are too old to drive no longer have to fear a loss of mobility when they lose their licenses. Working parents who want to spend more time with their little kids no longer have to tarry about waiting for a prescription at CVS, or take hours out of their weekends to joylessly peruse the grocery store aisles.
For now working-class people may be more likely to be driving for Uber or DoorDash than using the apps themselves, but that will change. Just as Netflix and Amazon Prime have become widely adopted by a broader pool of people over time, so will these other services, enabling more and more people to buy themselves some free time—the greatest scarcity of all.