Dicky Gingnagel (48) is a parking attendant in Amsterdam.
“I have always struggled with reading and writing. I eventually went back to school when I was about 30. In the end that gave me a huge confidence boost but then I faced the next challenge: today, more and more things can only be dealt with via a computer. For someone with poor literacy skills, that represents an additional level of difficulty. On websites I am often overwhelmed by the huge volume of information. There is so much text, and I do not know where to click. I personally think that this should be much simpler.”
Reliance on staffed counters
“I don’t hate computers as such. When I was at school, I even opted for an additional computer course. That was the time when Internet banking was being introduced. I really tried my hardest. And I succeeded too. After all, if I had any questions I could always ask a member of staff at the bank. But that is becoming increasingly difficult. And what about the municipal service counter in the future? I hope they continue to offer the possibility of personal contact.”
“I recently purchased a smartphone. I can now keep up to date on the latest news – for example, news about my favourite football club, all day long. My niece sometimes sends me an app message to ask whether I am at home. It feels good to be able to answer her immediately. When I only had a landline, my world was much smaller. But one thing has not changed: I am still afraid of making mistakes. Particularly when it comes to money matters, I am afraid of taking risks.
Before you know it, you have paid more than you needed to. Fortunately I have people around me who can help me.”