Mario Silverini is Future Shop's worst customer: he has never owned a cellphone and never sent or received an e-mail. He knows nothing about the Internet, digital cameras, PVRs or Chocolate Rain. He has seen an MP3 player but never used one.
It's not too shocking to learn that Silverini, 66, has ignored the digital luxuries of a younger generation. He's married, living at St. Clair and Dufferin with two wired sons who are mildly addicted to technology. Luddites like Silverini are okay with other people going nuts over the latest gadgets. He just doesn't need them in his life.
"I don't spend money on things I'm not interested in," he says matter-of-factly. He adopts a Woody Allen tone: "Why do I need a cellphone? I can wait until I get home to make a call."
Torontonian Kevin Fortnum, 24, doesn't have a land line or cellphone, and he doesn't own a TV set. It's not so much a matter of cost as it is of philosophy. "There is so much happening in our real world," he says. "It doesn't make sense to spend time looking down into your gadget's 1-inch screen."
Even when he received a digital camera as a gift, he let it gather dust in a drawer because it was too complicated to use.
Fortnum also wins Luddite points for writing a 256-page novel by hand. He says the old-school process gave him deeper insight into the second draft he had to type eventually for the distributor.
"I get a headache if I stare at any screen too long," he says.
Going off the online grid has a proud history. Literary legends railed against the machine of progress, with poets like Byron and Wordsworth leading the charge. They believed the human spirit was being stifled by "dark Satanic mills," as Blake wrote.
The early innovations of the Industrial Revolution didn't always impress the average worker. The Luddite movement of the 1810s was named after a furious (possibly mythical) Leicestershire man named Ned Ludd who broke into a house in 1779 to destroy two machines used for knitting hosiery.
The movement of artisans trying to protect their livelihoods was later caricatured as backward, anti-technology and anti-science.
Today's Luddites aren't the Amish of the common stereotype. They're the e-mail haters, Facebook holdouts, iPod naysayers and TV smashers. Well, smashing is illegal, so modern-day Luddites simply resist the urge to update their browsers and finally log off.
Some critics maintain that understanding why we do or don't adopt a certain technology is a better option than shunning anything with a battery.
"I would be happy if more people were better educated to think through why the tech they choose is best for them," says Jonathan Liebenau, a professor at the London School of Economics who has followed tech trends for 30 years. "We have seen many examples, such as the reduction in smoking, where educating people about such choices shifts communities away from fashions and fads into situations where they have real control that makes their lives better."
Wait - technology doesn't make our lives better? If Future Shop is lying to us, should we all adopt a neo-Luddite view?
Not if you ever again want to text your friend to save you a patio seat at the Black Bull.