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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Zen and the Art of Self Checkout

Last Monday, I decided to hit up the supermarket on my break at work to stock up on some last minute things for Thanksgiving. I only had about 10 items and so when I was done shopping I headed to self checkout as I usually do when I have a small basket of things rather than a carriage and proceeded to check myself out. Now, at this point there was no line for self checkout, though the lines to be checked out by an actual person were pretty long and filled with people with whose carriages overflowing with food.

As I started ringing my items in, quite a few of them had to be keyed in instead of just scanned since it was produce with no code on it. That’s fine, I didn’t mind. The pair of old biddies behind me DID mind however because when it took me more than 5 seconds to locate “celeriac” on the produce menu they started squawking

“She shouldn’t be in this line!” one of them said.
“This is unfair!” the other replied “This is an EXPRESS LINE”.

At this point I looked up and saw that yes, this was an express line but you know what Grandma? I have under 15 items. So zip it.

(Happy Holidays, you know?)

So I continue scanning my items and each time I go to punch in a piece of produce I get long and loud sighs from the ancient peanut gallery behind me. So as I am paying I turn and say “Excuse me, ma’am? This is the express line and I have under 15 things. And if you have a problem with it there are several other self checkout stands”

Then I clutched my bagged celeriac to my chest and stalked out, fuming.

Later that night I related this story to my mom like “Can you believe this!?” and she remarked that people do get ridiculous around the holidays. I will always fight for my right to use self checkout and not be judged though. That is my right as an American, and a grocery shopper.

So this weekend Adam and I popped into another supermarket to pick up a few ingredients for truffles I was making later in the day. As we approached self checkout I got in the shortest line which happened to be because the only other person in line was a woman with approximately One Billion Items scanning and bagging to her heart’s content. I looked up at the sign and saw that it wasn’t an Express Checkout so really she could have as many items as she wanted up there, technically. And if I had a problem with it I could get inone of the longer lines. But with my luck any of those lines could contain a Pays with Pennies or WORSE - Pays with a Check! So I waited. Patiently. And when she had paid and was still taking forever to bag her stuff I just went ahead and started scanning my things. But then it wouldn’t let me because the baggage area was full and though the woman noticed this she made no effort to clear some space amongs her Billion Items for my four or five measly items. And she was taking so long to bag her food. So I waited. And she seemed to be taking EVEN MORE TIME since she saw me waiting. So I turned to Adam and was all “UGH She shouldn’t be in this line!” and he replied “It’s not really fair”.

And then I stopped. Truth be told – she has every right to self scan and bag her One Billion Items in self check out. I mean I don’t know why that would be more convenient than having someone else doing it for you but there is no sign saying you cant.

So I was no better than those old biddies behind me last week. I was judging in the self checkout lane.

Of course this did not stop me from reaching over her to grab a handful of bags and bag my stuff before she was even halfway done with hers but you know, that woman did give me a special gift this holiday season. The lesson I learned from the woman with One Billion Items is one of self awareness and one of not judging

. So as you go forth this holiday season, take this advice with you: Judge not who goes before you in the self checkout line lest ye be judged as well.

12 comments:

Randall said...

Good for you for saying something - they should learn that patience is a virtue!

Amanda* said...

This scenario could SO be the next big Christmas musical. (I'm totally picturing the dance of the shopping cart...it would take careful choreography, but it could be done!)

If there is anything people need to learn these days especially during this time of year it is patience and understanding.

Lys said...

I have to agree with Amanda.. this would make a great musical *LOL* ;)

I avoid the self checkout lines, out of consideration for others - I just never seem to get the checking out thing right. The past two times I tried it, I failed beyond miserably. :::sigh:::

Jenny said...

For reasons unknown to me I decided to reread your blog today ... just to get annoyed at those biddies or something ... i got to the end and saw the day and date and growled because REALLY!? Its only TUESDAY. WTF.

Sarah said...

i know, f tuesday.

Me said...

F tuesday.

But that's not what I wanted to say.

YAY for not judging. :) Because, I have had similar experiences...or the opposite...the people in the express lane with 36 items, while I fucking COUNTED every item in my basket.

GRRRRRRRR.

Sarah said...

haha I know. I also hate the people in self checkout who, when they are done ringing up their stuff, make the whole line WAIT while they send their child/boyfriend/husband/whathaveyou back to get something they forgot!!

LooLoo said...

haha Last night I was the girl holding up the self check out because I have a coupon. It was for $3! I was fighitng for that coupy, people weren't amused.

Kimba Rimba said...

I see nothing wrong with you being a little miffed. It's the weekend people need to take their one billion item cart to the regular checkout.

Nicky said...

You should post this blog in grocery store lines! I once had an old man huff at me in line because he thought I had more than 10 items in the express lane! I felt like saying, "Dude, mind your own beeswax." And anyway, he needed to learn to count. But even if I WAS slightly over - is the 11th item REALLY going to kill you? Is the 1/100th of a second that it takes to scan that extra apple really going to make you late for work? Please.

C'tina said...

I just read something similar yesterday on a blog....'tis the season! http://www.dooce.com/2007/11/27/outsourced-caring%E2%84%A2

Perfectly Plump Preppy said...

I hate those self-checkout registers and they hate me. They always give me guff. Basically I'm forced to stand in line and read tabloid magazines while the person in front of me pays with change. Annoying!