self checkout

Self Checkout Needs Some Kind of User Screening Process

I have never really been a big fan of going to the grocery store.  The horrible parking lot, the stupid people at the door trying to get me to sign up for god knows what, the jerks that mosey down the center of the aisle staring at everything like it is the first time they have seen package food, and the people who just leave their cart any old place with no consideration for anyone else in the store. Just thinking about it makes me throw up a little.

Finally, when you are done slogging around the store, collecting your weekly crap in your cart, you get to wait on long lines for checkout. That is until several years ago when self-checkout debuted at grocery stores around the country. I don’t think I need to explain or include a picture of it because if you have never heard of it you are probably are living in a hole somewhere putting lotion on the skin so you don’t get the hose again.  For the rest of us, this was a fantastic turn of events. No more long lines when all I want is some ice cream and a soda. No more looking at people in disdain for having more than 10 items in the express checkout line.  13 is not 10 asshole, go to the regular one and stop screwing it up for everyone else!

Early on it was a grocery store Utopia, mostly because people hate change so they avoided using them, making quick store exits a regular occurrence. But like with everything else nowadays, it is impossible to obtain a nice quiet Utopia for more than 5 minutes. Eventually people started using them more and more, and now they have become a frustrating nightmare due to several specific user groups that need to take their asses back to the regular line.

Old People:  Yup, just like the poor old lady that drifts into the fast lane on the highway, confused old people will sometimes drift into the self-checkout where the frustrating world of touch screen technology awaits them.  It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad watching them get in a kerfuffle just trying to start the machine to scan their first item.  Once their head pops up looking for help you know there is no chance they will ever be able to complete their checkout alone.  If you see this, run far and fast, they will be there for most of the afternoon before complaining that the machine doesn’t take checks.

Health Nut People:  You look and see that they are young, healthy (they are most likely still in their workout clothes.  We get it, you have copious amounts of free time and can do whatever you want, stop rubbing our faces in it) and they have a small bag of food.  Unfortunately, it is mostly fruit and veggies which don’t have barcodes.  Now you get to watch while they rant and rave to the staff that they can’t seem to find locally sourced, organic Kale-quats and this month’s trendy ancient grain in the veggie list on the machine.  Don’t they know they can just buy these?

Kamut, Quinoa, and Splet.  Is this food or the Rosetta Stone for instant Scrabble victory?

Kamut, Quinoa, and Splet. Is this food or the Rosetta Stone for instant Scrabble victory?

Not only do they make a big deal about it, they then have to explain to everyone around them the health benefits of this unnatural fruit/veggie hybrid and their general shock that no one else has ever had a similar problem.  No, we haven’t had that problem because a normal person would just choose Kale, put it on the scale thing, and then drop it in the bag.  Now run home and eat your spelt or whatever the hell healthy people do with their free time.

Beer Guy:  Not sure how it is in other states, but in California, it is illegal to buy booze at the self-checkout.  Everyone knows this because of the huge red letter signs all around the self-checkout area that say “NO ALCOHOL CAN BE SOLD AT SELF CHECKOUT STATION”.  This never stops beer guy, who strolls on up in his board shorts, with his party bag of Doritos, and cube of Coors light.  He is then shocked and appalled that he can’t buy his beer in a place where it is not legal to do it, is clearly stated on 5 different signs, and no one else waiting has a drop of alcohol in their baskets.  We then get to hear his rant about how “he is 40 and should be able to buy booze anywhere he wants, this is America, this is bullshit, I want to see the manager, TED CRUZ!!!.”  Maybe you should try learning to read instead of stuffing Doritos in your face and getting drunk on shitty beer you stupid asshole.  The rest of us want to get home and eat Ice cream sandwiches and watch Game of Thrones.  Go to a fucking liquor store and get the hell out of the way.

Full Shopping Cart Guy: I am sad to report that this final one is because of me.  Working in technology over the years has made me very brash when it comes to any type of tech.  That, coupled with a previous viewing of Employee of the Month, I felt I could handle any type of speed grocery scanning situation that could possibly come up. So my tech savy and strange knowledge of Dane Cook movies led me to the self-checkout with a half full shopping cart of items and certain embarrassment.  I began scanning and bagging only to quickly realize that there wasn’t enough room on the platform for all my stuff and each time and item was shuffled, the weight sensor came down on my like a hammer.  This lead to constant shuffling of items in and out of bags, brow sweat, and a slight sense of panic.  It wasn’t until my head came up and I saw the look of absolute horror on the people waiting behind me that I realized I had become what I despised.  I finished my work and walked out in shame trying not to hear the droning mumbles of shithead and asshole from the line of 10 people behind me.  Lesson here, if you have a cart, get the hell out of self-checkout and more importantly, don’t watch Dane Cook movies.

Well I am back from the store with my Doritos and soda pop (kids still say soda pop..right?)  Time to sit back on the couch and mentally prepare myself for next week’s $200 shopping trip.  Hopefully before that time comes they will invent some kind of push button food making machine.  I would say like in the Jetson’s but I am not sure anyone knows what that is anymore.  Good god I am old.

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