Monday, January 21, 2008

Self Check-Out Lanes....

Yeah. "Self Check-out" was exactly what I felt like doing while waiting in line at the store today. Torture. Pure torture. How annoying!

So, have you ever been brave enough to use the 12-items-or-less self checkout lanes at the grocery or other Big Box store? Let me take a moment to splash some Holy Water on you first, because the thoughts that will run through your mind as you are trying to proceed through the one million steps you have to go through for your 12 items or less, are enough to send you straight to hell!

Let me set it up for you. But first, let me tell you that this is not the first time we have used these self-checkout lanes in a store. Why do we keep doing it if it's annoying enough to blog about? Well, because it seems like a really good idea when you see the long lines at the other check-outs, and you only have a few items of course - that's why! And just like giving birth, the mind has a way of blocking out all the pain and agony of the process once it's over, so that you can be tricked into doing it again. I'm digressing....

Ok, so here we are at Big Box Superstore (Meijer) getting our 12-items or less (a couple of Matchbox cars for the boy to make up for leaving the bowling alley because there was a 1.5 hour wait!). Yes well, you've got to know that it's in my genes that I can not walk into a Big Box Superstore and only get the item I intended to buy. Not when this store has a grocery AND department store within it. So what started out in the toy aisle with such enthusiasm for our purchase, detoured us to the grocery section where I figured I'd get a few things while we were there. Of course, the pet section is located smack in the middle of the two so we have to navigate through the cries of "I want a hamster!", "Look! More fish for my tank!", "Can we get a bird?"... ugh...

Now that the groceries have been picked up, the husband is annoyed because the wife keeps thinking of other things to grab (since we're here and all), the kids begin to pick up on the sense that this is not going as planned. Child A begins to get himself in trouble and threats of putting the cars back on the shelf start to sputter from the mouths of the grumpy adults. Child B decides that now is a good time to need a clean diaper. No, it can't wait. Trust me. Scissor, paper, rock and I'm the lucky loser.

Now that we've managed to break a sweat from the combination of wool coats still being worn throughout the store, and the spiking blood pressure from feeling like we've just entered the Twilight Zone but we only wanted a Matchbox car, we were ready to check out. Cool - no waiting at the 12-items-or-less check-yourself-into-the-loony-bin-when-you're-through line. Let's go there! Now comes the fun part....

It begins with a sampling of "I want to do it! I want to do it!" from Child A, who sees no harm in scanning his Matchbox cars himself. And really, it is a no-brainer, so why not? "Beep" as the first one scans. "Beep" as the second one scans. "Please put your items in the bag" the machine chirps at us. Child A argues with the machine that he wants to hold his cars, NOT put them in a bag. The light on the register begins to blink, which now signals Man-With-Red-Vest to shuffle over to see what the problem is. We get everything under control and Man-With-Red-Vest leaves to go help the next sorry soul at another 12-items-or-less-self-checkout lane. So, the scanning continues as each item has it's own bar code issue. "Beep, please scan the next item" - we did, and placed the item in the bag. Angry machine does not approve. "Beep, please put your item in the bag". IT IS IN THE STUPID BAG!!!!! "Beep, please see attendant for assistance". Here comes Mr. Happy Vest again. Oh, and how convenient, his trusty card swiper doesn't want to register in the machine we're using to override the incessant beeping. He throws in some joke about the computer crashing again because it uses Windows (whatever!) and tells us to use another lane. How could this death be ANY slower?

By now, Child A has met his threshold of being patient and wanting to open the cars and get the heck out of there. Child B has met her threshold of no nap yet and still being strapped into the grocery cart. Adult #1 has the patience of a Saint with an occasional eyeroll (ahem, I am not Adult #1 in this story. Ever, really.) Adult #2 is in need of an absorbent towel to collect the beads of perspiration forming on her brow and upper lip. While we're waiting, the thought crosses my mind that I could always run over to the beauty aisle and replenish my deodorant for the remainder of this wait in this line. Or maybe a trip to the beverage aisle and get something that would go perfectly with an olive garnish to calm my nerves. And a straw so that I can get it in really fast to stop the pain!!

After about 20 minutes, more help from the Man-With-Red-Vest, and two kids now resembling a scene from The Exorcist, we were on our way. What is the point of those check-out lanes if you need assistance through your entire experience? Waiting at the bowling alley for an hour and a half until getting a lane might have been a lot easier than trying to leave this store. I dare you all to use one of those check-out lanes the next time you are at a store that has them. You must have 11 items, not just one - that would be way too easy.

You can even borrow the kids any time you want so that you can have the full effect.....

2 comments:

John said...

I slit my veins at one of those self check out things. Really. . . No REALLY. . . the blood stains are still there.

Why do they check the weight AFTER you have scanned it. SO YOU CAN STEAL IT FROM YOURSELF!!!! They do not know the weight of each item either. What is the use of that "bagging area" anyway. To keep the red vest people employed?

John said...

How long do I have to look at this now deceased fish?