Friday, 23 January 2009

The Joys of Self-Checkout

I suspected something was afoot when the cashiers no longer had those convenient bag holders so they could drop in the soup cans and juice boxes without a thought. Now, they struggled to place the items in floppy plastic bags left in a pile beside them. They were frustrated, we were frustrated.

Later, I discovered management was discouraging the use of plastic bags to force customers to buy their reusable ones. Okay, that's fine with me. I'm into recycling. Problem is, I keep forgetting my reusable bags at home.

Next trip, we decide to try out the self-checkout. After all, they have a carousel simply chock-full of bags aching to be filled.

I scan the easy items first. The lovely lady in the box says, "Please place the item in the bag."

I place the item in the bag, apparently not fast enough. The lady says again, "Please place the item in the bag."

I mutter at the screen, "I DID put the goddamn item in the bag." I take the item out and put it back in.

"Please scan the item you placed in the bag."

Gah! I already did that! I hesitate. Speaker chick says, "Please check with the attendant."

I look at the attendant. She sits behind a podium, chewing gum and texting her classmates.

The speaker box lady finally shuts up and I proceed to the produce. I place a bag of red peppers on the scale. The touch screen shows a variety of items. Red peppers are not among them. I stumble my way through the whole produce department before finally locating the peppers somewhere in the squash family.

When all the bags in the carousel are filled, I choose my payment method. Debit card poised, I wait for the cue. "Please swipe your card, stripe in."

I swipe. Nothing. I swipe again. "Please see the attendant."


Next time, I'll remember my reusable bags and visit my friendly cashier.


Barbara Martin said...

Did your store not have plastic bags for sale in case you forget to bring yours? The Valu-Mart I shop at does; however, I remember to bring my bags because I have to carry the groceries home in something. You could always keep a couple of extra reusable bags in your vehicle for those quick trips you only intend to get a few items.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

I try to remember the reusable bags, but inevitably they end up sitting by the front door.

The RCSS still has the plastic bags, but just no holders for the cashiers. I hate to watch them suffer!

Our No Frills charges a nickle a bag, and have been for a few years. I don't go there often though.

Bags or no bags, the lineup at Self-Checkout is always shorter. Not everybody has developed the skill to use it!

Anonymous said...

I only use the self checkout when some manager is standing there to show people how easy it is. The third time the lady in the box has the manager swearing or swiping a manager-override card, I say, "Usual rant." They laugh. But it's not a fun laugh.

Amber, for whom Blogger is not cooperating (again)

BernardL said...

You captured the experience very well, Sandra. I had to take a deep breath in the middle of reading it. :)

wordtryst said...

The largest supermarket chain here tried the reusable bag lark some years ago. Did not work, did not last. We're back to plastic for all.

Self-checkout sounds like a nightmare.

writtenwyrdd said...

Gah! I hate self checkouts! They just don't work! And if I have to go somewhere that uses them (Home Depot) I refuse to use them. Instead, they have the cashiers who have to use the thing for you. Isn't that bizarre?

Jamie Ford said...

Ah, self-checkout.

I'm sure teens everywhere are waiting for that to be installed at the local liquor store.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

By then, they'll have fingerprint I.D. and the teens will be out o' luck.

pjd said...

I heard a speech by "Heal the Bay," a group in Santa Monica that advocates for cleaning up the oceans. We are doing remarkable and devastating things to the oceans with our "disposable" plastic bags. For example, huge stretches of floating plastic are clogging the oceans, to the point where the plastic is more dense than the plankton. Did you know 75% of the Earth's oxygen comes from the ocean? Rainforest is important, yeah, but all that plastic that washes down the drains and into the oceans is choking the planet.

Good job using your reusable bags. I wish everyone would do it and get rid of the plastic. (Yes, we do use plastic from time to time, but we are cutting down dramatically in the hopes of weaning ourselves completely at some point.)

JKB said...


I had this happen over here too, but when I'm shopping I don't want to be autotranslating all the German. And when the voice gets pissy in German I get uptight.

(Thanks for visiting my blog, btw!!)

AstonWest said...

I, for one, love the self-checkout. I can't understand why they haven't implemented it at my nearby Wal-Mart, when any other Wal-Mart I've been to has it.

laughingwolf said...

i tried those for a while, in total frustration :(

superstore my foot! GRRRRRRR

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Look out! There's a wolf loose in The Real Canadian Superstore!

cindy said...

ha! i always prefer a person--but sometimes, very rarely, if i have a few items, i'll use the self-check out.

happy weekend!