Tag Archives: people are tedious

Should You Use the Self-checkout?

I have written several times about the victories and defeats that happen each and every time I set foot in a grocery store–which is a minimum of four times a week–but there’s one thing I can no longer stay silent about.

Well, there are many things I can’t stay silent about, but this one is tops on the list–the self-checkout lane.

What should be an easy process–get in line, scan, pay, leave–is complicated by the fact that a) machines are machines and b) most people are not in fact smarter than the machine and make me question the whole theory of evolution.

So because I’m a helper, I have created a series of simple questions that will determine whether or not you should use the self-checkout lane.

selfcheckout

1. Can you count to 12? 

First of all, I’m referring to the Express self-checkout lanes. The sign says 12 items or less. It does not say, “Everything you can stick in the small-ass cart you chose instead of regular cart.”

And that does not refer to the number of item types, but the actual item count. For example, those 35 cans of soup that took you 15 minutes to pick out does not count as a single item. You are not a special snowflake. If everybody ignored this rule, it would just be a regular line.

So if you can’t count to 12, go through that regular line.

2. Can you form a straight line? 

In most cases, there are two sets of checkouts–three on each side. This does not mean that a line forms behind each one. There is one line–ONE LINE–that forms in the middle behind these two rows of machines.

And this is the important part: If you’re the first person in line, do not stand eight feet away from the middle of the two sides of checkouts, therefore blocking the rest of the floor for all the other shoppers and causing the line to snake all the way back through the produce section.

One line. A couple feet back from the registers. Not complicated.

3. Can you find the barcode on a product or match a picture on the screen to your product?

In order to scan an item, you have to scan the barcode. Find the barcode, scan it, and move on with your life. If there is no barcode, as is often the case with produce, they provide a menu on the screen that looks like a children’s matching game. See banana? Press banana button.

Yay! Look at you!

4. Can you put items in a bag?

You must place your scanned item in the bag. If you actually remembered to not only bring your reusable bag from home but also remembered to bring it into the store–showoff–use it and bypass trying to open the plastic bags provided (pretty good call.)

Either way, place the item in the bag. That’s it. If you put it back into your small-ass cart, the voice will yell at you that “an item has been removed.” If you place it there before you scan it, it will yell that there is an “unexpected item in bagging area.”

It’s all about timing. Scan. Place in bag. Proceed.

5. Can you flatten money to insert into the slot?

The voice coming out of the machine gives you two clear options–swipe card on the PIN pad or insert cash. That’s it. They’re telling you what to do. Don’t act surprised and look around, don’t pull out a wad of crumpled bills and expect them to be accepted, and don’t ask if you can write a check. 

You will always have to pay for your groceries. Swipe, insert bills, get a gold star. And seriously? A check? 

6. Can you move along when you’re done?

If there is a long line behind you, do not stand there when you’re done and read your receipt and all 300 extra pieces of paper that get pumped out of the printer with it like it’s a treasure map. There is nothing on that paper that is so important that you need to throw on the brakes and cause a backup.

Shuffle up a few feet and by all means, feel free to make a day out of your perusal. Just don’t block the now-vacant machine. Move it along there, buddy.

So I think that sums things up.

If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, reflect a bit on your limits, swallow your pride, and proceed to the nearest employee-manned checkout. 

Don’t be a hero.

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What Confucius Would Say Today

If pressed to give an answer, I would have to say that Confucius is my favorite Chinese philosopher whose name sounds like my constant mental state and who also has a bunch of funny parody quotes attributed to his name.

For example, “Man who make mistake in elevator wrong on many levels” or “Man who stands on toilet high on pot.”

Anyway, I sure he would be thrilled to be a thread on Reddit or a meme sensation right alongside Grumpy Cat and “Keep Calm and Confucius On” if he was alive today.

But I have to think that if he was around today, there might be a little bit different meaning and motivation behind the quotes he did actually write. So the editor in me took the liberty to “modernize” them as if he was writing them today.

Plus, who knows? Maybe he was initially misquoted. I think that happens on the Internet once in awhile.

Then: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” 
Now: I changed my mind. The exception to this rule is clearly illustrated below.

motive

Then: “Mens’ natures are alike, it is their habits that carry them far apart.” 
Now: For example, you can tell just by talking to some people that they lift up the car door handle every time that you go to unlock it.

Then: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” 
Now: Spoiler alert! Apparently you can’t just go and pull up to a drive-thru pharmacy and order what you want, so that’s a bit disappointing.

Then: “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” 
Now: And if that fall happens to be off the treadmill in front of a crowd, simply start kickboxing like a manic Jackie Chan as if it’s part of your fitness routine. No one will mess with that crazy.

Then: “If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.” 
Now: Actually, don’t bother because people on the Internet will let you know your mistakes in .02 seconds.

Then: “The cautious seldom err.”
Now: Which is why I dive behind my couch when someone pulls into my driveway like I’m hiding out from the mob or entered in the Witness Protection Program.

Then: “He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.” 
Now: Such as, “Why is the meaning of life” “Why are we here on this planet?” “What is a Nicki Minaj and is it contagious?”

Then: “Silence is a true friend who never betrays.” 
Now: By “silence,” I now mean “pizza.” Pizza is a true friend who never betrays, except when the directions instruct you to place the pizza directly on the oven rack. That means you cook for 13 minutes, and spend a week cleaning the crap off of the oven.

Then : “You cannot open a book without learning something.” 
Now: Let’s be clear about the word “book.” Some people need to pick up a real dictionary, not Urban Dictionary.

Then: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” 
Now: I should add that now, “I have a wonderful vocabulary of words I can only use when I write, simply because I don’t know how to pronounce them.”

Then: “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.”
Now: I actually never finished this one. It should have said, “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change their shirt if they’re fairly certain no one saw them wearing it the day before.”

Then: “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” 
Now: I would like to redact this one completely, as I’ve just returned from Walmart on a Saturday and now I stand corrected.

walmart

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Easy as 1, 2, 3

When given a set of instructions, my OCD kicks into overdrive and I find myself reading them over and over until I have them basically memorized and then refer back every five seconds to check what I’ve read and what I should do.

This does not mean I am good with them, as you know, but it’s not for lack of preparation. I maintain that I simply lack the gene that allows for implementation.

However, it’s become apparent that many adults these days lack the preparation, the implementation and the desire to actually read the instructions that are given to them.

Some examples, you say?

I have at least three.

Four-Way Stops

This is not nuclear physics. Basically the first vehicle to arrive at a complete stop is the first vehicle allowed to leave the stop sign. 

But yet people either speed right through or sit there and appear to contemplate the angle of the sun in proportion to the trajectory of the moon before concluding they should go — a decision often influenced by the fact everyone is waving them on with one select finger or honking their horns.

I know the rules and will stand my ground with one exception: If your car is held together with bungee cords and duct tape, I will always yield to you. You clearly have nothing to lose.

Email

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say I send out an email that ends with, “I have attached the form with the deadline included. Thanks, Abby.” Please note that my name is also included in the signature at the bottom of the email and in the return email address.

I can’t tell you the number of times I get a reply along the lines of, “Hi Anny/Amy/Bob! Can you please send me the form and let me know when the deadline is?”

And…headdesk.

This shows a blatant lack of effort and respect for my time, and also that of Anny/Amy/Bob, wherever and whoever they may be. And for the love of avocados, if it instructs, “Reply back directly and do not ‘reply all.’” Do not “reply all.” In fact, do not ever “reply all.”

Ever.

Self Checkouts

Despite the fact that the machine tells you what to do step-by-step both visually and out loud, it seems “scan item,” “place item in the bag” and “insert money” is interpreted as “poke at the screen for 5 minutes,” “yell about how you can’t find the picture of the bright yellow fruit on the screen” and “try to cram wrinkled dollar bills into the slot while swearing.”

And yet these people keep returning to the self checkout lanes as if actual interaction with the cashier is too much of an inconvenience.

I suppose if nothing else, watching these people justifies the necessity of the “do not eat” warning labels on silica gel packs.

Let’s hope that they follow directions.

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