Sunday, October 25, 2009

Self Check-out Salvation

I dislike lines. Not the necessary lines of life that can not be avoided, like waiting at the airport check-in counter, but the ones where the wait can be avoided. Like the supermarket check-out line.

It seems I am always behind the cell phone lady who decides to look for her debit card after the cashier is finished ringing up the order. Miss "I'm- too-busy-to-get-off-my-cell-phone" then performs the ritual thirty-second purse search, determines that her debit card is lost and decides to write a check, but can't find a pen . . . and on and on, it goes.

While I wait. Just a diet Coke and me. Waiting. And somewhere around her pen-search my head flops against the magazine rack and I ask the Fount of all that is Good what evil I have committed. And I curse. I pray and I curse. While I wait.

Which is why I am so fond of the self-checkout. Human contact be damned, I'll take the vicissitudes of this machine any day. I have heard the arguments against them, loss of personal interaction and frequent breakdowns of the software, but frankly, the impersonal "personal contact" of the check out guy is annoying and the machines are not so unreliable. I actually like checking myself out.

But most importantly, charge, debit, cash or credit, they are faster . . . and quieter, and at the grocery store faster and quieter is better.


Jake Good said...

You must *really* not like standing in lines... :)

But I hear ya, for sure. I think the best part of the self checkout lines is that it forces people to be entirely responsible for their checkout experience. They'll get frustrated with machines and typically just not use them, which is all right by me!

"impersonal" personal contact... Half the time the people are just judging you for your purchases.

"Wow, Mr. Good, you have tampons, chocolate syrup, fried jalapeno poppers, and paprika. You must be going to a wild party!"

rambler said...

It's when the self-checkout machine announces "unexpected item in the bagging area" that I freak. Personally, I hate them, not for the human contact issue but for the speed. Anyway, there's usually one attendant for 4-6 self-checkout machines you can tell "have a nice day" it it thrills you,

Francis Shivone said...

Jake --- ah yes, I forgot about that post. Unfortunately, after 3 years of posting my weaknesses are exposed. Loved your last line . . .

Rambler: given that you quoted the machine verbatim I see that you have self checkout experience. I hate that phrase as well.