Mar 19, 2012

Express Stress

I've got a silly little pet peeve that struck a nerve a couple of times in the past few days. So allow me to go off on a rant.

I do most of the food shopping in the house.  Mostly because I do most of the cooking, and I shop for what I need.  I'm not good at planning ahead, so I wind up hitting the supermarket 3-4 times in a given week. Sometimes only to pick up 6 or 7 items.  It's not time or cost effective, but it's just the way that I'm built.  Not much I can do about it.  Besides, sometimes I get in the mood for a certain meal on a whim. Hard to plan around whims.

So this particular pet peeve has to do with the Express Checkout lane at the market. We have automated checkout lanes and regular lanes with human checkout clerks. Both have Express Checkout lanes. You know, the type with a big sign that says "12 Items or Less" hovering someplace in plain fucking sight.  And I have an awful habit of counting how many items the person in front of me has.  7 items?  You're good! 15 items?  Wait a minute, pal...get in the correct lane!

But, generally, as long as the person in front of me is quick and gets through their checkout without any problems I'm fine. 

It's the 99.99% of the time when the person is an absolute fucking idiot that I lose my fucking mind!

Take my last two trips to the market as examples. The first trip I was picking up a few items to make some baked potato soup with green onions, cheddar and bacon.  Mostly I needed the green onions, cheddar and bacon. I was set on everything else. Hehehe.  So I grabbed my items and headed to the automated checkout counter.  The dude in front of me looked like a good dude. Interesting facial hair, NY Yankee baseball cap...he seemed alright. Until I wound up hating him.

He was purchasing some stuff for a party. Greeting cards, wrapping paper, gift bags, flowers, a balloon...those kind of things.  I immediately noticed he had around 16 items, so some mild warning bells starting ringing in my brain.  Then he proceeded to demonstrate no knowledge of ever having used an automated checkout counter before.  EVER!  He needed management assistance for no fewer than 5 items in his cart.  Including the balloon, which threatened to escape to the ceiling.  Also, he had no idea how to proceed after scanning the balloon because he couldn't place it on the conveyor belt for the sensor to recognize it.

It. Was. A. Nightmare!!!  And it took forever.

Yet, I found myself at the same market at the same automated "Express" lane the very next day.  This time I was pleased to find a guy with only 7-8 items in his basket.  This made me optimistic. But then that optimism turned to despair in mere moments. He also had never used one of these machines before, apparently.  And all the items in his bag were of the fresh produce variety.  So he had to look each one up individually.  At an average of 2-3 minutes an item.  This was worse than the previous experience. But not by very much. Both sucked.'s not that I really mind the extra items or the occasional need for assistance from a manager.  I've been there, had an extra item and needed that assistance.  Not to this level, however. And it goes against the very nature of what this lane is all about. EXPRESS SERVICE!!! The lanes exist to facilitate a quick checkout, get it? And there are no apologies ever.  It's like this is their world and I'm just living in it. 

That's actually the basis of the pet peeve. People with no regard for anyone else.  Whether they fail to signal when driving or slow an express lane to an absolute halt.  I just hate those people. 

Because you know they would be the first one to complain if, God forbid, THEY were ever inconvenienced.



RW said...

I always go to a human being.

Kevin McKeever said...

The Yankee cap should you 1st clue he was trouble.

I have the same peeve about people not knowing how to use the automated scanners, especially when they have more than a handful of items. Idjiots!

Verdant Earl said...

RW - I'm on my way toward hatred of all humanity. So I try to avoid it at all cost.

Uncool - Hey! :)

savannah said...

amen, brother! xoxoxo

Paticus said...

I am with you on this, and even more so on the people with a blatant disregard for anyone else. That drives me insane. And they seem to be increasing at an exponential rate.

Verdant Earl said...

Savannah - I realize I'm preaching to the choir here. :)

Paticus - People suck.

Slyde said...

"The dude in front of me looked like a good dude. Interesting facial hair, NY Yankee baseball cap...he seemed alright. "

You KNOW that you're gay, right?

Avitable said...

I've heard that a lot of places are getting rid of the automated systems because they're actually less efficient for those exact reasons.

Verdant Earl said...

Slyde - Only for you, snookums.

Adam - I can totally see that. This particular chain (Stop 'n Shop) is the only one in my area that has them. The rest all use real folk.

Heff said...

I always go to a human as well. I'm probably too retarded to run the self checkout.

sybil law said...

I used the automated checkout the other day - I had quite a few items, though - only, the store wasn't remotely busy (except for the lanes with human checkouts) and there wasn't any line. I bought a green pepper, so I tried looking under G, then GR on the thing. Nope. Then I tried P for peppers, and I was pissed because - hello - green peppers are pretty common, and it should've been right there, but noo. I had to scroll through a page or two to find it. THAT pissed me off. Otherwise, I am fast as hell on those machines. Also, we have machines for it that are Express, and the one I was on was for people who hate people I guess, because there's no limit.
Now - how's about that potato soup recipe? I canNOT make a good potato soup, and it drives me nuts. I LOVE potato soup!!

Verdant Earl said...

Sybil - I'll email ya!

Verdant Earl said...

Heff - no comment. ;)

Ren said...

It seems like most of the self-checkout lanes in our area are in groups of four so you don't actually have to commit to any particular one. Usually, I find at least one is available when I walk up, but when that isn't the case, you queue up for the whole set, nicely mitigating the problem of one or two problem customers.

BioniKat said...

I don't think that automated system would ever take off here in South Africa, thank goodness. For one thing, its taking a living person's job away and secondly that would probably be the slowest queue in the shop for the very same reasons you've elaborated on - human error and inefficiency!

Verdant Earl said...

Ren - Mine has four as well, but it's not one queue for the set of them, but individual queues for each. And if they are all full, you have to try to judge who is the moron. And I always pick the moron line. Might say something about me. ;)

Momcat - It's a fine line. Taking human jobs away for efficiency and making my life easier. Never seems to happen that way.