Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Things I Hate: Self Checkouts

Today's post was inspired by Mike's tale of shopping woe and Amanda's comment thereon.

In Mike's post, he described the experience we have all had of picking what seems to be the shortest checkout line, only to find himself behind the Customer From Hell who holds up the entire line because of: (a) a rejected credit card; (b) a disagreement about the price of an item; (c) the need to scrutinize the receipt line-by-line because it just couldn't be that much and the $#%@ store is obviously trying to cheat him/her; or, (d) he/she is just a dumbass. Amanda commented that she just goes to the self-checkouts now, having been caught in similar situations all too often.

Now, I love Amanda (virtually, of course, not wanting to incur her husband's wrath), but I think she's way off base on this one. If Dante were alive today, he would surely have designated one of the lower circles of hell for the inventor of the self-checkout.

Here is the abridged list of Bilbo's problems with self-checkouts...

1. The recording that says: "You have purchased an age-restricted item. Please wait. Help is on the way." Oddly enough, age-restricted items include both alcoholic beverages and cough medicine. And the help that's on the way is coming from Ulan Baator, Mongolia.

2. The little scale that weighs the bag with your purchases in it and notifies a store drone if it thinks you've put something in the bag you haven't scanned. God forbid a fly should land on that'll make the acquaintance of the store's unsmiling security people.

3. When you buy a very lightweight item (like a greeting card) which doesn't weigh enough to start the conveyor belt to take it to the bagging area, and the system petulantly refuses to let you scan anything else because it thinks there's a problem.

4. You have purchased an obscure vegetable that doesn't have its picture on the main screen, and you have to search for it by name...and the name the store calls it doesn't match what you call it (example: is it celery root or is it celeriac? Coriander or Chinese parsley?). Oh, and speaking of celery root/celeriac, if you try to buy it at a checkout manned by a live person, chances are near 100% that person will have no idea what it is, and will need to call a supervisor for help.

5. The roll of receipt tape is specially designed to run out just as it tries to print your receipt. "Please wait. Help is on the way." From Ulan Baator.

6. If you go to 10 different stores, every one will have a different style of card scanner at the checkout (swipe card on left side, right side, or top; magnetic strip up or down; buttons arranged differently; etc, etc). You'd think they'd standardize. After all, we finally managed to settle on VHS tapes and Blu-Ray discs.

7. The bozohead ahead of you in the line at the self-checkout who needs three days to bag their purchases, and gets angry with you when you try to check out and your items threaten to mix with theirs in the bagging area.

8. (Okay, this one isn't specific to self-checkouts, but it drives me nuts, anyhow) The moron who finishes scanning his/her purchases, then stands there staring at the screen before realizing that, "Oh! I need to pay for this!", then spends ten minutes rummaging in a purse or wallet for the right card, then tries to understand the card scanner (see #6 above), then gets upset when the purchase is declined...which takes you back to Mike's post.


An Invention from Hell.

With help always on the way from Ulan Baator.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



KKTSews said...

my gripe about the scale for the bags: if you are environmentally-conscious and bring your own, it causes the bag scale to go nutty. Why can't they zero out at the beginning with your bags on it?

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I only do self check outs if I have one or two things and then only at Walmart where most of the help has only a half a brain cell.

John A Hill said...

I choose not to use self check out lanes because I feel that it takes away a job from somebody that needs one. Besides, I'm a people person and prefer the opportunity to bring a moment of happiness to somebody that might be having a miserable day.

wv: rhall--the corridor after qhall

michelle said...

i only use self checkout if i only have a few things and they all have barcodes. the self checkout at home depot is actually pretty good

Leslie David said...

Haha, I haven't had as much fun as you have--for the most part I do the self checkout, but hate all the plastic bags it generates--some of them don't go nuts when I put my cloth bag on the scanner, which is good. As for the obscure grocery items, I'm the one who tells the scanner or checkout person what it really is--my food service training comes in handy at recognizing weird produce. It beats being behind the dumbass who is clueless about what they're buying, or remembers the one item they "forgot" and have to go back and get while holding you up in the checkout line.

Mike said...

The first time I tried a self check out it failed. I've never been back. I agree with John. Save a job for somebody.

Wv: jersism - The old version of a state religion now called new jersism.

craziequeen said...

Hey Bilbo,

I did some till work, so I am rather speedy on the self-serve tills - but even I am caught out by the vagaries of technology now and then.

Today I was caught behind out a guy who had a trolleyful and slowly took out an item at a time, turned, swiped, put it carefully in bag, turned, took out item, turned, swiped, put it carefully in bag, turned, slowly took out an item at a time, turned, swiped, put it carefully in bag, turned, took out item, turned, swiped, put it carefully in bag, turned,slowly took out an item at a time, turned, swiped, put it carefully in bag, turned, took out item, turned, swiped, put it carefully in bag......



WV - foonisms......kewl!

allenwoodhaven said...

I refuse to use self checkouts. Their evil master plan is to do away with everyone in the service industry, have us do all the work and then pay them for the privilege Think of the profits when we order the goods, stock the shelves, do the shopping, check ourselves out and bag our purchase. When that happens they will only need someone to count the money they "earn".

Amanda said...

LOL! It looks like I'm alone here! You must come to Brisbane and try the self checkouts here :) I even have fun using them!