Skip to content

Check It Out

Okay, folks. For those of you who need to have it spelled out, here is the new rule for considerate living in the 21st century: You cannot check out your own groceries at one of those self-service check-out aisles if you have too many items to carry in your arms. If you need a shopping cart to haul them around, please please please use one of the friendly folks in the full service lane. That’s what they’re they’re for.

The reason you cannot use the self-service lanes is that you are too slow. You cannot match the professional register staff. Not only a well-paid and highly motivated professional staff, but even the lackadaisical ones are faster than you are at whipping groceries through the laser scanner. They can’t help it. That’s what they do all day, so they know where the UPC bar code is, they know just how sensitive the scanner is, they know just how much space they have to work with, they are intimately familiar with the menu for special cases, they’ve memorized some of the more troublesome SKU numbers, and they have lots of practice opening those fussy plastic bags.

If you just want to buy an onion and a jug of milk, you should be fine in the self-serve line; you can only delay the line by two items’ worth of inefficiency. But if you have a fairly typical hundred-or-so items in your cart, you will delay everyone behind you a hundred times over, making them relive the slowest grocery line you’ve ever been in, including the ninety-year-old lady who insists on paying by check after attempting to use expired coupons.

Self-serve lines are not there to speed your passage; they are there to cut payroll. Refusing to use checkout staff when you have every reason to does not make your life better in any way; it merely prevents some teen from earning pocket money for college, or some retiree from actually retiring now that the AIG meltdown cut his 401(k) in half. And it drives up the cost of health care as people behind you are driven to stress-induced conditions.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *