Tuesday, September 25, 2012

self checkout: code for "don't bug me" (and a giveaway!)

I was at Stop & Shop yesterday.

I was making a quick pit stop on my way home from school because I wanted a sandwich. Certain members of my family (aka Broski) tend to take the last of something and either not replace it, or not let anyone know it's gone. (ie. milk, cheese, etc.) Then the innocent pigs (aka myself) wander down looking for a sandwich, and all we (aka I) have to put on the bread is mayonnaise and lettuce. Yum?


Anyway, I got my items together and headed off to see my best friend, the self checkout. Normally it's all well and good, pleasant experience all around. In, out, and onto the stuffing of the face.

Not this time, folks. Not. this. time.

So I thought, before I go on to my story, I would take a moment to make a note about an invisible rule. A silent understanding that comes with the foreign gadget that is..... 

Let's begin.

I present to you, the self checkout at Stop & Shop.

We all love it, no? I mean, how can you not?

It is playtime for our inner children. Fulfilling the childhood dream of being a cashier. Don't shake your heads no -- I know we all at one time or another played "store". Scanning items, pushing buttons, fake money? You know, back when in our minds, being a cashier was the greatest job on this big blue marble?

Not to mention, the self-checkout makes it super simple to grab those fun feminine products, dart to the lane, zip in, zip out, and not have to endure even one awkward "hey, don't judge me, we all bleed red!" moment from any male cashier or bag boy alike.

Or hey, maybe you just don't feel like being social today.

Up against this mountain of positives, how can you deny that the self-checkout was the single most useful addition to grocery stores since the free sampling (aka lunch time) at Costco?

Of course, though, with all good things, come a set of rules you need to follow. And of course, those who don't follow them. I had a run-in with one of those people yesterday. But first, the most important rule (or guideline, if you will) to the self checkout:


Don't be scared. I suspect there are only a handful of offenders, as I've only encountered this a mere couple of times. Basically, give the person in front of you room to get their shit done. Don't hover. It's nice to respect a minimum of three feet between the person checking out, and the first person in line behind them.

With that in mind...........

As I was saying, I was shopping for last-minute items, and was using a coupon because I am a college student who tends to misplace her cheese & lettuce money at Kohl's & Target.

I'm mid-scanning, and a woman (who had apparently tragically fallen into a pool of perfume that day) and her husband strolled in behind me to wait.

As I'm scanning in my wrinkly, bottom-of-my-purse-since-last-Sunday coupon, Perfume Lady starts plopping her shit down inside the pile of baskets where I had just put my empty basket. This is right below where you swipe your credit card. I managed to quell the eye-roll that was desperately trying to escape, and continued to wrestle with my coupon so that the darn machine would scan it.

Let's face it: I was starving. Cranky. Not in the mood, lady.

If you couldn't tell, I'm not a huge fan of this hovering thing.

If you're paranoid like me, then your inner red flags are waving frantically as your brain is looking for its pepper spray screaming "back up off my debit card PIN number, you crazed thief!1!!1!!!" AKA, "please don't stand right in front of the credit card swipey thing."

Feeling rushed and pressured to hurry up, I more fiercely started rubbing my coupon on the scanner in ways that would make grandma raise an eyebrow. I couldn't help it-- this machine was just not taking my coupon. I think it knew I was getting flustered and was mocking me.

Much to my relief, it finally went through, and asked me to insert said coupon. Since there was only one, of course the machine didn't notice when my 0.0000000001 ounce strip of paper slid into the slot. So I'm waiting, and waiting
................................ and waiting
................................................. and waiting.

Meanwhile, Perfume Lady is still right next to me, but now she is poking around the lane, inspecting a receipt left behind by a former customer. Looking it over and just being nosy. Then she looked at my screen, no doubt wondering what was taking me so long, and then was all, "I think it wants you to insert your coupon".

Mind you, the screen was a faded purple color, blank other than big black words reading "INSERT COUPONS NOW."

Feeling the temperature of my tepid blood go up a degree or two, I said, "I already did, it's not detecting it or something." While in my head I'm thinking, "really? As long as we are shining lights on obvious facts, can we talk about how much perfume you're wearing?" while violently poking the "Help" button, to no avail.

She then starts scoping out other checkout lanes. Phew, the one behind mine opened up, and she started to gather her things. Finally, I can make a fool of myself in peace.

Determined to get my $1 off my 2/$6 boxes of FiberOne bars of individually wrapped sticks of chocolate-covered fiber, I was now desperate enough to seek help. There was a friendly looking pretty girl in a purple Stop & Shop shirt, not far away.


She must have seen my eye twitching in frustration as I approached her, and came right over saying that this "happens all the time." She, as if by magic, scanned something here, hit a button there, and POOF! I was able to pay and GTFO.

Thank you, my friendly Stop & Shop savior!

I packed up my stuff and darted out of the store giving one last stink-eye to Perfume Lady. Ha. That showed her.

Well. If she had seen me, it undoubtedly would have. ;)

In closing, respect the space of fellow self checkout users! We don't like to be crowded, and chances are, we don't like people! :p

And because you have been so good and stuck with me until the end (which was a lot farther from the beginning than I had anticipated), here-- have a chance or 3 to win a $10 Starbucks gift card on me.

Giveaway ends Sunday!