Unique New York

Just like a regular woman, only crankier.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Build a Fence around the Self-Checkout Lane

I recently heard that New Yorkers are the most angry drivers. I shall let the world know: Our anger does not stop from the safety of the dashboard of our beat up Honda Accords.

At Waldbaums today, I stood in the rush hour line for the self checkout. As a girl who has been inside many, many Super Wal-Marts, I loooove the self-checkout line. It is the perfect blend of neurotic control and avoidance of eye contact that I crave in a shopping experience. The line was about ten people deep and growing, and I watched bemusedly as I saw a woman scan a container of romano cheese over and over, until she tried to flag the kiosk monitor lady to let her know that she was unable to complete her transaction. I saw a woman who had a total of three things take about five minutes to get through the prompts, and then flip through a barrage of credit cards that were in that death grip plastic before she selected the correct one. And I saw a guy with a full cart of produce slowly scan a 5 pound bag of oranges, a five pound bag of apples, and a variety of other loose produce. He was five people ahead of me and I was finished paying and out the door while he was still figuring how to scan and not have to place the item in the bag.

I realize that a post about the grocery store is a little redunculous. Okay. But here's the thing...when you don't do these things, my eyeballs bleed, and the saints cry. Plus, when you have four people at four kiosks doing the same sad, ineffective motions, we look like a pile of apes trying to figure out fax machines. Blinking lights? Grunt, scratch, huh?

This leads me to the following: Criteria for the self-checkout lane. This means that if you endorse any of the following items, you must endure the snarling grimaces of the post-pubescent bundles of cheer located in aisles 13, 14, and so on. Here is the list of exclusionary criteria:

1. You have cataracts with the relative opacity of a cremini mushroom.
2. You are the age when you need reading glasses but refuse to wear them, and then cannot see the codes for produce without a guided audio tour.
3. You are unable to program your outgoing voicemail message because you frustrate too easily.
4. You have a syndrome in which you are unable to look behind you and see a growing queue of angry faces.
5. You are an obsessive coupon clipper.
6. You have no idea what a touch screen is, are unfamiliar with a bagging and scanning area that is also a scale...incidentally, if this applies to you, you probably cannot figure out why you cannot hear your child talking to you on speaker phone while you run water and continue to shout in frustration, "I can't hear anything you're saying!"

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, if you have avoided the above criteria (many of which can be avoided with modest interventions and/or surgery), here are some tips for successfully getting through the self-checkout lane, and successfully NOT pissing me off.

1. Treat each time you go to the checkout lane as a timed-lap trial where you are constantly beating your last time. People like this option because it appears fast. Those of us who like this lane secretly think that the checkout people employed at various stores are S-L-O-W. We want to beat them. We want to show them up at their own game. In addition, we want to make it easier for the aforementioned angry faces. Think about your last time at a bar when there was one bathroom and a really long line to pee. How happy were you when the person in front of you got in, tinkled, washed hands, and moved on? I love those people. They are aware of their surroundings and are trying to be considerate of a crowded situation. This is the same thing. Do something for your fellow man, and on your mark, get set, go!

2. Along with the fast theme, when you are in line, pay attention to the prompts, so you can speed through those. They take up too much time. You likely a) don't have a club card, b) don't want money back, c) don't have coupons, d) don't want cash back. Skip, skip, skip, skip. Beep, beep, boop, MOVE ON.

3. While waiting, pull out your card/cash (please let it be a card. Cash takes WAAAY to damn long).

4. Before you start scanning, get your plastic bags or sacks ready. Make a plan.

5. Get out with an awesome speed, and then smile and wave at the people whose lives you have just made a little better. Well done.


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