As I stood in line with my one item at the Kroger in London, Kentucky, I was infuriated to find that they had no self-checkout lanes. How in the world can these people call themselves a grocery store with no self check-out lanes? Was I expected to just stand there with all those other people who, from the look of their overflowing carts, only came to the grocery once a month? Yes, was the answer. So I stood and waited to purchase my bottle of allspice, and thought about how differently my thoughts were toward self-checkouts were now compared to when I first saw them.
I first saw a self-check out lane in Daytona Beach, Florida. My first thought was "I don't think so." I was completely and utterly turned off by them. It was bad enough having to fight for a parking spot, push around a squeaky-wheeled cart that inevitably veers to one side, and avoid other shoppers that were somewhat scary and often times aggressive. Now, the stores wanted me to do all the work?! I was expected to unload the items, scan them, bag them up, complete the transaction, thank myself, and head out to my car? I don't think so.
I, atop my high horse, self-righteously avoided all self-checkouts for months. Then finally, the day arrived. I had for some reason thought it a good idea to go to the local K-Mart in town. My mother had gushed at how great the Martha Stewart towel collection was and how you could only get them at K-Mart. She had made me promise to go check them out before I purchased anything in the towel family. Curisoity and the need for new bath towels drove to me the part of town that K-Mart called home. Daytona Beach's K-Mart had fallen on hard times since the advent of Wal-Mart and Target. While the other stores were in new, shiny shopping centers, K-Mart sat stubbornly in, well let's just say it, the ghetto. Mind you, the ghetto in Daytona Beach is similar to a less-friendly suburb in a non-Florida city, but you get my point.
I was amazed by the great towel selection and praised Miss Martha Stewart for making such quality for people like me who had to shop at K-Mart. I loaded up on a matching set and headed to the check out lanes, only to find ALL of them were self-checkouts. I was appalled. I thought about just leaving. Then I considered calling a manager over and telling her that I was not going to use one of those self-checkouts, but since this was the ghetto, I decided she may cut me. Finally, I decided to bite the bullett and do it. So off I went to check myself out.
|(A similar likeness to Miss BoomBoom)|
I just started quickly scanning my items and bagging them. Each time I scanned an item the machine made a beep and Miss BoomBoom grunted "mmmhhhmmm." I assumed that meant I was doing everything correctly. Had I been able to finish reading the instructional guide, I would have known to look at the monitor to see if any problems had occured. I would have probably also known to watch for the light on the pole above the register to start flashing. I finished up my scanning, and smiled at Miss BoomBoom.
I then looked at the monitor to see what my total was when I noticed it was flashing with an error message. Apparently, the second item I had scanned needed a price check and I was to wait before scanning anything else. All the items after the second had not been scanned or added to my bill. The flashing light was beckoning a manager to my register. "What?! You mean I have to do all this over?!" I asked to no one in particular. Miss BoomBoom then laughed and said, "Baby, what did you think that flashing light meant. Hmm?" "Well, I am sure I would have no idea since I was not able to read the instructions" I retorted. "Hmmph" said Miss BoomBoom.
After waiting about 5 minutes, my blood was boiling and I loudly said, "Just forget this!" I threw down the towels that I had unbagged and started stomping out of the K-Mart. The towels were strewn over the register, the bag stand, and in the floor. Miss BoomBoom yelled, "Hey! You can't just leave this here like this!" I yelled back from the door, "The hell I can't!"
It was at least a year before I tried a self-checkout again. When I did so, it was in the safety and comfort of a nice, new Target with a very helpful older lady showing me how to everything the correct way.
Now, here I am complaining when a store does not offer to let me do all the work via self-checkout. I have come a long way, but I am sure a new shopping mishap could happen at any point.