Monday, April 02, 2007

I'd fire you all - and replace you with machines.

There are few things that piss me off more than supermarkets. Okay - maybe that isn't the truth, but supermarkets are way up there. Peoples excessive personality ticks really seem to come out in stores.

But that isn't the reason for my rant today. Today it is unions. Thats right - I said it.

This is the scenario.

I'm in my usual 10 items or less - find the fastest way out routine. I carefully check my 5 containers of wheat grass for bar-codes. Yeah - I don't know who eats that crap either. But someone must - because it is always in the store, and the healthiest grass you've ever seen.

Apparently the whole world has bunnies or people must really consume a lot of this stuff. Anyway. This is what I'm buying:

5 containers of wheat grass
1 Baby Simethicone (bunnies sometimes get air in their bellies)
1 still warm loaf of French Bread.

We proceed to the self checkout line. Now - I would not have attempted this if my grass didn't have bar-codes on them. That would be downright sadomasochistic.

I scan the first bar-code. Of course - an error pops up. The handy person manning the machines tells me they aren't in the system - and asks if I know how much they are.

In my head I think - um.... no. It has a bar-code. Thats what bar-codes are for.. to tell the checker how much things cost.

Since I don't know how much they cost - we wind up getting into another line. I make a comment to my husband that you would think that everything with a bar-code would be in their system. Anyway....

At this point there are 3 people in front of us, and we begin to wait.

After a few minutes of animated eye movement - yes, my husband and I can have a whole conversation with our eyes - a gentleman in front of us strikes up a conversation. Apparently he had been watching us.

He says the following:
"I am glad you chose not to use the self checkout machines. Each one of those things cost 4 people their jobs". He says " I'm in the union".

First - I didn't really choose not to use the machines. Second - because you are in a f-ing union - I bet 4 more checkers would not make this line go any faster.

Normally - I might have said something agreeable. But I couldn't even feign that because in my head I was having all sorts of sarcastic thoughts. So I uncomfortably laugh and don't say anything. Then - I look over at the self checkout machines. 1 out of 4 is being used.

Also note - we are in the fast checkout lane, and we have been in line for 5 minutes at this point. I look around to see if I can get into another line. There are now about 10 people behind us. Every line stretches out into the isles.

Finally the checker starts ringing us up. Well sort of. She starts calculating the wheat grass in her head out loud... and I wouldn't call her a math wiz. I look at her in a confused way because I wasn't sure what she was calculating. I really had never seen a checker not scan every item. At least not short of being in a country store. My husband finally gave her the total, and she makes a comment about not wanting to burn up the buttons on the register. she kidding me? By now she recognizes I'm getting irritated. Okay - the possibility exists she might have seen my husband and I having an eye conversation. But if she was a little busier doing her job, she wouldn't have. I mean, it wasn't like she could overhear us.. she would have to be watching us.

At this point she is looking and acting like she would rather be any place else on earth. And I have to tell you I'm not really sympathetic the company is trying to hire less of these people. If you loath being a checker so f-ing much, stop trying to make me care you are at risk for loosing your job. Because I don't.

As a matter of a fact - if she didn't make it so obvious she was working as slowly as possible to justify her barely having a pulse position, I wouldn't want to use the self checkout machines so often. But now I want to use them exclusively.


  1. I fracking love the self check out machines. However there are those who should be permanently banned from ever using them. Included are, my husband, my dad, and my friend Jane.

    I somehow always get sandwiched between the "Clueless-Self-Scanner, and "Heavy-Sighing-Impatient-Guy". And I'm not sure who is more irritating.

    ZOMG!!! That unknown item in the bagging area is your fricken purse!!! YES IT IS A SCALE!! IT WEIGHS YOUR CRAP!!!!!!!!!

    oops, sorry.

  2. This is a classic rant. I think that we all have been through this experience. The self check out things rocks. When the railroads were first invented the unions tried to fight that too, but it only ended up creating more jobs. It's a brand new scary world, we all have to adapt.

  3. MDG- I was wondering if you were going to comment on my entry. I read your blog. ;-) Luckily I am more of a shoot death rays out my eyes kind of impatient person.

    Oh yeah- No one uses the word "fracking" unless you watch Battlestar Galactica- right?

    Davis - The thing is... most checkers these days seem to not enjoy their jobs. It is a really menial type of position.

    It used to be that being a checker was a high paying gig. So standing around all day waiting for old people to scrounge change from the bottom of their purses was worth it.

    Now - not so much - so why not let the machines take over so they can move onto a position they hate less? And why torture me in the mean-time?

  4. Oh you KNOW I have something to say about those things and thier users!

    I have not been watching BSG lately, I know it's back on, but husband works nights now, and I know that they changed the schedule so I can never remember when it's on. I don't even know if Starbuck is alive. Pshaw, of course she is!

  5. MDG - you are too funny!

    "I don't even know if Starbuck is alive. Pshaw, of course she is! "

    I am a reluctant viewer. Maybe even a hostage. Okay.. Mr Snarkolepsy - I'm just kidding.
    -Just kidding.-

    MDG - you should really get a Tivo.. they are super cheap these days. Then I could express the complete ridiculousness of that story line.

  6. Yeah, I'm a bit of a SciFi geek, and Sarge is not. So it surprised me when got so excited that they were doing BSG. I guess it's the whole "I watched it when I was 10!!!" thing. I really could care less, except for Helo and Apollo. Um, Yum. And I can appreciate the quality of the show. It's pretty awesome for a tv show.
    Okay...I like it.
    As far as the Tivo. I know we should get one. We still have a VCR that we use to tape shows and then never watch. What I would like to have would be a Tivo and a DVD burner, so I could burn DVD's of Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, Take Home Chef, and Trading Spaces for Piko to watch when we make the drive up to Maine this summer. My kid has strange taste in tv.

    Anyway, ridiculous Starbuck story line? Do tell. Does it involve Lee taking his shirt off?

  7. Oooh, and hey, I just noticed I made your sidebar! Thanks!

  8. "What I would like to have would be a Tivo and a DVD burner"

    You and me both. Those are still pretty pricey. In a few years Tivo will have it so you can link your home machine to the DVR in your SUV. Patent pending - patent pending.

    Then you wont have to carry tapes or CD's around.

    "so I could burn DVD's of Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, Take Home Chef, and Trading Spaces "

    OMG! I love Dirty Jobs and Mythbusters. I was -so- bummed when they did a segment in my city and I didn't know about it so I could go and take pictures.

    If you like Dirty Jobs, you should try out Deadliest Catch - unless you are -just- watching to get a pec-flex from Mike. ;-)

    "Anyway, ridiculous Starbuck story line? Do tell. Does it involve Lee taking his shirt off?"

    ) No -

    I just thought if you were going to do a huge character arc - it is stupid to just bring the character back two episodes later. What is the drama in that?

  9. Mythbusters is an Evil Family Favorite!

    I agree with you on the checkers.

    Yesterday I was at Kmart and instead of placing my already scanned items in the bags, the cashier was carefully piling them up next to the scanner--so close that I was afraid they would scan again. GIven their position, I couldn't bag them myself.

    After she'd scanned everything, she began bagging. It was bizarre.

    I love self checkout when it works right.

  10. "Mythbusters is an Evil Family Favorite!"

    I was wondering how I can gotten so many interesting - completely different people to read my blog.

    Apparently I've picked up the Mythbusters demographic. ;-)

    Not too long ago - I had a checker start singing to me - because my name is part of a popular old 70's song. (I was paying with a credit card) Again, I only had like two items.

    I tried to be polite the first 2 times, but by the third time when she wasn't getting the response she wanted - she gave me a "have a blessed day" - I can't believe you wont play along thing.

    This was after watching her forget to give a customer change. The customer had to prompt her.

    Then she was put out by the guy in front of me - with one item - who paid with a 20. She didn't want to count out the coins. When he couldn't produce the change portion, she got all huffy.

    Then they wonder why so many people like these self checkout machines.