Sometimes I like to scan my grocery items myself. The store gets an unpaid employee and I get the illusion of getting it done faster. The downside is when I find myself trying to please the self-scan machine. “She” starts off really nice then gets progressively bossier and more aggravated.
“Welcome Valued Customer! Please scan your special club card now. If you don’t have a special club card, please be prepared to pay five dollars for a can of corn. No, I’m not kidding. Just try me. Now scan your first item and place it in the bag. I haven’t got all day.”
Now that sounds easy enough. But it all goes downhill from there. You do as you’re told: you scan the item and put it in the bag. It sounds like a simple task, but more often than not, you have displeased the machine. You can practically hear the irritation in her voice:
“Please place the item in the bag. IN. THE. BAG!”
So, you try to rescan the item and fail miserably. This really puts her wires in a twist. She gives you a heavy sigh and then laments, “Please wait for cashier’s assistance. You are too stupid for words. I’ve got a better idea. Reload your cart and go find a lane with a real cashier and leave this job to the paid professionals. Seriously, you’re giving me a headache.”
At least that’s what is sounds like she is saying. I’m surprised she doesn’t make little comments about my purchases: “Ice cream? What, are you kidding me? Have you stepped on the scales lately? Do you even OWN a mirror?”
The self-scan machine’s not crazy about cash either. You rifle through your wallet looking for the freshest, crispest, least wrinkled bill in there. You can smooth down the corners, stretch it, lick it, stomp on it and iron it, but that machine is going to reject it at least once. When the dollar reemerges, it looks like it’s sticking it’s tongue out at you. If you try the same bill again, it will threaten you with cashier’s assistance. Heaven forbid you get out of there with any dignity. Then the machine turns into your mother: “Don’t forget to take your change, located below the receipt printer. Don’t forget your umbrella. Don’t forget to give me grandchildren.”
If the self-scan lady gets too annoying, you can always go to a live cashier instead. Of course, you’re going to have to deal with that thinly-veiled accusation, “Do you have anything in the bottom of your cart?” I always say, “Just the stuff I’m planning to steal.” You can use that. Just make sure you say it with a big, charming grin so they don’t take you seriously. Trust me on this. You do NOT want to be banished back to the self-scan lady and her insufferable smug greeting: “Welcome back, Loser. Let’s just go ahead and call for cashier’s assistance and save us both a lot of aggravation.”