I am often shocked when I use words or phrases that are straight out of the mouths of the long-dead. The older I get the more I find that I am channeling, for example, my paternal Grandmother, as I blurt out such gems as, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The world is going to hell in a hand basket.” She loved that one.
I found myself trotting out this “oldie by goodie” the other day in response NOT to something horrific, but because I was faced with the difficult choice of being the eleventh person in the only “manned” line at the home improvement store or using the immediately available “self-checkout” line. Was the “world” indeed “going to hell in a hand basket” as a result of my having to scan a few items? No. No, it was not. Even as I said it, I knew I was slightly overreacting to the situation.
Self-checkout kiosks annoy me, though. They really, really do. For a variety of what I consider to be very valid reasons.
Primarily, I feel that by using them I bear some responsibility for the loss of human jobs. Who needs that sort of guilt when they’re trying to purchase something as simple as a gallon of paint or a tube of caulk? Not me, that’s for sure. Too much pressure.
Speaking of feeling pressured, another reason I eschew the whole self-checkout process is because I often encounter an embarrassing problem when I do so, that of operator error — the operator in question being me. I’m the person that always requires a manager to complete my transaction. I put my paint in the bag too quickly or I don’t bag my tube of caulk quickly enough. I don’t know. I’m never sure where I went wrong. They always tell me, but it’s hard to concentrate when all the bells and whistles are going off at my register — alerting store officials to the fact that I am either an idiot or that I am attempting to get up to some funny business with their merchandise. This is the one area of my life where I don’t mind admitting to being an idiot. (It’s certainly better than being called a thief!)
Finally, it irks me to pay top dollar for my home improvement needs and then be asked to do someone else’s job, you know, for my convenience. It’s not convenient for me. I wonder how folks would feel if, where I work, we required our customers to fish their own food out of the kitchen window while continuing to charge them the same price for their meal. I doubt we could sell that as a convenience. And yet, all the signs at the self-checkout kiosks tout that they are there to make the consumer’s life easier. Not this consumer.
I’m not a cashier. I don’t work at the home improvement store. If I wanted to, I’d go ahead and fill out an application. I’m sure they would be delighted to add someone with my attitude to their staff. On the up side, they’d probably teach me how to use the damn machines.
While THE world may not be going to hell in a hand basket, it often feels as if MY world is. Luckily I learned dramatic delivery and a few choice phrases at my Grandmother’s knee.