Must I Do EVERYTHING Myself?

I’ve learned to pump my own gas.  I’ve accepted those automated phone systems which replaced real, live customer service people.  I’ve finally (mostly) gotten over the anger I felt when the Verizon representative told me to go outside and check my own phone lines. (Really?  Up a telephone pole? I don’t think so.)

But is it too much to ask that someone else scan and bag my groceries?

I had a few extra minutes and decided to pick up some groceries on my way to work.  There are two stores on my way – Wegmans and Tops.  I love Wegmans, but the store is huge and once I’m in there, I get distracted and always buy more than I really need.

So, I opted for Tops.  In fact, I was looking forward to stopping in because this particular Tops is not crowded in the early morning – and they have really good fresh-baked products.

Maybe I should have taken it as a sign when some old lady tried to run head-on into me in the nearly empty parking lot.  She seemed confused to see another vehicle, and I had to swerve once I realized she had no intention of slowing down or stopping (maybe she forgot where the brake pedal is?).  Swerving was easy, of course – the entire lot was empty except for one or two cars at the edges which likely belonged to store employees.


Having shopped this store before, I was familiar with its layout.  I got in, got my items, and was at the checkout within minutes.  But none of the regular checkout lanes were open.  Not a single one.  Only the self-checkouts were available.

I hate self-checkout, even if I only have one or two items.  I’m of a generation who is used to someone scanning and then bagging my groceries, usually with a smile and a bit of chitchat – but always quickly and efficiently, and always with respect.

Self-checkouts do not offer respect, nor do they offer efficiency.

The first lane I tried notified me it was a card-only lane, and no cash would be accepted.  I don’t like to use my credit card when purchasing only a few dollars worth of groceries.  I moved to the next lane.

This time, I made sure the checkout would accept cash.  Yes!  Then I followed the vocal prompts:

Scan your first item and place it in the bag.

Sure, where is that darn bar code?  This is a bakery item.  Oh, there it is, underneath. (Now the frosting will be f*d but does the store care?  Not at all.)

What about this 12-pack of bottled water?  I had a hard enough time getting it off the shelf and into the cart, now I have to take it out again and try to scan that itty bitty code on the side?  The damn package is HEAVY!

Ever tried to scan a package of bacon?  Or a bag of potatoes?  The scanner doesn’t like those plastic packages with slightly crinkly bar codes.

Do you know how annoying it is bagging groceries?  I had scanned the bakery stuff first and the heavy stuff last. Now I had to arrange everything properly to avoid damage to the contents during the car ride.  And I didn’t want the bacon in with the pastry, nor did I really want the bottled water in a bag (even though the machine told me to).  Grrrr.

“Do you have coupons?  Please scan them and then place them in the scanned coupon slot below.

Huh?  What scanned coupon slot?  Oh, that little slit that’s so skinny I need  a magnifying glass just to see it?  And it only take those coupons one at a time, and you have to really maneuver them in there?  Thank heavens I only have two coupons today!

By now, I was cussing and mumbling – a lot.  Wouldn’t you think one of the store employees would amble on over to help?  Nope, they were all too busy chatting with each other while the customers fended for themselves.

Remember that jingle: “Tops never stops giving you more” ?  This Tops stopped.  Maybe the manager of this particular store needs a little re-education.

Now, insert payment.  If you are using coins, please insert those first.

My total was $19.47, and I had a $20 bill.  Should be easy, peasy.  But, of course, the scanner didn’t like the first $20 bill I inserted (too crinkled, maybe?), so I had to find a second one in my purse.  It takes time to find anything in my purse.

By the time the machine finally spit out my 53 cents in change, I was so aggravated that I forgot to grab the receipt that was eventually generated.  By then, I was already halfway to my car.  Hopefully, there will be nothing wrong with the items I purchased because I wouldn’t be able to return them without a receipt.  A human checker would have been sure to hand the receipt to me; the machine couldn’t care less.

The total process took me three times as long as it would have taken to go through a regular checkout lane.  As a result, I was late for work. 

I should have gone to Wegmans.

I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at
Images by Cordelia’s Mom



This entry was posted in Humor, That's Life and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Must I Do EVERYTHING Myself?

  1. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Stick to Wegmans! That is where we shop cuz I’ve had too many “bad” experiences at Tops. I hate those self-checker-outers. I just refuse! It’s bad enough I must pump my own gas now and nobody washes my windshield either. I hear you loud and clear that at the very least we can still have someone check out our groceries and bag them for us. “sighs”


  2. Hannaford has two “self” checkout lanes. Both of them are always empty. There used to be three. I’m betting they will get it down to zero soon. It’s bad enough to be asked to do your own checkout … but they don’t actually WORK.


    • Our self-checkouts do tend to be busy during the day – mostly young people who think they’re getting out faster that way. Personally, I’d rather wait in line for personalized service – and I usually still manage to get out before the younger folks do.


  3. Oh god. I remember the first time we used the self check out. Every single item (we had half a dozen or so) had a problem. The machines just don’t like me! Doesn’t like my bag, doesn’t like bananas (turns out it didn’t like anyone’s banana as people had been taking joints of meat, tearing off the labels and putting it through as bananas, I kid you not), belgian buns are doughnuts (??) and heaven forbid if your purchase has a discount sticker on it……….. the machine don’t take no notice and it has to be overridden, but only if you ask!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with you. I hate those things! Every time I use them to save time, something goes wrong. Last time I ran in for a quick item at Home Depot I didn’t have my purse with me, just a $20 bill.. which was plenty. Of course the machine wouldn’t take it and I didn’t have plastic on me. The people behind me were aggravated and I ended up ditching the whole thing and going home. Annoying with a capital A.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. All those things do is eliminate humans…fewer checkers hired – and fewer return customers.
    We try to go to the one close to the monitor person standing there as we always have something go wrong. Target’s people are quick and efficient to help and those machines aren’t too bad. But the ones at a local Lowes are horrendously problematic – the poor monitors there always end up going to their own station and doing everything for everyone there once the customer’s machine gets cranky. We avoid that store unless we can use the real person at the garden check out center.
    Stores should never underestimate the chit chat! (HEB seems to have that down – a few self checkouts, but mostly very efficient and friendly checkers and baggers. They must train their workers very well as they are always very pleasant – even when the computers went down once.


  6. Tippy Gnu says:

    There has to be a limit to what we’re going to let machines do for us, and I wonder if you’ve found it. The human touch helps to make business enjoyable. And there’s nothing like having a real human being around to handle a complaint. Maybe Tops is going to discover that, as their sales slide toward the bottom.


    • Perhaps that’s why Tops is in trouble. Wegmans always has human-manned checkouts as well as self-checkouts, and there are always store employees throughout the store who can answer any questions or help customers find that special item.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jane says:

    With the cost of hiring, training and paying employees for jobs machines can do,,,,,, you will see more and more of this. Besides, the younger crowd order everything on line….. Actually it is sad to see these jobs go. There are many people who this IS the only job they can do. We will be paying for them on welfare.


  8. Dan Antion says:

    I prefer human checkout clerks except at Target. At Target, I’ll opt for the self-checkout lane, but I have my share of bad experiences.


    • I don’t think our Target stores even have self-checkout yet, but I’m sure it’s coming. Walmart does have self-checkout, and I avoid it. On the bright side, I only just realized that the total price of the items I purchased was more than what I actually paid for them, so the scanner must have errored in my favor. Of course, I don’t have the receipt so I can’t check it to see if something was missed.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jane Fritz says:

    Great post, CM. I happen to be one of those weirdos who actually likes the self-checkouts because I didn’t like the way the checkout people pack my groceries in my big reusable bags, especially how they pack the very heavy 4-litre bags of milk we have in Canada. But we do have the choice of self-serve or not, so it’s OK. I completely agree with your theory and with all the places where there are no options. I know there has to be somewhere in our town where someone who can’t pump their own gas can get help, but Lord knows where it is. And when it’s-20C, dark, icy, with a freezing wind, and you’re supposed to pump your own gas, that’s simply cruel and unusual punishment. Keep blogging!


  10. Laurie says:

    It seems like there are so many fewer occasions for human interactions now, compared to when I was a kid. when I was young, my mom knew the man who pumped her gas, the banker, and the grocery store clerks. Now they have been replaced by a self-serve gas pump, and ATM (or online banking), and a self checkout line. Faster and more convenient? Maybe. Less of a feeling of community, though.


  11. Elyse says:

    I refuse to use self checkout. They are designed to cut staff, and there is nomplus for the customer for saving the store $. Nope, i’ll Wait in line.


  12. lbeth1950 says:

    I got mad about this yesterday. There were 2 express lanes open and self check. No regular lanes were manned. I had a lot of produce which I did not want to key in and weigh. The express clerk said I needed to go through self check or wait till regular lane opened. I refused and made her call supervisor. They checked me out. I refuse to give in to this idiocy.


    • Good for you. I would have complained to the manager, but suspect maybe he wasn’t in since all the store employees were standing around in a group chatting with each other. That store usually is very efficient and customer friendly. I don’t know for sure what happened today.


  13. I went to Tesco with my daughter yesterday and I avoided the self-checkouts. Two weeks ago I had a similar experience at the self-checkout. I was mumbling a lot cos almost every item I scanned prompted an error message. And believe it or not, the store employees were also busy chatting too. LOL! Stay calm and just breathe, CM ヘ(= ̄∇ ̄)ノ


  14. markbialczak says:

    Upon noticing no live cashiers, I would have parked my cart with the merchandise in it and departed the store, CM. There’s no excuse for that, ever.


  15. adamjasonp says:

    Oh, the (missing) humanity.

    I’ve never gotten used to the self-checkout thing. …Then again, I never really got used to clerk checkout either, with my social anxiety. No malfunctions I can remember, but the first time I tried, I accidentally scanned one item twice and we had to get someone to come over to cancel the duplicate.

    I remember the speed of well-seasoned clerk checkout. Self-checkout is not faster.


  16. joey says:

    I don’t mind at Home Depot. Coupla things, and I’m out. At the grocery, I refuse. “Y’all better get me a cashier, cause I don’t work here and I WILL leave this cart and walk out.”
    Also, those are JOBS — people need jobs!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.