There are many people who refuse to even try these machines for a variety of reasons. Maybe they're angry that these self check-outs have replaced actual people who are now out of work. Or perhaps, (and this is a big one) they're just scared of looking stupid or doing something wrong while trying to check out. Another reason that some folks avoid them is that it brings flashbacks of their high school job and they find themselves in a cold sweat, muttering "Paper or plastic" in their sleep just thinking about it. And finally, there are the people who are certain that robots are taking over the earth.
For those of you who insist they'd rather have interaction with an actual living, breathing person while paying for your groceries, I'm here to put things in perspective. The last time I got in a check-out lane with an actual cashier, this is how it went...
CASHIER: bored and talking to his buddy about his plans for the weekend completely ignoring me
Do you have your customer card?
ME: Yep, here you go.
CASHIER: Did you find everything ok?
Why do they ask this? Why??? "No, I didn't find everything I needed. That's why I'm still wandering around the aisles, asking for help. Can't you tell?" Or let's say you really did have trouble finding something. "I couldn't find the molasses. It took me half an hour and 2 employees to discover where it was hidden." What is the cashier going to do about it? Tell a manager? Suggest reorganizing the aisles to his boss? Insist on more employee training so they can better help the customers? Nope. If you tell him you had a hard time finding an item, he'll say something helpful like, "Oh."
What you need to do is either use the self check-out or have a little fun with it. When the cashier at the grocery store asks if you found everything ok, just tell them, "I had a really hard time finding black shoes in a size 7, king size sheets, and tires for my van." When he looks at you blankly and says, "We don't sell those things, ma'am," just reiterate, "See what I mean?! Even you can't find them!"
Then, as the cashier continues to joke around with his buddy, he absently puts the eggs on the bottom of the bag and tosses a big ole can of sweet potatoes on top of them. This is followed by a loaf of bread and finally topped with a half gallon of ice cream.
Plus, the self check-outs come in handy when you're buying something like Gas-X, tampons, condoms, foot fungus cream, and wine (what? I think you'd need wine if you had your period, gas, and crud on your feet!) Those self check-outs are looking better and better, aren't they?
So, here's my advice for those of you contemplating making the jump to the self check-out.
1. If you've never used a self check-out machine, don't give it a try for the first time on a Saturday. Go at midnight when no one else is around
2. If you have 4001 items, skip the self check-out.
3. If you have 23 coupons, skip the self check-out.
4. If you intend to pay for your purchases with 32 pounds of coins, skip it.
5. If you lack
OK, you're ready to proceed. These machines aren't magical. You don't simply wave the package around in front of the machine and voila, the machine magically tells you how much it costs. The machines work by reading a bar code of information located on the package. That means you have to actually put the bar code toward the scanner. See how that works? If you move a can of soup across the scanner 15 times and it doesn't do anything, think about turning the can around so the scanner can read the bar code! Don't laugh. I've been behind this person many times.
After scanning your item, you need to put it in the bag or on the conveyor belt. The bagging area (or the conveyor belt) is a scale. If you ring up a tube of chapstick and put a 5 pound bag of flour in the bag, the machine will flash strobe lights, start smoking, and an alarm will sound, signaling an armed guard to escort you to grocery store prison. Don't be like the idiot who tried to scan a $3.00 bar code for a flat screen TV at Walmart. Not only will it not work, but you'll look like an idiot and may wind up being talked about on my blog.
You also don't want to lean against these scales because umm, they're scales! They'll register your weight leaning on them and yell at you to "remove item from bagging area!" and once again, the armed guard will have to take you away.
How do you ring up fresh produce? I may or may not have been afraid to use the self check-out for this very reason, once upon a time. Not long ago, an old woman in front of me tried to scan her bunch of bananas at least 40,000 times before I
You need to put the produce on the scanner screen (which is also a scale) and key in the code. Most produce will have little stickers with the code. You know those cute little Chiquita stickers on your bananas? They'll have something like #3082 printed on them. Just punch in that number. The machine will weigh the bananas and charge you accordingly. If you have, oh say, an eggplant and it doesn't have a sticker on it, just follow the directions on the screen. You can look it up easily. Most things are listed alphabetically and as long as you have a clue what you're buying, you should be able to look it up with no problems.
There's really no reason to be insecure or embarrassed about using these machines because as long as you can read and follow directions (Yes, I know that eliminates probably 75% of people. Not MY readers, of course; other people!), you'll have no problems. And if you do run into a problem, blame it on the machine! Anyone who has used these, knows they have occasional glitches. Sometimes the sale price doesn't ring up correctly, or the item isn't in the database. Then there are the times the machine yells at you to put the item in the bag even though it's already there and you find yourself arguing with a machine that you're certain is laughing at you. These things happen. All you have to do is wait 45 minutes for someone to come help you. I guess you really need to cut the helper cashier person some slack though because she has to deal with idiots who can't follow instructions all day long and she's probably more than a little afraid of having some disgruntled customer throw canned peas at her head. Now, if only the nice grocery store would mail you a paycheck for all your hard work...