The Bitch Slap: Get Out of Line, You Prehistoric Dink

bitch slap grocery storeThousands or millions or gazillions of years ago, mankind evolved from apes. What set us (and our prehistoric brethren) apart is opposable thumbs. We can grab things and execute finer motor movements.

So explain to me what the fucking problem is in the self-checkout line at the supermarket.

If you can’t embrace or comprehend the protocol, get out of the line, you prehistoric dink. Take yourself and your useless opposable thumbs over to Aisle 2 where there is a trained clerk who will happily scan your Tuna Helper and Hungry Man dinners and let me get in and then getthefuckout with all the speed I can muster.

Since it seems to elude many people, I’m going to lay down some ground rules for the supermarket self-checkout. As my attempts to video a short instructional segment were foiled by no less than THREE local purveyors of foodstuffs yesterday afternoon (finks, the lot of you), my written slap will have to suffice:

  • To scan an item: pick up item. Scan item. Place item in bagging area. If you do not place item in bagging area, an annoying female voice will tell you to place the item in the bagging area. If you do not want to place the item in the bagging area, press “I don’t want to bag this item” on the touch screen. Repeat. There are no secrets. You cannot scan another item until you resolve the item in question.
  • I appreciate the fact that you feel self-sufficient and want to scan your entire cart filled with 73 items all by your big, grown-up self. However, your three-item-per-minute rate could be trumped by a blobfish disguised as a grocery clerk. Take your 73 items to Aisle 2, wait in line and stop holding up mine.
  • It’s adorable that your three-year-old wants to help scan the groceries. It really is. But when there are nine people waiting for a self-checkout lane, I need you to put on your “I was smart enough to know where his penis should go so I could make a baby” hat and realize that it’s not adorable right then and there.
  • Produce doesn’t have bar codes. Stop trying to scan the godforsaken cucumber and key in the code on that little sticker on the skin. If there’s no sticker, use “item lookup.” If you can’t figure out the “item lookup,” follow the mom with the three-year-old to Aisle 2.
  • Smashing your open palm up against the touch screen will not do anything to help you. If you think of it like throwing the remote control up against the TV, you’ll save yourself a lot of headache and me the pleasure of watching your temper tantrum.
  • The self-checkout lines are computers. Computers are completely fucked on occasion. if you understand this going in, you will not need to yell at the clerk who comes over to unfuck what just fucked up. You will also not need to share your disdain for technology with the entire 100 foot radius.
  • If you want to…fight with your wife, discipline your kids, take a call on your cell, send nine text messages or discuss the Broncos’ prospects for a successful season now that they have “Tim-fucking-Tebow” on board (a quote), please follow mother with three-year-old and I Can’t Scan Produce to Aisle 2. Better yet, deal with that shit after you leave the store.

Consider yourself slapped. I wish there were a licensing procedure for the self-checkout lane, but there’s not. And special thanks to Ryan Miller for a Facebook status update that immediately followed my own self-checkout nightmare this past weekend for the inspiration.

62 comments
Doug
Doug

While we're at it, can we please bitchslap the husband who thinks its OK to park in a RED ZONE in front of the store, because his Wife is just running into the store and will be out quickly. Park the fucking car in a parking spot that will make your wife walk a god forbid 25 more feet.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I saw a young man at one, maybe 30 years old, and he looked at it like it was an alien spacecraft. An associate had to come over, scan his items, process the transaction, and take his money. He saw a short line and got in, proved to be an idiot.

PJ Mullen
PJ Mullen

Idiots at the checkouts annoy the hell out of me, but what really grinds my gears are the lazy bastards that walk into the store through the self checkout area. I wonder if they've ever walked in through the traditional checkouts. Go around you lazy bastards. One woman had the never to push the cart containing my son and infant daughter out of her way - and away from me just so her lazy ass didn't have to take 20 unnecessary steps. Let's just say I lit her up like a Christmas tree.

vaguelycool
vaguelycool

Redhead, I love you more and more with every slap I read.

Eatmovewrite
Eatmovewrite

I am with you. Walmart self-check out is the worst. People with 12 kids hanging off the shopping cart trying to scan their doritos. God, it kills me.

Melanie
Melanie

Self-checkout machines were invented by the devil to frustrate you until you forgo your coupons, give up on actually getting the correct sale prices, ignore the fact you're due 'bring-your-own-bag' refunds, and just pay whatever number is flashed and quoted in a loud, soulless voice. Just please stop the loud soulless voice FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY!

Melanie
Melanie

Self-checkout machines. Invented by the devil to frustrate you until you will forgo your coupons, sale items, and bag refunds, happily paying whatever number is flashed and quoted in a loud, soulless voice. Just to make the loud, soulless voice SHUT UP PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE!

Antonia Harler
Antonia Harler

Bless. We don't even have self check-out lines. I'm not sure what that says about us other than maybe a whole lot more hassle in the normal lines. :)

Sylvia
Sylvia

HAHAHAHA! Too funny. As always, you are right on target here. You should be in charge of everything! :) The world would be a better place.

Leon Noone
Leon Noone

G'Day Erika , Amen! Allelujah! And so say all of us! So much of this technology is so simple that only a child can use it. Please turn your attention to all that so called training on the web that presumes that the trainee-read "customer"-knows more web jargon than Nerd of The Year and is perceptive enough to be able to follow pathetically inadequate and incomplete instructions. Let's send the writers of this twaddle to the self-serve checkout lane behind an indulgent mother of twin 4 year olds with a full trolley. What an inspiration you are! Regards Leon

T.
T.

Thank you on behalf of all frustrated, (ie contemplating opening fire on some d-bags), shoppers in the world. I am going to print this post and paste it to every self checker I ever attempt to use for the rest of my freaking life.

Cherry Woodburn
Cherry Woodburn

Your post was not a total miss. I only did the self-checkout one time with my 20 year old step daughter. OMG you would have slapped us up and down but once we were laughing hysterically (me peeing in my pants) at our ineptitude the "attendant" took over, which made us laugh even more. I've not been back since (probably prescient about the bitch slap) and now between your post and the comments I PROMISE I will never return to the self-checkout. XXOO, from your fav' prehistoric dink.

Carole
Carole

Prehistoric dink, I love it. These folks were the last in line for the "no child left behind" policy that dumbed down the entire curriculum for anyone with a brain. OTOH, while I realize these self serve things are computers, someone built them, and the someone who did so at Lowe's needs to be bitch slapped from here to the Home Depot parking lot. Every other item gets a cheery "please check with attendant" message, whereupon said attendant (if she isn't discussing her social life with fellow employees, presses a button on her register, which kind of sends the whole self serve theory out the window (not that Lowe's has any windows. It's a box, after all). And if the poor slob customer (that would be me) manages to get through the process without firing off an aneurysm, we get to the insert credit card part, which opens up a whole new vista. Type in last four numbers...Type in code on the back...Not recognized, try again...Please check with attendant. Ah well, it does make life interesting but then so does stepping on a rusty nail on the one day you decide to forgo the sandals. Oh and by the way, how come three out of four of these brilliant computer devices have a bag over their plastic heads reading "Out of Order"? Never mind, rhetorical question.

Todd Schnick
Todd Schnick

It is for the dinks cited above that I don't own weapons. Because they would be discharged during the scenario described above...

Kwright
Kwright

Okay, I've stopped laughing...almost....and wanted to add "and if you can't read the little sticker on the cucumber without your reading glasses and said glasses are not readily available on a hideous little chain around your neck or on top of your thinning dome, please proceed to Aisle 2....." Nice one, thanks for the guffaw.........

Alli
Alli

I just want to thank you for bringing awareness to one of the greatest challenges we face as a generation. I have already lost countless hours to people who are self-checkout-challenged. I also appreciate you citing the sending of *nine* text messages as problematic, rather than, say, the 1-2 texts that can be easily sent by a skilled texter while waiting for the lousy computer to process the last scanned item.

PM Russell
PM Russell

I am the writer/computer Tech who has to fix the "self checkout" lane that the customer/abuser just broke. I don't know how many times I've had to recover money which was stuffed into the money slot in a wad. I've had to reattach the monitor screen because the shopper "bitch slapped" it. I've had to remove cookies and other food stuff that was jammed into areas where food should not be jammed. So, I agree, as a computer Tech, if you can't play nicely, move along.

Bothered Pocket
Bothered Pocket

This, all of this, is why any time I do end up using the self check(heh)out, it's usually littered with my proudest Anglo-Saxon.

Jim Raffel
Jim Raffel

Yes, I was just laughing so hard I started crying right in public at a coffee shop (there's probably a bitch slap in there somewhere). The unfortunate truth of this bitch slap is those that need to read it....well they can't even self checkout so you think they'll ever find your blog?

mary
mary

I swear before you all that I have never, not once, ever scanned a godforsaken cucumber! But now that you mention it, cucumbers do look slightly evil.

Killian
Killian

Love this post. I often run down to the grocery store near my office on my lunch hour, and it is such an ungodly hassle when people cannot manage such simple technology. I shit you not, this exchange happened the last time I was in there: *clueless woman holding oranges just stands there* *me, trying to be nice* "Just touch the "PRODUCE" button on the screen." *still standing there* "No." Me: "Um. You kinda have to follow the instructions in order to get fruit processed." "I'm not touching that screen. It's germy! Do you know the kind of people who come in here?" I wanted to take my cane and smack her upside the head with it. She glares at me, and then tells me that she wants it to scan her oranges without her having to touch the screen. I blink and ask why

Sarah
Sarah

How long will it be before people realize they can fool a machine? They used to have self-serve scales in the produce section of French supermarkets until they realized that people were cheating like crazy. The way it worked: you would set your bag on the scales then punch the key for, say, apples, and the scales would spit out a sticker with a bar code. Some people would press the key for the cheapest stuff, or they would weigh two apples to get the sticker then fill the bag with apples. Machines can be fooled easier than people. Security breach, anyone? No more self-serve scales in French supermarkets. How long before American supermarkets get rid of self-checkouts?

PETER S LOPEZ
PETER S LOPEZ

I confess I have never used the Self-Check Out line as Safeway where I do because I do not want to look like a dunce. So thanks for the Info. Just waiting for my turn in line like other customers gives me time to do standing meditation and practice my patience! On second thought I might try it for a few items next time and hope you are not behind me! ~ http://twitter.com/Peta_de_Aztlan ~

The Redhead
The Redhead

Yeah, straight lines are SOOO 1996. And regarding stupid people...I'll withhold judgement. ;-)

Mysteries Little
Mysteries Little

I am a person who Just Can't Do the "sodding bagging area" It's Too Hard For Me. Rather than Unsuccessfully Trying to Show Off, I go to the checkout dude.

Rick Copper
Rick Copper

Lisa - they have them and they don't work on self checkout. You either have to know the code of the item in question or get help. It's a pain, so I have learned to not pick those items up when going through self checkout. ALSO - in order to use the system you have to KNOW WHAT A BAR CODE LOOKS LIKE (not bitching at you Lisa). Ergo, stop waving the detergent around as if you are calling in all dirty clothes like a rancher uses hay to call in cattle.

Ryan Biddulph
Ryan Biddulph

Wow. Erika, I've had similar experiences on the self checkout line. Especially at Stop And Shop for some reason, where many patrons in the line put the emphasis on *Stop.* Thanks for summing it up. Let's hope the dinks evolve some. RB

Bothered Pocket
Bothered Pocket

Personally, I don't use them unless the cashier queues are gigantic because 1) in such poor economic times, I don't want my usage statistic to support getting rid of supermarket workers who, let's admit it without sounding too snobby, more often than not would struggle to get a job at a higher grade against experienced office workers, and 2) I'd rather someone else did it quickly, and wait a couple of minutes for the privilege and maybe have a day-brightening conversation, than get nagged by a very laggy computer system about the sodding bagging area. I'm computer literate and I find the process slow and frustrating, so I have no idea how the trier-outers must feel about it and no wonder really. Whenever I use them, I wonder if anyone actually bothered to test them and make sure they were swift and friendly. Your supermarket's software mileage may vary.

Megan Carpenter
Megan Carpenter

Thank you! I really don't understand why people can not stay in the lanes they need. I watched a woman with over 30 items going through the self-checkout last week "Because she had never used one before." Meanwhile there were five of us waiting to move through that had used it, had only a couple items each, and were on our lunchbreaks. As the other self-checkout cleared we all filed over to it, checked out, and were done before she got halfway through her cart. (The cashier was also helping her and trying to explain that while she understood the novelty, they were really there to help the people with a few items) And if you "don't get technology" please keep using the checkers, that's why they are there.

Hal Tse
Hal Tse

An even more civilised solution that I used back in the U.K. , a decade back ,which is scanning the items as they are put into the cart with a quick verification at the end. That way the fumblers still get to fumble but on their own time.

jim
jim

A big-box chain out here has installed "large order" self checkouts, replacing several rows of cashier-managed checkouts and, it seems, the cashiers themselves. So imagine your scenario, but mutliplied by the single mom with five kids who just bought a week's worth of groceries (involving two carts). She has chosen the self-checkout because there's only one actual cashier on duty and she foolishly thinks she might get out of there faster if she does it herself. She scans at a glacial pace anyway, but her five wild kids running everywhere keeps her plenty distracted, slowing her scanning down even more. Of course, none of them could be bothered to actually bag the groceries, so the groceries all bottleneck in the bagging area, which causes the computer to insist that the bagging area be cleared, causing Mom to stop scanning and start bagging for a bit, returning to scanning only when the computer stops complaining. In the end, it takes twenty-five minutes for Mom to get through self checkout, and she leaves with a major nervous tic.

Kira
Kira

As supermarket employee of 6 years, i can thoroughly understand the frustration. We dont have self checkouts at the store i work for, but i have been at other places that do and i itch to go up to the people with less than half a brain, push them out of the way and say "let me do" and have them out of MY way...

Ms. Bitch
Ms. Bitch

This is the precise reason I don't use self checkouts. Because it's full of people who have never seen a computer, never seen a cashier scan items or didn't realize that oranges don't fucking bar codes. Bleh!

ryancmiller
ryancmiller

Thanks for the shoutout, Erika! Loved this post. You'd have thought we could have solved this problem by now. We've been to the moon and have iPods for Christ's sake! But we can't solve this? Maybe it's less about tech and more about our country's education system (saying that only half in jest). But here's the interesting thing. I was thinking about all different solutions to this problem after my experience and checked Google Patent Search to see who has already stolen my idea. And there are tons of them already in the wings.... just wonder when we'll see an app tied to my credit card for wireless checkout. Here's just a quick results page on the patents out there if anyone is curious: http://bit.ly/cdsdwK

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  1. […] those people who can’t use the self-checkout line . . . yet  insist on using it for some reason. Read Get Out of Line, You Prehistoric Dink for all the bitchiness you can handle. More Bitching from The Bitch BlogAll the Best Mothers are […]

  2. […] The Bitch Slap: Get Out of Line, You Prehistoric Dink – Erika Napoletano/Redhead Ranting Thousands or millions or gazillions of years ago, mankind evolved from apes. What set us (and our prehistoric brethren) apart is opposable thumbs. We can grab things and execute finer motor movements. […]