Monday, May 24, 2010

Aisle Three: Dog Food and Cheese

Big news in our little ‘burb! We got an updated grocery store with a…wait for it…a self check-out! This particular chain has never been known as a, shall we say luxury brand. But a few in neighboring ‘burbs have transferred over to a fancier look and feel to much applause. So, sadly, I was kind of excited to tour the new digs. Yup, this is what passes for entertainment these days. I used to await openings of clubs and new restaurants…now it’s grocery stores. Sigh.

I digress. For some stupid reason, I decided to go while it was under construction.

Side note for those of you in the business world: I’m a big believer in closing down and getting construction done in a day or two. It’s less disruptive to your customers, and it avoids potential lawsuits from people leaning into covered displays (um, not that I almost did that or anything).

But, whatever, they didn’t do that and on my normal double coupon day, I found out they were renovating. I also found nothing on my list and about threw a tantrum in what used to be the peanut butter aisle.

Finally, I was issued a map. A MAP to the store I had been going to for 2 years. Know what? If you have to issue a damn map, CLOSE THE STORE. They couldn’t have made less sense if they tried. Canned goods were scattered among bread, I found tuna in with mustard. Look, I understand moving shelves around, I’m not totally against change here. But couldn’t you keep the items together in some semblance of order? As I grabbed formula from next to dog toys, I declared, not for the first time, that I would never shop there again.

But curiosity and a double coupon deal brought me in a few weeks later (yes, I admit it, all scruples go out the window when I can save $2 on formula, sue me). I won’t lie, it looked nice, but the first chink in the armor came when I saw the produce costs were about $1 higher. Yeah, I’m not willing to pay for your new digs with avocados, sorry, people!

The other new thing I alluded to is self check-out. Here’s the thing: Boston did this years ago, so I’m accustomed to them. Mostly, I’m accustomed to the complete bafflement with which people approach them. It’s like rotary circles on the road (more about that in some other blog), the dance goes something like this: customer stares at the contraption, thinking it should be great, but not quite sure what to make of it. There’s some head scratching and mashing the face up to the screen in the hopes of making heads or tails of the most basic instructions “Scan items here.”

So then the scanning starts and things are going along great and you can see the look of pure bliss and fascination. And then it comes time for the produce. Oh, produce. Perhaps we take for granted the ability of the cashiers to remember the 4-digit codes, but the self check-out does its level best to help you out of the quagmire. All you really need to do is look up the vegetable alphabetically. But this is just too much, too different, and the baffled looks return. There’s attempts to scan the 4-digit code into the machine. Attempts to keep slapping the tomatoes on the scanner. And then, finally, mercifully, the blinking light begins.

The blinking light is the beacon of the self check-out virgin.

Side note: one time this light blinked for me because the box of envelopes I purchased was too light in the plastic bag and so it kept blinking me to bag my item and scan the next. I kept hitting the “I’ve done that already, MORON” button and nothing, and finally the effing light came on. And I’m like: okay, I get this if I scanned the envelopes and my bag weighed the same as a cantaloupe. You caught me, I didn’t do this right or I’m trying to smuggle a cantaloupe out of the store. But why you gotta bust me for not putting something I clearly scanned INTO a bag? What if I don’t want a bag, TREEHUGGERS? Huh? HUH??? Or what if I choose to bag it all at the end? Why does me not choosing to bag my items send the criminal light blasting?

But, anyway, back to the produce conundrum. The light blinks and the screen freezes and the person looks around maniacally like the doors and windows are going to go on lockdown. Instead, an underpaid potentially high grocery bagger meanders over, sighs like you’ve interrupted something REALLY important and ruined his day completely, rolls his eyes, and then swipes his key, moves the offending item, and then walks away. No, no, don’t bother to check to make sure the person has figured it out. Because you KNOW the person has more produce lingering at the end of his purchase and now he’s sweating like a pig.

So I watched all that going on while I went in the real line and had my stuff poorly bagged in the same crappy paper bags (I forget to bring my own at least every other time, and we use the paper ones for recycling, in case any of you green people out there stop reading my blog in protest).

I’m not sold on the new look and don’t plan to go again until a double coupon deal compels me, or until they stop overcharging me to pay for their troublesome check-out lines.

But it sure did make big news here in our tiny town, so it gave me something to complain about for awhile. You’re welcome!

1 comment:

Lindsay @ said...

We just got a new grocery store last week and P and I went to the grand opening..we were so excited. It's pretty sad the things that excite us now!