Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Nothing Super About Supermarkets

Almost all "Super” markets have now installed loads of self-checkout lanes where you can scan, pay and bag without the assistance of an employee. Great ...right?

Not so fast (Literally).

Good luck trying to figure out whether your fresh produce was organic, large, loose, or any other description (so always just select the cheapest and play dumb if questioned on the way out).

Every other item scanned - if you can get the scanner to recognize the bar code - will be followed by a message to "wait for assistance" - an ordeal requiring some after-school-working, nose-picking samsonite monkey to mosey over at their convenience (think "continental drift") … who invariably will need to call the assistant manager for "the key".

Don't kid yourself. This was not some kind-hearted attempt by the stores to give you a more hands-on experience or in ANY way speed your checkout. This is solely a way for them to cut down on employee’s wages and health benefits ... much like ATMS have greatly reduced bank payrolls to give the banks even more money to buy worthless mortgage-backed securities.

What you think was about $80 worth of groceries will end up be closer to $200 since in every aisle you can never figure out which of the 8 price stickers on the shelf applies to the 28 products shelved above (or is it below?) them.

There’s always some smart arse who is in the queue whilst his/her partner continues to shop … dropping items off into their cart every few minutes or so and then dashing off for something else.

The innumerate lummox in front of you thinks you haven’t noticed he has 27 products in the ‘express’ lane. And a OK-Magazine-reading octomom with bored brats has given up and let them cry, whine and generally run amok with their destructive behaviour now being measured in kilotons.

After watching the befuddled rocket scientist in front of you finally manage to scan all his goods, that process will be followed by excruciating minutes of watching him scan all 542 of his “buy 20 get one free” coupons. (Note: folks you ain’t saving money if you buy more than you need!). And then trying to stuff those coupons into the machine will take longer than the cooking time of all his products combined.

When I was a kid, I had a job stocking shelves in a supermarket AT NIGHT - WHEN THE STORE WAS CLOSED. Now they stock during open hours, blocking the aisles with massive dollies of processed crap and then they (the courtesy-challenged employees) give YOU (the customer) a dirty look when you ask them to move.

When you do check out with an actual cashier, there is always some blue-haired fossil ahead of you who actually seems startled by the fact that there is to be money involved in this transaction ... then goes hunting through his/her (but c'mon, we really know I mean HER) purse ...trying to find the exact change.

"Wait ... I think I have the 93 cents" - (TIP) If the cents part is over 50 cents, there is no value in finding the exact coins. Find the pennies to round it off to a 5 or 10 cent figure and then return every tissue you have ever used back into your carry-on-sized handbag. To pass the time, you try to guess who was president when she was born and decide it was probably Roosevelt (Teddy).

Today there were 15 people ahead of me in line; all with products that had incorrect bar-coded pricing (some of those products were probably not even from that supermarket's inventory). They all had no ID and wanted to pay with out-of-state starter checks. It was the cashier's first day on the job and she did not speak English.

But no matter how long it takes to do all my grocery shopping, wait in line at the deli, find everything on my list and check out ... it STILL always takes longer than that whole ordeal when you stop at the "customer service" (hahaha) counter on the way out?

There is usually one or less people (teen aged dolt) "working" there who devotes more attention to the customers on the phone than the ones ALREADY IN the freakin' shop. He/she can never find anyone's developed photos in less than an hour, has to page the manager for every transaction, can't find or figure out how to use the key that unlocks the glass cigar case, spends most of his/her time hiding in the back and has the IQ of sewage and the attention span of an opiated lab rat.

Then there is always one semi-evolved knuckle-dragger holding up the works because they want to check six hundred individual lottery tickets to see if they have a winner and then purchase 600 more ... each one some specialized specific combination of numbers ("Then one daily number, 6-3-8 ... 50 cents boxed, a dollar straight ...then 1 daily number 8-4-2 ... a dollar boxed .... One pick four 1-6-4-5 ... blah blah blah.")

And when they don't have Pall Mall Extra Light Menthol 100s in the soft pack, there is always some tar-lunged nimrod who then can't decide on a second choice of smokes. (This is usually the same guy who takes 40 minutes to specify the mix of flavors/varieties of a dozen artery-choking treats at the Dunkin Donuts).

And yes, there is always some socially-parasitic mouth-breather with limited language skills and body odor that could choke a rhino, trying to return an already-mostly-consumed item for some stupid reason like "the ratio of marshmallow clovers was too small compared to those bland untasty bits in my Lucky Charms cereal."

As a conscientious and intelligent member of society, you begin to feel woefully out of place; like Debra Messing in a Russ Meyer film.

And to top it all off, the line is dominated by acne-plagued employees seeking to cash their minimum wage checks or purchase some item with their 0.3% employee discount. And all I want is ONE freakin scratch off!

Watch in amazement as the non-functioning bottom feeder in front of you can’t figure out how to swipe their ATM card because instead of focusing on the task at hand, they are yammering on their cell phone.

“No I like got the small mushy peas in the can instead of like the fresh ones because mom likes the water in the cans. They didn’t have tofu burgers. And like … I got Trix instead because like there are never enough marshmallow bits in the Lucky Charms. So anyway, I heard that like Marcie likes Dave. Are you like going to Courtney’s party?…. Blah blah blah”