I have been bothered more than usual, of late, by the unsanitary conditions present in grocery stores or other places that I shop. This is a continuing theme that some may recognize from my last post, and fueled in large part by the growing popularity of reusable shopping bags. This week I made a discovery that has provided some relief – self-checkout.
Self-checkout may not be that new, but I have avoided it in the past. I tried it a couple of times when it was new in my area, but I kept overcharging myself. I didn’t get a refund either because I wouldn’t catch the error on my receipt until I arrived home, and then how was I going to prove what had happened. For the sake of my pocketbook, I have, therefore, been avoiding the self-checkout lines. The only times in the last five years that I have broken down and used them are when I have been in a desperate hurry on my lunch hour from work, and I doubt that that has been more than three times.
Then something wonderful occurred this week. It didn’t feel like a good thing at first, but it turned out to be a blessing. I picked up everything on my list and headed for the checkout lines, and all the lines were long. Under normal circumstances, I would have had plenty of time, but now I was concerned about getting back to work on time. (Maybe some of you will remember that rushing can sometimes result in debilitating injury.) As I did not have a large number of items, I realized that I did have self-checkout as an option. I didn’t want to do it, but it seemed like the best choice under the circumstances.
I decided to do it. I went over and got in line behind a customer that had only a couple of things on the diminutive counter, but then I realized that it was clothing that I was certain had just come off the person’s body in a dressing room. (This was a large department-style store.) That line was out. I darted across to another line where a man was just leaving. Perfect. Since my last attempt at this, I learned from a store clerk that I had been scanning objects incorrectly, which contributed to the difficulty I had experienced previously. I began scanning my groceries in the proper manner, taking them directly from the cart to the scanner to the nice, clean plastic bag. I started to get a rush. This was great! No filthy counter, no clerk to swing the bags against his or her body – the pros just kept adding up. Another bonus: no one looking over your personal stuff and wondering why you’re buying so much rubbing alcohol.
This is a fantastic discovery. I tested it by going back later in the week, and the experience was just as good the second time. If I have to limit my number of items and go twice a week to use self-checkout, it will be completely worth the inconvenience. I didn’t feel like I had to wipe down everything I purchased. That makes up for some of the inconvenience. Self-checkout lines should be mandatory in every store. What would make this perfect would be cart liners. Every cart should come with a removable liner. If someone would invent biodegradable bags, then everyone would win. Does anyone want to go into business with me? Anyone? Eli?