Thursday, July 21, 2005

Do I get salary with my celery?
Okay, I simply must ask. What is this obnoxious trend that the customer has to do what used to be part of the cashier's job? Several years ago, stores crossed the line, in my opinion, when they installed those credit/debit card machines on the customer's side of the check-out lane. For a long time I simply continued to hand my credit/debit card to the cashier, refusing to acknowledge the "do-it-yourself" machine. I guess the cashier's union has decided to crack down on this injustice, because more recently I have been told to swipe the card myself and I have dutifully complied. Okay, so I have finally gotten to a point where it no longer takes me three to four swipes to finally get the card on the right side, in the right direction, in order for the machine to work. Can anyone else sympathize?

Then I began noticing "self check-out" lanes at some grocery stores. I had three items to purchase one day, so I thought I would try out this novelty. Guess what? It didn't work. One of my three items threw the Big Brother machine into confusion and shut down my transaction. Who would have guessed that sausage is so powerful?! The Overseer of the Self Check-out Lanes came to investigate, walked ever-so-slowly back to the meat department, and returned with updated information which allowed me to complete the transaction. I have vowed to never use those lanes again.

And, then, just last night, I saw another new development (new for me, anyway): I was at a large market store in Oklahoma City. The plastic bags at each check-out lane are suspended on those metal frames, but attached (and this is the new thing) to a triangle structure on a swivel platform (sort of like a Lazy Susan). The cashier placed my items in a bag on her side of the platform and then turned it, swiveling it to my side. Well, folks, I missed that swift action as I was closing my wallet. She handed me my receipt and turned back to her register to do other business. I was standing there, wondering where my bag of merchandise was. It wasn't on the little table at the end of the lane. The cashier didn't have it in her hand. Then I realized the triangle structure and I quickly thought to myself, now what would be the point of having all those bags on the customer's side of the aisle. I slowly peered into the sea of bags dangling from the metal frames. The outermost bag on side number one of the triangle was empty. Side number two was a jackpot as I found my bag.

Now, why, why do I have to take on more and more of the cashier's duties? What is going on here? I mean pretty soon are we to expect no longer a cashier at the check-out, but simply a chunk of cerebral cortex in a mason jar hooked up to the cash register? Lord knows the cerebellum wouldn't need to be hooked up to the register, since fewer and fewer motor functions are being executed by the cashier! I am beginning to wonder if I should ask for a share of salary the next time I buy my groceries at one of these stores. Do I get salary with my celery?!

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