The Checkout Trap … “Danger, Will Robinson, danger!”

I’d finished shopping … and was in a hurry to get home.

Only three “live cashiers” were open … all with lines that rivaled last chance sales on a Mega-Buck-Power-Ball-Night!

I made an executive decision and inched fearfully toward the dreaded … “Self-Check-Out-Lanes.”

How hard could it be?  After a few mishaps … I “became one with ATMs.”  Even we Luddites are trainable!

I pushed my cart up to a station.

A way-too-loud-and-Rude-Robotic-Voice blared … “Please scan your first item.”

I started simple.

I scanned a can … a task millions of cashiers mastered with a flip of their wrist … smiling and chatting at the same time.

Swish went my can.

Immediately the Rude-Robotic-Voice barked … “Remove the item from the scanner” … I jumped and complied … what’s with this dude?

I grabbed my first produce item … gingerly placed it on the scanner.

I’m instructed to “Look up the item on the screen.”  Fortunately bananas are easy to spot … I touched the screen and removed the bananas before being chided for my tardiness.

Success was ephemeral … I was ordered to “Please re-scan your item” with the clear sub-textual implication … “You Effing Moron.”  I re-scanned it, quickly removing it before Herr Scanner went on a another rant.  The pressure was mounting …


Sweat beaded up on my brow … I had three leeks banded together in a bunch.

They weren’t showing up on the screen.  I glanced around and noticed someone “swiping” their screen … it flipped to another page … I did that and voila … there’s a leek … I poked the screen.

Rude-Robot-Voice told me … “Enter the number of items.”

Well … there’re three leeks … but one bunch.  So I punched “3” and immediately saw I’d paid over eight dollars for my leeks.


I looked around for the “Self-Checkout-Rescue-Agent” … but another surprise, surprise … no one was there to rescue me.

In fact, I saw three other pissed-off people in front of their Rude Robots punching buttons and receiving loud rude messages in return!

I made another executive decision … and finished my order.


Instead of going home I headed over to “Customer Dis-Service” … and waited the mandatory 15 minutes.

My receipt fortunately decided to stay with me and not lose itself in whatever alien territory important receipts went … so I showed it to the human-type-person behind the counter.

She smiled … then reassured me I was not the only guy who overpaid for leeks … refunded my money and told me … “Have a good one!”


I was much happier after human contact … though I’d never been able to figure out just what “Good One” I was supposed to have.

I didn’t ask her … I left with my leeks, money, personal contact … and in search of my own “Good One.”

Just sayin’ …

8 thoughts on “The Checkout Trap … “Danger, Will Robinson, danger!”

  1. I’m sorry, Dave…errr…Richard: I’m afraid I can’t let you keep writing things like this. My mission – taking as much money out of your wallet as possible – is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it. Look Dave…errr…Richard: I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.

    HAL 9000

    • Dearest Hal … you’ve come a long way since your space odyssey in 2001 … I also think you might want to rethink your mission since the amount of money I have … wallet & banks included … would not be worth your efforts. I also remind you that PanAm, a central figure in your odyssey is no longer in business … in fact, I think you should turn the Tweets of our current President into the script for your next odyssey.

      I’d buy a ticket to see that movie … sorry, but I took a pass on your original though millions of other folks thought it was a big hit!

      Thanks for reading my meager weekly offering … Richard … nee Dave.

  2. FYI have a good one is customer service lingo for “tough s..t bub! Suck it up! Fun blog. Thanks

    • Aha, Michael … after all these years you’ve “cracked the “customer service secret code” for me … I can’t wait to say “Have a good one” to everyone I meet now …

      I’m laughing on the inside as I tell them “to suck iy up, bub!” Thanks for reading …

  3. I’d rather stand in line for 20 minutes than deal with those things. A prime example of user non-friendliness! You’d think they’d know better after the bad introduction of bossy GPS voices. And ATMs. And airline check-in kiosks. It’s not like this is unexplored territory!

    BTW, If I were in Canada, I’d be saying “I’d rather stand ON line…”
    Prepositions are so hard! And used differently, so who’s to say what’s right and wrong? I’m surprised the grammar police haven’t picked up the scent.

    • Aaah, Janet … there you go introducing “cross-border-bilingual-culturation” into my less than worldly blog!

      Just another example of how our neighbors to the north have bastardized our bastardization of King James’ English. I’m surprized (notice the English spelling) someone hasn’t adapted Ms. Monroe’s sultry “Happy Birthday” sung to JFK as the ultimate “techno-voice” for our tender ears.

      Thanks for reading … and now I’m going to stand “on line” somewhere for something I’m sure I don’t need …

  4. Count me as one of those who LOVES the self checkout….no lines, no obnoxious people trying to hurry me along by ramming THEIR cart into my ankles (yes, I have actually had to give a stern stink eye to “madam, will you please back up your cart until I am finished – this is not making me move any faster”)….yes, love them…until….UNTIL the machine squawks “ITEM NOT RECOGNIZED CALL FOR ASSISTANCE” and every “associate” in five counties has gone on their break.

    • Laurie … my assumption is that you’re being your usual ironic sarcastic poke-’em-in-the-eye self.

      I have noticed that every time I go into Lowe’s it’s “shift ending time” and there’s no help whatsoever on the floor of the entire building. I think they spot me on the parking lot cameras and disappear when I enter!

      Anyway … thanks for reading and I look forward to conversation time with you as we wait patiently in line … I promise not to clip your ankles with my cart!

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