Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's *wrong* with people?

And by "people," I certainly mean "me," as well.

So yesterday? After the dog shit incident? I went to the closest grocery store to grab some mozzarella for the awesome spinach-and-ricotta stuffed shells I was making for dinner. I thought I already had the cheese in the freezer -- you can do that you know, buy a huge bag of shredded cheese and freeze it. In theory this saves money and time. In practice that's usually true, except there I was on my way to the store at the last minute, so draw your own conclusions -- but either I didn't have any, or the freezer is so unworkably full of other things (mostly overripe bananas waiting to become banana bread) and the mozzarella so deeply buried as to functionally not exist, which is a separate problem, and should probably be a separate post.

I digress.

I went to the closest grocery store, instead of the best grocery store. I only do this under duress, because the closer store is horrid, from its awkward parking lot to its layout and stock and vacant-eyed employees. I parked, ran in. Got the cheese. Headed to the checkout -- express line for me, with my one item.

And I landed right behind a cheater. It's one thing to go through the express line when you have 13 items instead of 12... by mistake, or just trying to squeak by, I guess we've all done it. But to do it with several more than 12 items, most of which are produce? And it's one of the self-check lines where you have to look up the produce items individually and key them in on the touch screen? Which takes forever, especially if you're not really up on how to do it? Sorry, but that's rude. Rude rude rude.

But whatever. I just scrubbed dog poop off my kitchen floor -- I've experienced more than my fair share of rudeness today, and this isn't going to make it any worse.

But she's still a cheater. And a thief! Look! She just scanned through some of those tiny hot peppers, and the register announces "move your GREEN BELL PEPPERS to the belt... TWENTY TWO CENTS." HEY! If those are green bell peppers, lady, I'm Miley Cyrus. And if little hot peppers are less expensive than bell peppers, I'm Billy Ray Cyrus. THIEF!

She scrambles through the rest of her stuff... including a bag of three limes, which she counts as one lime. I can't watch any more. She goes forward to bag her loot, I step up to scan my cheese. "DON'T FORGET TO TAKE YOUR RECEIPT," says the machine to the lady. Back she comes.

"Green bell peppers are getting smaller every day," I say, before I can stop myself. She has the decency to look sheepish and scuttle away.

So why do I include myself in "what's wrong with people?" Because I don't want to be a finger-wagging busybody. I just want to get my cheese and go home. But these things get to me, when I see them. What's the point of playing by the rules if well-dressed middle-aged ladies are shamelessly stealing limes and jalapeno peppers in broad daylight? Who do these people think they are?


  1. Aw man! If you didn't live half way across the country from me, I would have thought you were talking about me at first. Our grocery store just put up new signs at the check out aisles and the "Express Lane" signs are much higher than they used to be. So I inadvertently stepped into one with half a cart of food the other day. The checker was like "This time it's OK, but next time this is 15 items or less." And I was like, "Um... there's no sign that says that." And he's like [pointing finger up to location of new sign]. And I'm like "Oh... sorry. I was looking for it here... and... [turning to look at lady behind me who only had CHEESE]... sorry... I didn't realize..."

    But I don't cheat at the self-check out lines so, at least I've got that going for me!

  2. No no no... a simple "sorry... I didn't realize..." puts a world of difference between you and the lady in my post.

    That, and the not stealing thing. :)

  3. The sad thing is, even with the lousy pay for cashiers, it's cheaper for supermarkets to put in one of these machines (made overseas, of course) where people can cheat, than it is to hire a real live person.

  4. oooooh, banana bread

  5. I say, keep calling the cheaters out, discreet as you did, without getting in their face. You will shame some into reforming (at least for a little while) and the rest are incorrigible. Just be prepared to duck or back down, if they react with hostility.

  6. Of course, we know WHICH lousy supermarket you were at because we have the self-checkout register schtick down pat. "Weigh your BROCCOLI....Move your BROCCOLI to the belt."

    I think they ought to have a little automation IQ test at the start of the self-checkout process and if you fail, you go back to human checkers.

    Theoretically, the machine checks the size of whatever you are scanning (as it moves down the belt) and will send it back if it's too big or too small. That's a pretty rough check, probably not applicable to peppers, but it's something.

    Amusingly, I have had the store assistants come through on more than one occasion ot help out with a balky self-checker, and THEY have punched in the wrong produce code (usually something common like Green Peppers instead of something less common that I am buying) - I suspect that the accuracy of the self-checkout machines (even with occasional cheaters) is as good if not better than the paid (and hopefully, produce trained) staff figuring out what is in the little plastic bag...