It happens every time I go shopping. I eye up the queue of people waiting at the checkouts, then I eye up the empty self-service checkouts. ‘It’ll be fine’ I think to myself, because I’m too stupid to realise I’m yet to make it through a self-service checkout in any shop unscathed. There is always at least one error message, maybe a few, and once the chain reaction has started it seems to go on and on. There is always one poor person running furiously back and forth trying to sort out all the error messages; and I have to resist pleading with them not to walk away and leave me until I’ve finished. But without a doubt, worst of all are the dreaded words
‘unexpected item in the bagging area’
because no matter how innocent the error is, I translate the robotic voice to this.
‘thieving piece of scum on self-service checkout 4 is trying to nick a reduced pot of hummus’
and they are talking about me
So back comes the run around person who waves the magic wand and gets it all going again while I try to explain that I DID in fact put the reduced hummus through the bleeper but it can’t have read the bar code properly but….. and the run around person has walked (or run) off to assist someone with an unexpected item in the bagging area….
So then I switch and go through a phase of having the people ring the stuff through again. It’s actually less harrowing in Orkney than it was in certain stores where I used to live. There was one particular store where the checkout staff would ram the shopping through at such a speed it would cause a multiple pile up of groceries and make me wonder if they were in a desperate hurry for the toilet or something. I once asked the girl if she would slow down as I was struggling to keep up and she gave me daggers and said ‘you’re not packing it properly’
Cheeky mare! I’ve been dragging my sorry backside around supermarkets for decades. Far longer than she’d been alive, and added to that I was raised by The Mothership. Jeepers creepers NO ONE knows how to pack shopping better than her, and I’m as obsessed because she’s passed on the gene. So no little girl, I think you’ll find I AM packing it right and you need to brush up on your manners. I finished by passive aggressively packing my shopping slowly and paid her while having a glare off. Me because she’s too fast and her because I’m too slow.
These days I tend to shop at the many lovely local shops we have around Orkney or shop online and have it delivered. It cuts out all the which checkout trauma and also stops me mainlining a packet of biscuits on the journey home just to calm me down.