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I know this may be hard to believe but I have managed to find something else that annoys me about other people. Actually, more than one thing but they all relate to self-checkouts that have seemingly popped up at every store across the land in the last five years.

My first, and most major, peeve with these technical wonders is that they are not restricted to a certain number of items at many stores. Surely the point of the whole device is to speed up the checkout procedure but if Fanny FullCart pulls up with her 147 items she is surely only slowing the thing down, especially as she has to look up the 24 different types of onions she has.

I would say the blame for this problem should be evenly split between the stores and the individuals who try to self-scan a cart full of groceries. I mean obviously the stores should have signs up with a clear item limit posted – and to be fair some do – but Fanny is still a bit of an asshole for choosing the self-checkout anyway. There’s no way it will speed up her grocery store experience and the volume of other customers with nary a few cucumbers and meals-for-one between them should be a good indicator to queue elsewhere. Stupid Fanny.

This actually leads me into my second problem with self-checkouts which is also related to the stores’ often laissez-faire attitude to their operation: the lack of designated queuing areas. Forcing people to fend for themselves and form an orderly line might seem like a simple ask but it fails to take into account that people are assholes who will do anything to get slightly ahead of their fellow man. Some stores have the areas set up with a clear lane for waiting but other stores – like the bastard Sobey’s by my home – actually makes things miles worse by putting something in the middle of what should be the waiting area. THIS ONLY SPLITS THE QUEUE CONFUSING THE SITUATION FAR MORE THAN IS NECESSARY.

We all know how it goes. One person is waiting so you get behind them and then someone else goes to other side as if that entitles them to go before you. AND STORES ARE ENTITLING THESE ASSHOLES WITH CONFUSING WAITING AREAS! GET IN THE LINE YOU SUBHUMAN TITSNATCH.

Finally, if you have no idea how the machine operates, wait until a day when there is nobody waiting to take your first stab at it. I was at Safeway the other day and I saw a man waving a cucumber in front of the machine for a good five minutes; as if the machine would magically scan a non-existent bar code, extract the money from his wallet and whip up a delightful tzatziki if he just kept swiping at it. If you need assistance of any kind you should probably just be using a regular checkout. End of.

Actually that reminds me of another time I was at a self-checkout with my mother in Calgary and when prompted to scan her Club Card she swiped her Costco card which borderline crashed the machine. Then while waiting in mild embarrassment for assistance I heard a loud “Oh Maria!” Turns out the attendant was well-versed in my mother’s ability to bring the self-checkout to it’s knees with accidental swipes of every card in her wallet.

I suppose as a relatively new technology we as a society are still working out the kinks of the self-checkout system but at some point there will be a self-checkout reckoning and I for one look forward to it.

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