Tips for using the self-checkouts at the supermarket!

I once spent $2,712.16 on a lime!

I was at the self-checkout at my local grocery store which normally works very well for me…except, every now and then I realize I have a piece of fruit or a veggie that needs to be “looked up” or “weighed” and I get a little panicky.

I stood in the “form single line here” line, smiling proudly at all the scaredy cats too nervous to try out the new technology! I admit…I didn’t want to try the self-checkouts when they first came out either but for a small order, it saves time AND they usually work pretty good!

Finally, it was my turn to prove how technologically savvy I am and I stepped up to the machine…head held high! Like everything in life, every now and then things go awry…maybe an item isn’t in the system, maybe your kid is leaning on the scale, or, maybe he’s excitedly scanning the next item before you’ve placed it in the bag-scale thing…the buzzer keeps buzzing and he keeps scanning…you start yelling and he looks all broken-hearted ’cause he was only trying to help and folks are looking at you like you’re the worst mother in the world!! (That explains one of my crappier self-checkout days.)

Somedays, the machine doesn’t work, because you decide to buy a lime!

I looked it up, entered the code of #4048 and hit the enter button. (Truth be told, I couldn’t find the limes under “L” in the “look up your item” section but I found lemons, so I picked that code instead.) BUT, it didn’t seem to accept the code even though I KNEW there was no way the machine could tell it was a lime and not a lemon! The screen was telling me to enter the code again and when I did….all hell broke loose!

First understand my necessity for a lime. I had a fridge full of Corona and I was feeling the onset of a scurvy attack…but TWO THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWELVE DOLLARS AND SIXTEEN CENTS!! I’m sure Jacques Cartier and the early explorers would have happily paid a handsome price…but not me…even for a Corona! It was outrageous…obviously they had a glitch in their system and I was there to show them!

I clicked on the “button for idiots needing help” and the light on the little pole attached to the cash station repeatedly flashed red in anticipation for the Self-checkout Leader to arrive.

I stood there totally embarrassed and wishing I’d gone to a line up with a real person even though I knew it wasn’t my mistake. I looked over at the regular check-outs and the cashiers had that “you should have come to a line up with a real person” look on their face…secretly happy that one more person is screwing up at the self-checkout and as long as idiots keep using it their jobs are totally safe!

Eventually help arrived, the flashing red light was finally turned off, the alarm sound in my head stopped…and I was released from my misery.

Turned out it was my mistake…SURPRISE!  The second time I entered the code I was actually supposed to put in the quantity of limes I was purchasing…which in my case was one…not four thousand and forty-eight!  Even the early explorers in need of their Vitamin C would agree…that’s a lot of limes!

I’m heading to the bookstore to buy a copy of “Self-checkouts for Dummys” but in the meantime…here’s a few things I’ve figured out that I can pass along…

  1. Don’t use the self-checkout for a full cart load of groceries! Only use it if you used a mini cart, have a basket of items, or have an armload of things you need to ring through quickly.
  2. Don’t bring children to the self-checkout line. They get all too eager and make you look like a complete moron within seconds. Bring them to the regular checkout with the candy instead…much smarter!
  3. When arriving at the checkout, organize yourself. Get your bags ready to place your items into. Take out your Air Miles card and method of payment. Take a peek at the checkout so you know where everything is located…where you put your card in, or your money…where your receipt comes out…or your change. (Oh… and check the change tray…many idiots flee before finding out where it’s located.)
  4. Don’t use coupons unless you’re super savvy at self checkout or it’s just rude…not thrifty! (As I was told by the person behind me!)
  5. Remember, even if you start to panic, don’t put tin goods in the bag with your bread!
  6. Scan the bar code of one item…wait for the confirmation beep…place it in the bag on the magic bag scale contraption. I repeat…an item MUST go in the bag before you can proceed…it knows…that’s the magic part. Once bagged…move on to the next item.
  7. If you don’t know the names of every variety of lettuce…go to a real checkout.
  8. If you have 4,048 limes…go to a real checkout.
  9. If your cell phone rings…don’t stop to take the call. Seriously people!
  10. If your debit card won’t work, turn it the other way.
  11. If you lock up the entire system and have to press the “button for idiots needing help” button which summons the Self checkout Leader…don’t be surprised by the flashing lights…or the smug looks on all the other people’s faces. And don’t tell her it’s the machines fault! It’s yours…embrace it…and next time go to a real checkout.


5 Replies to “Tips for using the self-checkouts at the supermarket!”

  1. OMG Colleen! You had me laughing OUT LOUD! I us the self check out all the time andalways leave ANNOYED and embarassed but I hate the way other people pack my oun groceries! AND you can only imagine doing it with Joe! But I have to hand it to you….buying 4048 limes TAKES THE CAKE! You rock!!!!

  2. I love this story Colleen! I love your blog! I can't believe I was at the self-check out line with you and walked away just before your inconvenient touch of a few wrong buttons! I haven't laughed this much in a very long time. Thanks…..

  3. I believe it was you who threw me off my game Shelly!!! Glad you're enjoying the read!