In our earlier discussion of the merits of self-service at supermarket checkouts in Canberra Woody Mann-Caruso has devoted some time to the different characters inhabiting the self service lines at the Erindale Woolworths.
I enjoyed it enough to give it some light editing and a reposting as its own story. So here they are:
- Broccoli Man:
Broccoli Man believes there is a tiny person in the checkout. By waving his broccoli in front of the machine, he shows it to the tiny person who (a) can tell that it’s broccoli and (b) can tell exactly what it weighs. Isn’t technology wonderful? Broccoli Man is endlessly disappointed when he puts the broccoli in the bag only to get an angry beep. Rather than trying something different, Broccoli Man just does the same thing over and over and over again until the attendant shows him how to Look Up Item. Then he tries to scan the next non-scannable item.
Trolley Woman has eleven thousand items in her trolley. Trolley Woman is determined to scan each and every one in a particular order. See, Trolley Woman is rummaging for something at the bottom of the trolley. Now she looks at it. She looks at the bag. She looks at the item. She looks at the bag. She realises her error – it is not the shampoo’s destiny to be scanned now. Back in the trolley, and more rummaging.
Homeschool Mother lets her two very special children with their very special home haircuts and their very special home-knit Jesus Jumpers take turns picking what they want to scan, then watches them fight over who gets to scan it, then lets them fight over who puts it in the bag. She does this for all four hundred Sanitarium carob products in her trolley. God bless them all.
Premature Lad doesn’t wait for the green light. He wants this done as fast as he can. He scans and scans and scans and throws it all in the bag, then frowns at the red light. His wife frowns, too. I don’t wonder why one little bit.
Alphabet Man knows how to use the ‘Look Up Item’ button, so in a way he’s ahead of Broccoli Man. However, he doesn’t know what ‘alphabetical order’ means, and so scrolls up and down the screens looking for ‘apples’ after ‘asparagus’.
Retina Dysfunction Girl:
Born with the rods and cones in her eyes upside down and with a dodecahedrol lens, she cannot find bar codes on objects. Any object. Ever. Watch as she turn the Just Right box round and round and round and round. “It’s on the bottom,” I cough helpfully. “Thanks,” she says. Then she does the same thing with the next Just Right box.
What Line Dude:
What Line Dude figures that there are six checkouts, so there should be six lines. Here, he’ll just start line number two right at the front, and the thirty people in line number one can just got f*** themselves.
You Serve Self Serve Lady:
YSSS Lady loves the convenience of the self-serve checkouts. She particularly loves making the attendant scan and bag every single one of her items for her, because she doesn’t know how it works.
Random Slot Guy:
Random Slot Guy puts his money in the EFTPOS machine. The change slot. He tries scanning the money. He’s confused. His girlfriend is unhappy. Again, we know why.
TM has pulled the stems off those gourmet tomatoes. He presses Look Up Item and selects the cheap tomatoes. He rings up that bag of $12.99/kg snow peas as $3.99 green beans. Those $7.99 Lebanese cucumbers are $2.99 zucchinis. He doesn’t seem to get caught. Once, the attendant stops him. “Sorry,” he says, “wasn’t thinking.” The attendant smiles and says it’s OK. I think this is why I hate him the most. That, or because he has his new HSV parked in a disabled space and he isn’t.