Starving Artists Need to Shop

Today’s blog post has nothing to do with my life as an artist. Unless, of course, when you think about “artist” you think “starving artists;” which in turn makes you think of food, and therefore the need to shop for groceries. Today’s post is about shopping for groceries and one of my pet peeves – technology that is supposed to save us time, but doesn’t.

A few nights ago I stopped in the grocery store to buy a few things. I dashed through the store picking up about 15 or 20 items; too many items to justify getting on the express checkout lane. I cruised down the rows looking for a relatively short line. They were all at least three full shopping carts deep. So being a person who embraces technology, I decided to use the self-checkout lane.

I approached and pressed the screen. It greeted me by saying, “Attendant required.” I looked helplessly over at the spikey-haired attendant perched on her throne. She wielded great power that elevated her to goddess status. She pushed a button and the computer said, “Please scan your first item.” I scanned two items and then it wouldn’t scan my next item. My first assumption was that I scanned the item too quickly. So I s-l-o-w-l-y moved the bar code across the scanner. No luck. Maybe the scanner is nearsighted. I moved the item as close to the scanner as possible and again moved it slowly. No luck. At this point frustration sets in and I begin to wildly wave the item back and forth over the scanner. At some point it actually worked. I think the goddess may have intervened on my behalf. I don’t know who invented the scanner, but I imagine that he or she would be quite entertained watching me operate their invention. I continued to scan the rest of my items with varying degrees of success. Finally I was down to the two bottles of wine I was buying. One of which I was now sure I would open when I got home. Again I had to look over at the goddess and convince her that I was indeed more than twice the legal age for purchasing alcohol. Amazingly this didn’t take much convincing. Finally, I took my plastic bags and loaded them in my car. Plastic bags, by the way, are another pet peeve of mine. Whatever happened to environmentally friendly paper bags? They hold so much more and are so much easier to stack in my car. By the time I get home with my groceries half of them have spilled out of the plastic bags. And no, this has nothing to do with my New York driving habits.

So did the self-checkout save me any time? Nope! The people on the regular checkout line were all out the door well before me. So next time I think I’ll do what we used to do in the old days before this wonderful technology. Think I’ll just stand on line and read the Inquirer while I wait.

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