Am I the only person bothered by the recent proliferation of “self-checkout” lines at stores?

Granted, waiting in line with one or two items can be frustrating, so one or two self-serve checkouts is helpful. But when the self-serve stations outnumber the staffed stations, it’s too much.

From my point of view, the situation can be problematic in several ways.

First and foremost, the darned scanners at the self-checkouts fight with me and scold me. “Please place the item in the bagging area.” The item has been placed in the bag which is in the bagging area, but the item is very light and evidently didn’t “register” on the scale. And so I loudly respond, “It’s IN the bagging area already!” Then I pick up the item and pound it on the bottom of the bag. The bagging area isn’t very big so when I fill up one bag and put it into my cart in order to start filling a second bag, I’m commanded to return the first bag to the bagging area! That’s when I shoot “the look” at the attendant so he/she can push a button and clear my problem remotely or come to my rescue. “The look” is translated: Fix this darned thing before I totally freak and start beating on it!

Also, if I have chosen fruit without a code sticker, I must “research” it in the produce book so I know how much to charge myself.

As the shopper, I think the self-service aspect of grocery shopping should end when I take the item, which I’ve selected myself, out of the cart to pay for it!

Another thing that really bothers me about self-checkouts is that they’re putting people out of work. If the stores replace paid employees with self-checkouts, they’re saving money. Yet, prices seem to be going up instead of down.

And, why don’t we shoppers get a discount when we bag our own groceries in the bags we brought from home and check ourselves out? Shouldn’t those cash registers spit out a “thank-you” in the form of cash or a “$5 off your next order” coupon?

At least one supermarket now has a robot roaming the aisles. “He” gets in the way and makes annoying sounds. Is “he” the face of what’s to come? Will “he” replace the few clerks who remain?

All of this brings back memories of Cressler’s thick, green, paper grocery bags when someone bagged your groceries AND took them to your car for you.

Now stores are encouraging consumers to order online and “we’ll bring your groceries to your car!” As if that’s something new.

Is this progress or are we just going around in circles?

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