Nothing but Flowers
Monday, August 16, 2004
Grocery Self-checkout
Self check out machines at my neighborhood Jewel are either a marvelous addition or else a complete irritation. The jury is still out.

Of course, since I usually use Peapod for my grocery needs, this isn't something I consider very often. Especially since, as someone pointed out this weekend the food content of my kitchen is usually limited to diet coke and 4 or 5 boxes of stale cereal. I would argue that his characterization is a slight exaggeration: I also usually have leftovers and rotting fruit & veggies.

And the only person with more stuff in her freezer and/or pantry is my mother.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the topic at hand.

(you'll note that my absence from the blogosphere recently has been due to a confluence of personal events that conspired to make me very very very busy and emotionally overwhelmed, combined with disgust at the current state of politics).

I think that self-checkout machines are here to stay. A moment of respect, please, for the employees who were laid off (presumably) when the machines replaced two lanes. Lets hope an equal number of jobs were created in the plants that make/program/maintin the self-check machines. And remember that we are part of a global economy, and that outsourcing accounts for barely the tiniest of a half of a fraction of our current economic woes, but is a much sexier talking point than say the dramatic increases in productivity of George Bush's general mangling of everything.

At first, I was a huge proponent of the machines: if I am stuck in a line, it is no longer because of the incopotent checker. Now it is because of incopotent shoppers! Like me!

It is amazing how many people can not grasp the fundamentals of the machines. Scan your Fresh Values card. Scan UPCs and transfer items swiftly from the right (unscanned) weight to the left (scanned) bagging area/weight. Press cash or credit. Insert same. Receive change and receipt. Leave.

I keep assuming that there will be some self-selection among customers: If you understand how to use basic computers and are not scared by machines, then self-check-out (I'm going to hyphenate differently every time) is for you. If not, then there are still 8 (!) lanes with humans in them who will happily scan your items.

Clearly I am wrong since most of the time the 4 self check out machines are loudly proclaiming "press button for checker assistance" and flashing red. Or else stating "unexpected item in bagging area" because someone has tried to put something in a bag before scanning it.

None of those things has happened to me, I am happy to report. Except maybe the "unexpected item" thing when I (honestly) thought I had 3 cans of cat food but actually had 4.

I am, it should be noted one of those customers who tends to demand that everything be double bagged. Just In Case. However, when I am bagging my own groceries, I tend to skip this.

Today I stood with a cart (not basket, there weren't any) containing my modest groceries (just the staples: bannanas, Jello fat-free chocolate pudding, rice krispies, diet coke, skim milk) waiting for what seemed like forever for the luddites in front of me to finish bagging. Oh, I also had a bag of dry cat food. One of the relatively big bags. I was coming from rehearsal.

Having no sense of spatial relations I divided my two bags & available space in my timbuk2 messenger bag as follows:
messenger bag: diet coke, milk
plastic bag #1 (double bagged, for once): cereal, bannanas, pudding
#2: (not double bagged) cat food.

Seems reasonable? It did to me. until a half block later when I was ankle-deep in cat food. You see, the amount of stuff does not directly correlate with its weight.

And this is why bagging should be left to the professionals.

I also knocked over an endcap inside the store earlier in the adventure. But that was totally not my fault.

And here I was thinking that doing tae bo would make me more graceful.

Off to showtunes. yay!
Sunday, August 01, 2004
No matter how you spin it, the headline Cubs land Garciaparra in four-team deal was bound to upset me. At least it's the cubs, at least the red sox get some defense, but I've believed in nomar from the beginning. I didn't want him to go. he's been with the red sox for as long as I've been a consistent enough fan to know the starting rotation.

At least he's moving down the street from me. At least I'll practically be able to hear his name announced when he comes to the plate. but it won't be nom-ah gar-ci-a-parr-rr-rr-rr-a in a boston accent. and that's just sad.

The moving LCD above one of my neighborhood bars currently reads "nomah....nomah...maddox 300...nomah..." That was not what I needed coming home at 2:30am from a tech rehearsal that started at 12.


On the upside the show looks pretty darn good.

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