Self serve or regular checkout?
Self serve or regular checkout?

Tell it like it is Tuesday

WHEN supermarket self-serve checkouts were introduced, I jumped on my soap box insistent I would not be scanning and bagging unless I wore a company uniform, be given staff discount on liquor and a weekly pay cheque.

No way would self-serve be for me. Never mind friends telling me "you'll save time at the self-serve" I was adamant, I was saving jobs and standing up for a principle.

That all changed the day before the last public holiday. Normal checkout queues were so long that standing in line for a principle was successfully challenged by my full bladder. Out of pure necessity I jumped ship to self-serve.

To quote Disney, the self-serve was "a whole new world, shining, shimmering splendid." Entering the special corralled section, little checkouts side-by-side with green lights flashing like a row of pokies, made me think this could work after all.

Self-serve is like 'fight club' - nobody talks. And that's the beauty of it. No more conveyor belt shuffle and making small talk. It's not personal but some days I just don't feel like chatting with other shoppers or the checkout operator about the lack of rain, or too much rain, the amount of tourists in town, lack of tourists in town or if the avocado shampoo I'm buying really does give a luscious lustre.

Once I got the hang of weighing fruit and veg and the difference between scanning a round and a long bread roll there was no stopping me. There was no going back. I was converted, self-serve all the way. Until last week.

At a supermarket, which shall remain nameless, they've now ignored the first rule of self-serve (no talking) and have installed a "meeter and greeter". No. No. No. That's the whole reason we go to self-serve, so we don't have to do the whole "how's your day going?" "yeah fine thanks" crap.

I can handle sneaky side-eye from the self-serve "minder" making sure I don't scan $12kg grapes as $1kg carrots but looking at me directly and starting a conversation? Now you've gone too far. I'm going back to the normal checkout. On principle.



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