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The yearly convocation...

modelmaker and reanastormblade are up with the girls for the yearly holiday-week visit... what an everlovin' boon! M, P, N and A all fell immediately into their accustomed close-knit cameraderie, which is a joy to see; where the siblings would be in each others faces after an hour or so, the four of them together get along with very few issues.

Having K & M around is pretty cool too. :) Conversations flow seamlessly for hours on end from past experiences to opinions to politics to history to film to music to cooking to kids to school to education to philosophy to crafts to science to ... well, you get the idea; it's a GT consuite in miniature. It brings home how unusual this type of friendship is, in that I really don't have anything of the sort with anyone locally. Interspersed with these stream-of-consciousness conversations are companionable silences of knitting, reading and internet-surfing. (Else we'd all be going hoarse.) And bless them, they brought along a bag of real bagels from Chicago Bagel and Bialy, as they always do. The simplest things make the biggest treats. (You can't GET real bagels around here, unless you make them yourself -- which we can, and do, but it's not an easy thing to match the sheer variety entailed by the phrase '2 dozen bagels, please, and mix 'em up!')

Once again, I repeat: The self-check registers aren't that hard to use. Step 1: Scan item. Step 2. Place in bag. Repeat. It's NOT rocket science.
The standout customer of the day, and What I DID Say, is a self-check register experience. She had something like 26 or 27 items -- well within the capacity of the self-check register but really more than they're worth using for. In any case, her technique went as follows:
[Customer scans item]
Register: (*BEEP*)
[Customer waits, item in hand, watching the register display hawkishly.]
Register: "Please place item in bagging area."
[Customer continues to watch display with deepening suspicion]
[Self-check register monitor terminal displays bagging timeout alarm]
[I grit my teeth and override the alarm, telling the register that the item will not be bagged.]
[Customer places item in bagging area]
Register: "Unexpected item in bagging area."
[I roll my eyes and override the resulting Weight Increase alarm.]
... Repeat for the next item.

After the 3rd or 4th item, I said, "Ma'am, if you just bag the item immediately after you scan it, you'll find it goes much more quickly." She didn't reply, but did spare the time to give me a glare that should have incinerated me on the spot. "Okay, fine," says I to myself, "Have it your way."

Sixteen or seventeen items later, all with virtually the same sequence of events as outlined above, she finally sought enlightenment:

[Customer scans item]
Register: (*BEEP*)
[Customer waits, item in hand, watching the register display hawkishly.]
Register: "Please place item in bagging area."
Customer: [turns to me] HOW DO I MAKE THIS DAMN THING SHUT UP?!?
Me: "Please place item in bagging area."


Me: "Please place item in bagging area."


My only problem with the auto-scanners is they're too slow. If I have more than a dozen items and there's a moderately competent cashier around, I'll go to them just to save time.
I've pointed out to many people that they aren't faster than going to a regular cashier, and aren't meant to be. They're touted as being 'convenient' and 'fun'... but not fast.
Unfortunately, even with the delays, sometimes it *is* faster than some of the cashiers at both the Kroger and Meijer. This is not only because of queueing issues (i.e. I can just go to one and bypass the eight lanes with multiple people with full carts) but sometimes the cashiers are *that* slow.

I find it particularly frustrating because I used to be pretty darned fast as a cashier.

Personally I'd like to find the morons in the marketing department who think "convenient" and "fun" are good descriptions. Then I'd like to deck them.
I rather suspect you'd have to get in line. Would you like the self-deck line, or have a cashier do it for you?