I'm no longer part of the resistance. That small, mostly middle-aged and above, band of people standing on principle who have heretofore refused to scan and bag our own purchases at the big box stores.
Yes, I caved last weekend.
Faced with the choice of enduring a long wait in a single line staffed by a paid employee, I pushed my cart to a self-checkout register and took a deep breath. When the rubber hit the road, I was more concerned by the long line and wait when I had an overly-ambitious Saturday agenda, than by my vow not to pad the pockets of corporate executives who are simply saving on employee costs with the automated check outs.
And what really irritates me is the fact they've done it in phases. They've played us like part of their experiment, slowing but methodically replacing humans with machines and the word SELF. First, one line was self-operated, then two, now 20.
Irritation aside, I stepped up to the plate and got my scanning wrist warmed up.
Everything was going well for me with my first few swipes. Toothpaste, no problem. Window cleaner, check. Loaf of bread, done. I didn't exactly look like an experienced packaging clerk as I struggled with the plastic bags, trying to sort food items from cleaning supplies and toiletries. But the scanning was working and I had managed to follow the instructions despite not breaking any records for speed.
Then, came a dilemma. I had purchased grapes, naval oranges and three bananas. They were sold by the pound. What do I do now? No one was behind me, luckily. I wasn't holding up the line, but suddenly I felt alone and scared and irritated all over again.
"Ok, wait. You are an intelligent person. You can do this." I told myself.
And I did. I clumsily found the right buttons to push and moved my produce to the bag. I'm not sure if I paid for the correct variety of grapes, but faced with a choice and no one around to help, I decided I had red-seedless and not globe and moved on.
I played right into the retailer's bet that consumers will eventually get on board with self-service shopping.
I'm old enough to remember when we hesitated to buy gas from a self-service pump and miss out on the free window wash and oil check. We eventually succumbed to that luxury which now seems almost comical.
I apologize for jumping ship to all of resistors who are standing their ground against the big box stores. I realize I've left you to fight the battle with one fewer soldier.
At the end of the day, I simply decided this was a battle I'm going to lose. It's inevitable and I may as well get with the program.