I Scan, U Scan… Move Your Ass If You Can (2019 Rants #1)

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Do you know what sticks in my craw?

Self-checkout time burglars.

I love the self-service scanning stations at stress. I don’t want to deal with people when I’m shopping even when I have no other choice. Especially when I have no other choice. When they first became available to the public here in Southwest Ohio people, other than I, avoided the boxy units like they held a series of enormous needles each tipped with a different horrible disease. But time went on, and more people realized just how awesome the machines were.

Of course, there will always be a vein of Luddites (I love you crazy diamonds) and people screaming about individual jobs (I agree with you, but you can’t stop progress) who will never use the self-checkouts.

Mad respect for yawl but I ain’t one of ya.

This is not to say the Self-Checkout system is perfect.

Far from it.

They breakdown, the weight sensors suck on older models, you need help from a person to buy alcohol and/or cold medicine, and the speed of your checkout is often based on how fast the people in front of you move and how knowledgeable they are with the system.

Now before I get into the meat of this little birch session let me make it very clear. I have no real issue with people who aren’t knowledgeable with the system especially the elderly. I know a lot of elders who can handle modern technology as well if not better than a middle-aged Gen-X’er like myself. But tell the truth and shame the hypocrites, they do have a steeper learning curve.

That said let’s get to what set me off.

Yesterday was irritating. I had to leave the house (the horror of that is worth a thirty-second rant on its own) and go to my daughter school to fill out a missing permission slip. Apparently, after I signed it last week, she lost it and never bothered to tell me. Once slip number two was signed and entrusted to the school secretary, I decided to stop at the local Super Center (take your pick, they’re all the same) to pick up a few things I really didn’t need.

Once my cart was packed I went the Self-Checkouts. I had too many for the expressed checkouts, so I used one of the big belt driven ones. Seconds after I stepped up and started the game of pitching my wares down the belt. A woman of indeterminate age, but definitely older than me, stepped in behind me.


Side Tangent: When I was a little kid once got yelled at by a cashier for allowing my hand to rest on the moving belt because I liked how it felt (still do). My mother lost her shit on the cashier, a bitter looking crone who probably ended her day smelling of Mad Dog 20/20 and Chesterfields, and told her to mind her own fucking business and to never speak to her son again. I don’t know if my mom was justified in her reaction, but gods damn it was amazing. My mom can be hardcore.


Now back to my rant.

I hate to make people wait in the line so I rapid slid my items through and paid for them as fast as I could. The entire time the woman mean mugged me with an expression worthy of a sociopath. It was clear she wanted me done and gone. I dropped the bar across the end of the table so she could begin her transaction while I bagged. I assumed (you know what happens when you assume boils and ghouls) she would ratchet back on the bitch face and get to business.

She did not.

Instead, she glared at me while I bagged the items.

She glared at me while I put the bags in my cart.

She glared at me as I walked away and made an interrogative coughing noise.

I looked back, saw I left the bar down (the bar I’d put down for her), walked back over, lifted the bar away, and walked back to my cart.

The entire time the wonderful young lady glared at me,

As I left the building, I saw she was finally scanning her groceries.

So, my question is simple.


Was she having a bad day? Was she distracted and perhaps unaware of her actions (or inactions)? Does she have mental and/or psychological problems? Is she severely OCD? Or, perhaps, is she just a giant bitch.

I don’t know, and will probably never know, the reason, but I do know one thing. She freaked me the fuck out.


- Josh

Josh Hilden

When I was born on August 3, 1976 in the great state of Michigan the hills shook and the sky was swept with fire. These were portents of the greatness for my future that was written in the stars ... I'm still waiting for that greatness. My name is Josh Hilden and I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a son, a friend. These are all important things but at my core I am an artist and the medium that I work in is words. I am a writer of Horror, Science Fiction, Drama, and Role Playing Games. I worked for Palladium Books (www.palladiumbooks.com) and Third Eye Games (www.thirdeyegames.net) before striking out on my own and founding a small press publishing company Gorillas with Scissors Press (www.gwspress.com). I also work for Fat Goblin Games (www.fatgoblingames.com). In the everyday world I can be found spending time with my family and friends. I have been married to my lovely wife Karen since 1996 and we have six amazing children. We tend to be a family of unabashed geeks and gamers who were geek before geek was chic. If you are really interested in me I am very active online with a personal and a writing blog along with a plethora of social media outlets. If you have any questions or just want to chat hit me up!