Monday, November 21, 2011

Where Do You Keep Your Crazy Pills?

There is a pharmacy up the street from us that K has decided to boycott because a few months ago they ripped out all their cash registers and replaced them with self-service machines. Given that I prefer as little human contact as possible in most retail situations, I was all for the automation and have continued to patronise the place. But after tonight's shopping experience, I get the impression there is likely to be an 8x10 photograph of yours truly posted up around the place. Good grief.

I was walking back from the gym, rocking out to my old lady radio station on my iPod and I headed into the pharmacy. I had only brought $20 with me, so I relied on my superior mathematical skills to instruct me when to stop shopping and cash out. You are already seeing my problem, aren't you? Arms loaded with stuff, I headed for the faceless automaton check-out and started scanning. Bleep, bleep, bleep - the purchases whooshed through.

Then we stalled. The scanner couldn't read the bodywash barcode. Or, more accurately, wouldn't read the bodywash barcode. The machine disputed that I had put it in the bag. "Incorrect weight", it kept saying. I took the bodywash out of the bag; I put it back into the bag. "Incorrect weight", the machine insisted. I tried to ignore the message and scan my Diet Coke instead. The machine was not having any of that. It had clearly dealt with humans trying to circumvent its authority before. I huffed and puffed, and made a none-too-subtle comment under my breath about the state of the universe when a machine won't even let you buy bodywash. And just at the point where I was going to squirt bodywash all over the machine's circuitry, a ridgey-didge staff member came over to help me. He possessed the magic credit card override thingy that told the machine to scan the freaking bodywash and get over it.

But the machine was not going to back down easily. As Human Being stood idly by, I scanned my extra purchases. The machine stubbornly refused to acknowledge my toilet paper, hand soap or chewing gum. One by one, Human Being swooshed his increasingly unimpressive credit card override thingy at the machine until (finally) all my purchases were in the bag. We looked at the computer screen.

The smug electronic bastard decided to charge me $20.95. I could almost hear it laughing; mocking me. As Human Being became absorbed in studying his shoes, or the ceiling, or anything else that wasn't me, I huffed and puffed some more and tore into my shopping bag to remove whatever item I could not apparently afford. Grabbing the first thing to hand, I hurled it off to the side and narrowed my eyes into slits at the machine.

Trying to salvage whatever suggestion of sanity I could, I thanked Human Being profusely for helping me defeat a smartass computer. Human Being did his best not to page the pharmacist.

It wasn't until I scurried off into the night that I realised that the item I'd surrendered was the toilet paper - the one thing I actually went shopping for in the first place.


Anonymous said...

In that case I'm glad you kept the body wash.

Coco cooks said...

LOL. I hate those machines. Thy still pay ppl to hover so why don't they just ring it up and bag it?

Kate said...

Now you understand why I have boycotted the stupid place. I can't deal with those ridiculous machines and I feel bad for all the useless people that used to have jobs there and are surely unemployable anywhere else!

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