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I Have To Vent For A Second…Maybe I Need to Work On Patience

October 7, 2009

So I was on my way home the other day after having just picked up a Costco pizza for dinner. I remembered that we needed milk so I decided to stop really quickly in QFC and get the milk, saving a trip later. I grab the milk and jump in the self-check line…and I wait, and wait, and wait while people occupy the four check-out spots. And I continue to wait, and wait, and wait. You’ve got the one lady with 12 bottles of wine, the guy with a whole cart full of produce that he has to enter, the other lady who has a cart full of stuff and has obviously never used the self check before, and the two people who are having a conversation while they casually scan their idea of “About 15” items. I’ve got one item, the guy in front of me has two cans of beer, the woman behind me has some spaghetti and a jar of sauce. The regular check-out lines that we like to avoid when we have a couple of items for the self-don’t-call-it-quick-check have already cycled through, and these same four people are still doing the self-check.

The thing is, each one of these people had purchases with a higher degree of difficulty or were taking serious liberties with the About 15 items rule. For me, I think if you have a purchase that is going to need assistance (as the lady with the full cart did), or has the potential for problems (read: lady with the wine), or is going to consume a certain amount of time (hey produce guy, really, your going to individually enter every piece by looking it up on the computer system? In the self-check line?) then you should go through the regular check-out line where they have humans there to handle your order personally. Because damn it, my pizza is getting cold and my milk is getting warm.

It just frustrates me to no end when I’m standing waiting for a self-check to open up behind the lady who has three huge bags of soil from the garden department and tells the attendant that she wants to get 12 more bags. Really, you decided that the self-check line would be the best place for that transaction?

It downright pisses me off when there are huge lines in the store and there is a girl taking up a self-check station talking on her phone and barely even doing her checking, and when she does finally finish, while still on the phone, doesn’t know how to pay, and instead of getting off the phone and figuring it out just kind of stares. Get off the f**king phone and figure out how to pay for your shit!

I guess it is just irritating to see people in the get in and get out quick line abusing what I feel are the unspoken rules:

1. No difficult orders that will require assistance. This includes clothes that you know did not have a tag on them.

2. If you’ve never used the self-check start small, like pack of gum small, to familiarize yourself with the system.

3. Bag as you go. Look, I bring my own bag. And I bag as I f**king go. No scanning all your items, then pulling out the bags when you are done and taking another five minutes to bag while my milk is getting warm and my pizza’s getting cold.

4. No more than three items that you have to look up (produce, bakery, etc.).

5. If you are carrying on a conversation with someone, or you’re text messaging, or you are on the phone and not doing what you are in line to do (that is checking out your groceries) we, who are waiting in line, can take you outside and kill you.

6. Big items, like yards of soil, or TVs, are not to be purchased in self-check. If it can’t fit in the bagging area, get in a regular line.

7. About 15 items means 16, maybe 17. But if I check your cart and you have 20 or more, then you have get on the store intercom and announce to everyone that you can’t f**king count, and then you have to personally carry out the 15 bags of soil being purchased by the other jackass in the self-check line.

Speaking of carts, I think it should be put under consideration that only baskets are allowed. If you got a cart, get in the regular line.

Self-check is meant to be quick, easy, efficient. Get you in, get you out. But increasingly I am seeing people that have no business, NO BUSINESS, going through the self-check taking their own sweet time and completely destroying the intention of the self-check. I know you don’t want to wait in line, but dammit, if you are having to get help with your order over and over, that’s what cashier training is for, that’s why the cashiers go to cashiers training, that why they have lines where you get personal service, so that they can help you with the check-out, not so that the guy with the can of beer, the lady with the toddler and the five items, and my warm milk can sit there and watch you occupy a station that you were at when I got in line and are still at when I’m done checking out and heading to the parking lot.

Are these people narcissistic and self-absorbed? Or am I just selfish and think my milk is more important than you having to have the attendant help you identify the odd vegetable in the item-look-up menu for the fifth time?

Maybe I just need to work more on patience and realize that the self-check is fair game. If you want to talk on phone and let the line back up, that’s your business. If you want to bring half the garden department through the line, go for it. If you want to practice your self-check skills while there are 10 people in line, that’s fine. If you want to treat the self-check as your own universe because you are entitled, who am I to argue?

After all, I could’ve just as easily taken my milk and got into a regular line, with a regular cashier, behind the people who knew they had no business in self-check.

Or maybe I need to start meditating while I’m waiting. Who knows, my book might just be titled: “How I Achieved Enlightenment in the Self-Check Line”.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Melanie Chase permalink
    October 8, 2009 8:27 am

    Ok, now that I am done laughing so hard, I cannot go by this without a comment or two.

    It does seem that people are now living like they are the walking unconscience. I have noticed the last couple years people seem to be trying to function in a haze. Not paying attention to what is going on around them. They are oblivious to how they may or may not effect the rest of us. No one really notices because it is commonplace. Sometimes we all need a lesson in patience and sometimes we need to remember rightous anger is necessary at times.

    You would think that some things are just plain common sense, but I have learned that common sense in not common. I also think people can suffer from specialness of self and not even realize it. Or maybe we are all on overload and the more we put on out plate, the more something that should be a no brainer falls off the plate.

    Jason, I have known you for years. It takes a lot for you to get to the point of needing to vent. I think we need the healthy stimulation of ALL of our emotions at times, even getting pissed off. Sorry you went through that; well no I am not. what a learning experience, it was meant to happen. It gave you fodder to chew on and write about. Lesson learned! Oh and thanks for the laugh.

  2. October 8, 2009 10:32 am

    Glad you found my little rant funny!

    It truly does seem to be commonplace, the walking unconsciousness that is standard operating procedure on this plane. It is Zombieland which, when understood, gives a deeper understanding to Jesus raising the dead, curing the blind, etc. There is a part of me (that is growing) that wants to just scream “WAKE THE F*CK UP!”

    I think, though, (and this is where patience that I do often have in abundance comes in handy) that this is part of the process of this physical existence/experience that we go through as humans, the waking up process. We all have those moments, periods, or even lifetimes where we are just unplugged, out of it, asleep. And part of the cross we all bear is to not only wake up and become consciousness, but to stay awake, and then cultivate and grow that conscious awareness.

    That is what it comes down to for me – awareness. Awareness of self, awareness of the other, awareness in general. Common sense stems from awareness. And I’ve also seen, and personally experienced, how that awareness decays when the ego, the specialness of self, and the damage of stress begins to consume us or is just the way we have been conditioned to relate to life.

    This lack of common sense, the specialness of self, the entitlement, and the general lack of regard for the other seems to be even more prevalent in the American culture. Having lived outside of this system and returned to it has been challenging to say the least. There is a certain greed, a certain narcissism, a certain level of selfishness and self-importance that exists here – like this is THE culture of Ego. It is a system that sets us up to be slaves to it, especially with the more, more, more consumption of everything here. We get in debt to it, get more and more on our plate, and the next thing we know we are in the rat race that is suffocating and frustrating, another zombie.

    Maybe that is why the need to vent, a certain culmination of being back in this system and realizing that I have resisted it and in that resistance, I was sucked back into it, slowly, insidiously, and numbingly. I guess what is exciting and energizing is that I’m having a little Aha moment as I write this, recognizing that, though others are existing in this unconsciousness, I am only responsible for my own awakening, not to become apathetic to others zombie-ness, but to motivate and prompt me in helping to cultivate the consciousness of all, through the consciousness of self, which, mind-blowingly enough, IS the consciousness of all.

    I am grateful for these experiences, all of them, and it is very cathartic to vent constructively. Better the pressure release valve then the building up of pressure that blows up…and Jason goes postal…

  3. Ben permalink
    October 8, 2009 2:32 pm

    Maybe you should try this little place called 7-11. They are more suited towards purchases of that sort.

    • October 8, 2009 2:35 pm

      Thank you, Obi-Wan, except for the fact this is a trend I am experiencing more and more as I do my grocery shopping. The QFC experience was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back (on top of the fact that the milk at 7-11 usually has an expiration date of two days from now).

  4. Russell permalink
    October 8, 2009 4:22 pm

    It’s the ‘look’ when people finally do realize an error in judgement that keeps me from either going San Quentin on someone or living safe in sanity. You know my background so I don’t need to explain that I don’t come from a patient family when it comes to doing things either stupidly or without thought. So while I too have suffered from the ‘freeze’ of being on a phone or being so caught up in the middle of my situation that I hadn’t looked up to others – it’s all about what you do, when you do finally realize you’ve been a delay in everyone’s progress. If you look up and stare and me – and notice my stare again and then look at me with an apologetic eye or begin to move faster, while I still hate you – I can either just smile it off and look the other way until you’re done – but happy I’ve let you know that your fucking slow, I don’t want to accept your apology, I just need you to pick up the pace. If you look up, see my gaze, stare back like you have an ounce of a chance to do anything to me (in which you dont or else I wouldn’t be staring like that either…lol), and even begin to move slower – I start seeing San Quentin. Again – these moments can be prevented in how you respond to the stares of the public when caught in the wrong during a shared, social, and public space.

    Other places of where I see San Quentin:

    1A.) Getting of the Bainbridge Island Ferry. I will never fully let go of my city life attitude. In saying that – the next person who decides to stop in the middle of a walking line the length of the china wall – to talk with a friend or point to the water they see every fucking day, or point to some fucking bird the island is home to – and acts like there isn’t a million people behind them, moving and wanting to get home – then I’m walking right into them with my hardest walk bump and going to act like I didn’t see them when everything they are holding falls.

    1B.) Bainbridge Island Ferry Etiquette part II. The next person who decides they have an opinion or can control my pace – will also be getting a piece of my mind. If I walk faster than you – (that’s sad because I really just stroll in my walk). But seriously, if I walk past you – you don’t need to try and bump me and then say “we’re all going to get on the boat, don’t have to be in a hurry” – I’m really going to lose it. One – who the hell are you to decide what my pace is and if I can walk past you or not. Secondly – because you’re not in a hurry, does that mean we all aren’t. Lastly – if you ever feel a walker coming about and decide to move yourself into position like your the car who wont let the other car come over on the shoulder of an on-ramp – I’m simply going to take that as a challenge and see which body wins when I smash yours on the side of the wall as if I were a starter for the Detroit Red Wings

    2.) Casual Cross walkers. While I don’t mind coming to a stop for people using a cross walk when no street lights are around – I do ask for the following. One – if I didn’t see you until the last minute – chances are my daughter unbuckled herself, looking for an address, or something – then don’t come into the walkway thinking you need to prove a point in how to make the driver slow down. Should I hit you (on accident and terrible as it would be) – I’m still gonna ask – how did you not see me coming? Yes – the pedestrian has the right-a-way but it doesn’t mean you get to come to a street crossing and walk ‘right away”.

    And if I do by chance hit the brake – since its built in us to stop, or when we see people entering the cross walk – if I feel like you are walking slower than usual and taking your sweet time to cross the road – just because u like to prove the ‘pedestrian first’ law – I will inch up on you and make you feel like my bumper is about to clip your heel or pant leg.

  5. October 10, 2009 1:27 am

    You make me laugh, cousin, you make laugh. Detroit Red Wings…classic.

    Looks like we’ve both learned how to let some of that stuff go, so that you’re not in San Quentin and I’m not shootin’ up a post office.

    I guess what it comes down to is, as a world, we just gotta learn to pay attention more. Not be so self-centered. And not take everything so personally.

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