So, you know the check-out counters in the grocery store where you can do it yourself? You know, the ones that you take the item, say Peanut Butter, you search for the tiny bar code, than carefully place it above the glass, and some light from underneath flashes, and magically, your Peanut Butter price shows up on a screen, and this voice, some ladies voice, announces to you that your jar of PB costs you two dollars and ninety six cents. At which point, you dig into your grocery cart of twenty items, and repeat the process. I am not sure of the name of this modern day grocery checkout system, so I will call it the “Speedy Zone”. I really like to use this method. I do not know if it is because I am a grocery store checker “wannabe” or I just think I can get out of “dodge faster”, but I am really drawn to this method of checking out my groceries.
The other day, I, along with Peter, decided to use the Speedy Zone self-checkout system in the local grocery store. I, looking at the long lines in the other lanes, and in a hurry, decided this method would be much quicker! Why, I thought this was a good idea with Peter... I do not know??? I am not sure in that brief moment of making the decision to be speedy, that some voice did not surface and tell me... “Diane, get real...this is not a good thing”. But, nope, I never heard that voice of reason so off we went...thinking we had made a great decision. Now Peter, my twenty two year old son with a mind of a six year was ready to join in the fun and be extremely helpful. That is where the excitement began. Before I could even get my grocery card out of my wallet, I, who was searching in the depths of my purse so I could begin the checking experience, looked up to see that Mister Speedy himself, Peter, was scanning and rescanning the same item, and thinking this was how you played grocery store checker. I looking up from my desperate wallet hunt search in the depths of my purse, stood there with a look of bewilderment and a thought of how do I stop this commotion? The look on my face was all that was needed to call the nice lady, the one who monitors to the Speedy Zone, to come over, smile intact, and put in her much needed code into the machine and helped us regroup. We did regrouped, I in the process secured the much needed cards to once again commence this checking experience. In the past, I actually had this feeling of “Look at me, I am in charge of my own groceries, I can handle this with ease!” Today, I was beginning to lose that feeling of control.I do admit in my past checking experiences, I have a hard time with the veggies, the looking up and the weighing of those items. Having those green and yellow objects in my cart and awaiting to be bagged, I had already put on my game face for this event, when Peter decided to put his hands on the bagging area which immediately detected an unpaid item and once again, the process was stopped. Nothing could be done. The hopeless, helpless look was once again taking over my face. I grimaced and looked at now that machine, the one who has no personality and thought, “ No machine...I have paid for every grocery item up to this point, and NO, I am not going to pay for Peter...really, I do not think that is necessary. Besides, haven’t I paid for him already?” And so, over walks the nice lady, smile still intact, puts in her code, and life is once again good and swell, or so I think. I can once again pretend that I love this self checking process and that I am in control of my own destiny, at least, my ability to check out the groceries. And, yes, we regroup. Please realize, at this point, I am starting to sweat a bit and have made a decision not to make eye contact with those lined up behind us. That would be those individuals who now have lost their smiles, who are not being entertained by this event, and who have joined us in the Speedy Zone, because they also believe they would leave this store in a more timelier manner than if they had gone through the traditional checkout line.
I am now trying to scan the rest of the groceries and make a request to Peter to stand behind the cart, please Peter please stand behind the cart, over there, see where it is safe and you cannot get into any more trouble. Of course, to Peter, this is no trouble at all! No, this is big time fun, he has no care in the world that the five people behind us are ready to wrap their hands around our necks and squeeze really hard. It was at that point when Peter decided that he really needed and I mean really needed to check the FREE AutoTrader magazine that he managed to collect somewhere along the way. No amount of coercing would convince him that he need not do that. No, Peter, that will not work, we do not need to do this, was falling on ears that just must have been full of earwax, as there was no listening or comprehending involved.
Once again, the distress call came out, and yes, the nice lady, continuing to keep that smile intact, not only came over to put her code in the machine, she decided to become our new best friend, and did not leave our sides until we were done. I, observing her kind demeanor realize that she knows now that if she just stands there and does not move, hopefully, we would soon be out or her hair!! We did manage to finish with her help. I still maintaining my forward glace and not looking behind, expressed my extreme gratitude. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated her help and her ability to stand there between Peter and the machine, so I could finish the process. Peter, still tried to sneak that magazine in, however, we had luckily finished and no more damage could be done. And the individuals behind us, smiling ingratiatingly, taping their feet, and wishing we would be out the door soon, were relieved that the Speedy Zone act was done.
Leaving the store smiling, I remember muttering about never doing that again. I am considering even shopping at a new store for awhile in hopes that we would not be remembered. Peter, once again, providing a moment of entertainment...I am not sure who were the recipients of this...but made the Speedy Zone grocery experience is one that I will not forget!