In Heavy Times, A Moment Of Levity


“Scan, Bag, Go.”  That’s the latest Kroger/King Soopers approach to shopping.  No, we didn’t ask for it, but it’s here.  And today it was tempting.

I walked in and there was a display of scanners, looking pretty cool, all lined up, waiting to be a part of my shopping experience.  A new toy.

The five-dollar bonus enticed me so I thought, why not.  I’m pretty tech-savvy.

I was given less than a minute of instruction and then went for the grapes.  I had to scan the little tag below the display, but then I was told that was just the beginning.  I would need to go to the scale and weigh them and then scan again.  Of course, I got some help from a millennial.  I told him that I know they are doing this so that they don’t have to hire more people. He was momentarily speechless but recovered, saying that may be true at some stores, but at this store, they can’t find enough people to work.  Is that perhaps because there is no affordable housing in our county.  I know, that’s not his problem.

So I managed to learn how to scan produce.  The price of Cara oranges was a shock.  If I had done the traditional check-out I wouldn’t have realized that Bob is eating over a dollar’s worth of oranges every morning.  But after I had scanned five oranges, I wouldn’t have known how to remove them.

Next was the deli counter. While the ham and cheese were being sliced by an efficient young woman, not a robot, I picked up a couple of other items from adjacent aisles.  When I was choosing my tea, I did have second thoughts.  To choose the $6.99 box or the $2.99 box:  that was the question.  In the past the more expensive, exclusive blend might not have bothered me, but now that larger number was going to pop up on the screen and be added to the total. Yes, as you shop, you are going to know how much you are spending.  That’s a bit of a bummer.

I went back to deli and ordered cold cuts.  I scanned the ham and yes, I could immediately deposit it in the free reusable bag that they gave me when I started this adventure.  It sort of felt like I was stealing all of this merchandise, placing it in the bag.  The potatoes didn’t fit so I had to tell myself that yes, I had scanned them.  I wasn’t trying to rob City Market.

But wait.  Did I scan the cheese or not?  I couldn’t remember.  I went to the front of the store to get help.  (BTW I have now spent significant extra time shopping.)  The first employee didn’t know how to go back to see if I had scanned the item.  The second person, who came on board to assist, did know and seemed very confident.  She found that I had scanned it, but it came up twice.  So the six-dollar package of cheese now came up as twelve dollars. Neither woman knew how to delete so a store manager arrived in the nick of time to take care of business.

I told them that I was giving up.  I had made it through produce, deli, bakery, and the cereal/tea aisle and that was enough. They nodded and did nothing to encourage me to keep going.  The next step required that I go to self-check-out.  Of course, why would I need the help of a human for Scan, Bag, Go. I pointed the scanner at the screen and saw that now I was not charged for any of the cheese purchase.  Too honest, I called for help and that was fixed.

I paid and went back to aisle five to finish my shopping.  It was easy, comfortable, and just to please the Kroger people, I did go back to self-checkout to pay for the second half of my goods.  No problem.  I have learned my lesson.  I am tech-savvy, but I will not use this system unless I know I have a small order and I will have to check my receipt to make sure I didn’t double pay.

It was a beautiful late afternoon.  I strode out to the parking lot without a care in the world.  (Well, the kitty litter box did fall off of the bottom rack onto the asphalt.)  My original negative thoughts of this new system had been confirmed; I could keep my smug attitude.  I was almost to my car when the young transgender woman, who is actually looking rather attractive at this point, came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder, “Are these your glasses?”  Yes, in my haste at check-out I had left them there.  But a human being found me and gave them to me.  I could not do without him/her.

“Thank you so much.” Yes, I just love King Soopers.


About Linda H Spaet

New resident in Colorado: Wife, mother, cook, reader, homemaker, explorer of our new surroundings
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1 Response to In Heavy Times, A Moment Of Levity

  1. Candace says:

    Hopefully they get the kinks in the system worked out (or at least more people that know what they’re doing so they can help) Having introduced large scale new IT systems many times in my past, it takes 6 months or so for people to become comfortable with it – then we wonder how we did without it…. Remember when self checkout first appeared? No one would use it, now you almost always have to wait for a terminal to be free… But, as you said, humans will always have a place – a robot wouldn’t have returned your glasses! Love your posts, Linda!

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