Tuesday, July 3, 2007

U-Scan Hell

I suffered another descent into U-Scan Hell this evening at my local Meijer store. This condition exists when not one, not two, but all four U-Scan registers on your side of the store come to a standstill as their users each find a way to thwart the the intended efficiency of the process. Tonight there was one woman receiving hands-on assistance from the attendant, one man staring blankly at the screen, one man waiting for the attendant to take his personal check, and one woman watching her mathematically-challenged child counting and recounting groups of pennies and nickels laying on the counter. The actual amount of wait time was brief, but it seemed longer, with not my life flashing before my eyes but theirs, a quiet desperation of endless encounters with electronic devices flashing 12:00.

It occurred to me that the retail stores need to establish a "do not scan" list of known scanning problem perpetrators that would require that the people on the list be diverted to their own line. There associate Betty can freely engage each shopper in a long conversation about how the shopper's day has been, or associate Fred can take each item and carefully scrutinize the package to find the bar code, which he inevitably will slowly and methodically wave over the reader four or five times before he finds the sweet spot. Personally, I would be glad to pay a few cents extra to see such a protocol instituted.