Now, for the last year and a half, we have been shopping mainly at Manhattan markets, which means we get our bread from the bread place, our fruit from the fruit place, and, when we have time, have a big shopping day at Fairway. The Pathmark in Edgewater felt a lot more like California. When I got to the express line, I realized that it was self-checkout.
Now, I am a lover of self-checkout. Given the choice of interacting with a stranger or taking care of it myself, I prefer the latter–it’s just the way I am wired. But self-checkout can be a pain with produce. Bearing in mind one of my former student’s complaints that customers just threw their hands up when there was an easy-to-use lookup function on most of these machines, I prepared myself to be a good customer, and figure out how to get the un-bar-coded lemons out without holding up the line unnecessarily.
I started my transaction, pushed the button that said “no bar code.” It told me to put the stuff on the scale, and I did, expecting it to ask me what sort of a thing it was. It didn’t. A camera above the scale apparently recognized that there were two lemons on the scale, and charged me accordingly. Now, these things have apparently been around for a while, but I think it is fair to say that I was pretty blown away. It was definitely one of those “gee whiz” moments.