Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Study by NASA says: Doing three things at once less convenient than doing each one at a time

I don't normally like to use this space to blatantly bitch about things, but there is one thing that happened once again tonight that has bothered the crap out of me for so long, I can't even remember the first time -- or even the 405th time -- it happened.

Let me set the scene:

You enter your local grocery mart and proceed to pick out the various items which will comprise your dinner, along with tampons (if you've got a wife), granola bars (if you've got a kid, or you're a stoner), or some Astroglide (if you're Michael Vick. What? Too soon?), etc...

(Ha, remember the name of the Jetsons' dog? Astro! I just made a double entendre! Prison rape and dogs! Beat that, James Bond!)

You approach the checkout lines, try to guess which one will move fastest, and inevitably choose the one where the guy in front of you can't figure out how to swipe his credit card and, after that, the cashier chick types in the wrong code for green peppers and has to call her manager over for a "void." You smile, trying to cover your frustration, thinking, "Haven't any of you idiots ever done this before?"

Finally, all your items are bagged by that odd-looking guy who creeps you out when he smiles, almost as if he's asking you to congratulate him on such a magnificent accomplishment. The cashier says, "$23.78." You brought three quarters along, just in case that amount of change would cover it, but you're three cents short, so you hand over a twenty and a ten. She opens the register, and very carefully (read: slowly as fuck) counts out six dollars and twenty-two cents. It's just a five and a one, and two dimes and two pennies, but she concentrates on this like she needs to get a 5 on the A.P. Calculus exam to get that scholarship.

Now what does she do?

She has the 22 cents in one hand, the bills in the other. She watches the receipt print out -- which is always inconceivably long, considering you only bought about five items. Then she grabs the receipt with the hand holding the bills, hands it to you, and pours the 22 cents in change on top of it. Then she gives you that smile that isn't really a smile -- it's just the face that she knows she has to make because her manager told her to do that so the customer will think he received good service and then leave promptly.

So there you are. In your hand, from the bottom up, are a five-dollar bill, a one-dollar bill, a giant receipt that for whatever reason requires several pieces of paper, and topping it off are two dimes and two pennies.


I don't know about you, but I put my change in my right front pocket. I put my bills in my wallet, which I keep in my back left pocket. Receipts? I usually put them in the bag.

Here is what upsets me. That cashier clearly thinks she's just done me a favor by handing all of this to me at once. That bullshit smile confirms it. This could not be further from the truth. Rather than grabbing my bag of groceries and leaving, allowing the person behind me to more quickly make his way through this same process, I'm stuck there. Stuck, as I have to take the change off the top, then place it in my pocket; then take the receipt and throw it in the bag of groceries; then I have to open my wallet and put the bills back in there. Only then, after this three-step process, can I grab my bag of groceries and leave the store.


Do you think it's convenient for me? "Oh here, I'll give it all to you in one motion, that's easier, isn't it?" NO. NO IT FUCKING ISN'T. How about this: Instead of waiting for the receipt to print out, why don't you hand me my coins first, which I will then put directly into my right front pocket. After that, hand me my bills, which I will place into my wallet, which I will then place into my left back pocket. Then, when the receipt has printed, how about YOU put it into the bag?

It's gotten to the point where I will deliberately prevent all the other people in line behind me from moving forward because I insist on taking my time as I put my change in my pocket, the bills in my wallet, and the receipt in the bag. "Oh, am I holding you up? Sorry. Blame that bitch behind the register."

I cannot understand how this technique has spread everywhere, from the D'Agostino where I buy groceries, to every Duane Reade, and on to basically any store that produces receipts. There isn't much you can do, either. I've tried telling the cashier to do it one at a time, but when I do, I'm met with that look that means either:
  • "Are you, like, one of them foreigners or something?"
  • "How could you possibly ask me that?"
  • "Okay, retard alert, MANAGER!"
I don't know if this bothers you at all, but fuck all, does it feel good to get it off my chest.


Joe said...

I think the problem comes down to this: you are in the minority.

For example, most people, upon receiving just the bills or just the coins, would be like "Uh, hello? What about the rest of my money?" and end up with a negative feeling.

The Notorious LJT said...

yea that is annoying. i sometimes throw the change and bills and receipt in my wallet just go hurry up and get out of the way.

ChuckJerry said...

I don't understand the practice of handing the customer the receipt. This happens everywhere, not just in grocery stores. It really should just go in the bag. I think they do this because some people really like to look at their receipts right there and make sure they were charged correctly or something like that, but I think the "some" in the first part of the sentence is like 5% of people. So they inconvenience everyone for the 1 guy in 20 who wants to read it thouroughly before he gets home.

If they just handed you back cash and coins, I don't think this would bother you all that much.