As the world becomes more automated, we’re forced to choose: people help or computer help? For me it depends. If it’s a complaint, I feel more comfortable writing my thoughts out and sending an email. If it’s too long to explain in writing, I much prefer an actual person to speak with.
However, sometimes you choose wrong.
Case in point: there is a grocery store chain called Cashwise that is scattered across Minnesota and North Dakota. They’re affiliated with Coborn’s, which also creeps into South Dakota as well. They’re not known for being the most organized, but when I’m trying to save a buck, that’s where I go for groceries.
It’s about 1:30 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon. I’d gotten off work early to comp some hours and figured that would be a good time to get some food staples. Wrong. It was busier at 1:30 than it’s EVER been at 5:00 p.m. when I normally go. I kept thinking: “Don’t people work during the day?”
After finding everything on my list, I went to check out. There are approximately 18 check out lines, and only five were open. Five. And each lane had at least five people waiting. They were bunched up against the wall facing the registers, waiting their turn. I guesstimated it would take at least 10 minutes for me to get through, so I decided to be smart and use the self-check out lane. Yeah. Smart.
I had an authorized Cashwise box instead of using plastic bags and I started ringing up my groceries and placing them in my box. But the computer kept telling me to place my items in the bagging area (apparently I might be trying to steal them away in my purse). Um, I don’t want to USE the bagging area. So I kept hitting the “Do Not Need to Bag This Item” button. But after I do that three times, it tells me to “Please Wait for Assistance”. So a human type person has to clear something out so I can continue.
After three times of being assisted by a human, she told me I had to move my box to the OTHER side of the bagging area. Okay, that would’ve been nice to know earlier. So I moved my box and continued on, only to find that some of my items were so light (think: lettuce) that it didn’t register and the (slowly getting crabbier) woman had to come clear my computer again. She actually said it was “getting mad” at us. Um, I’M getting mad actually.
Then I tried to ring my coupons through, but the computer asked me to place THEM in the bagging area. I had three coupons so that prompted another visit from the human.
Finally, FINALLY I was able to pay and get out of there, noting the people that were leaving from the people-run registers were about where I would’ve been had I gone through.
I turned and said to the lady behind me “Good luck” and hightailed it out of there.