Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kicking Off Christmas Season Wal-Mart Style

It became apparent tonight that my college education did not prepare me for the self-scanning line at Wal-Mart.

First, I must apologize to Target for cheating on it. I don’t even like Wal-Mart. I just went there for a change of scenery because I’ve memorized Target’s every picture frame, piece of workout wear, preschool t-shirt and Star Wars toy. Well, that and I already visited Target this morning.

I went to Wal-Mart to get some outdoor Christmas lights, garland, and wreaths. I live in the same neighborhood as Clark Griswold, and all the neighbors try to keep up. It’s quite festive, but incredibly stressful. I’m happy with a few strands of lights swagged on my picket fence, but this year I’m feeling like I should step it up. I’ve already killed the landscaping (read: the tallest purple plants you’ve ever seen, purple mums, purple bushes – just purple flora everywhere) that I inherited when we purchased this house 18 months ago. It seems that everyone in this neighborhood loved the Botanical Gardens and when running into neighbors, they’ve taken the opportunity to tell me so. I need to redeem myself.

Anyway, I brought my holiday lighting purchases to the self-checkout to save some time. I live in New Jersey, so in addition to feeling the need to rush through the 16-18 hours that I’m awake, I figured I could also save myself the hassle of not being spoken to by the cashier. Cashiers in these parts communicate telepathically. It’s quite amazing and ridiculously rude.

I scanned my first item. Success. I only had about 10 more to go. On the second item, it told me to remove the item from the bagging area. The genius computer did not see that I had already accomplished this task. But it was insistent that I needed to do this, and it would not let me proceed. I guess my computer sent a message to its boss, the Self-Scanning Manager, and she promptly came over to check out the problem. I love how stores have figured out how to cut down on the human workforce by letting computers do the work. And in doing so, they drive one human being crazy by empowering her to cover about 5 self-checkouts, all of which have some kind of error.

The line of 20 people behind me was about to wrap my pre-lit outdoor garland around my neck, plug it in, and watch me glow. I politely told the person behind me to suck it. Actually, I’m a little classier than the average Jersey girl, and I told the woman behind me that she might want to forgo the self-checkout and stare blankly at one of the homo-sapiens donning a blue apron. She smirked and looked like she wanted to kick my ass. I threw her a newly purchased holiday- wrapped Hershey Kiss and wished her a politically correct, generic, “Season’s Greetings!”

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