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People say life is the thing, but I prefer reading*

How To Use Sainsburys Self Service Check-out

Monday, December 14, 2009

Step 1

Assess the queue at the main till, and weigh this against the number of items in your basket (3).

Step 2

Decide that scanning three items at the Self Service check-out can't possibly take longer than waiting in that queue and, with a frisson of trepidation, make your way to the Self-Service lane.

Step 3

Press Start.

Step 4

Remember the last time you used Self Service (when you were charged 5p for a bag to put one Fudge bar in). Select 'I am using my own bags'.

Step 5

Place your purple spotty shopping bag in the bagging area, as directed, so that the machine can 'verify your bag'.

Step 6

Become confused when machine cannot verify your bag. Wonder if perhaps the bag is an existential oddity, that appears only to you because you want it to be there.

Step 7

Decide to ponder this question at a later date.

Step 8

Push some buttons to try and force the machine to verify your bag. It's purple and spotty, how can it not be verified?

Step 9

Take a great sigh of relief when the machine appears to give up on verifying your bag, and allows you to continue.

Step 10

Realise that it's probably charging you 5p for a bright orange Sainsburys turtle-killer. Realise that you no longer care about the turtles.*

Step 11

Scan first item.

Step 12

Place item in your bag.

Step 13

Heave another sigh of relief, and allow yourself to start believing it's going to work this time.

Step 14

Scan second item.

Step 15

Cry, as the machine bellows 'unexpected item in bagging area', attracting the attention of everyone in the small, city-centre shop.

Step 16

Wait for member of staff to come over and press a button.

Step 17

Place second item in bag.

Step 18

Scan third and final item.

Step 19

Place third item in bag. Suppress rising hope that perhaps this will soon be over.

Step 20

Press 'Finish and Pay'

Step 21

Count out the required amount (£1.52 in this case).

Step 22

Put £1 coin in machine.

Step 23

Put a 50p then a 2p coin into machine.

Step 24

Wait for machine to recognise the 52p just introduced to machine.

Step 25

After 5 minutes, accept that machine is not going to recognise your 52p.

Step 26

Cry some more.

Step 27

Consider paying an extra 52p just to end the horror of it all, and go home.

Step 28

Decide that that's what the machine wants and press the Help button

Step 29

Realise that the queue at the Real Person Check-out is now composed entirely of people that came into the shop after you. And that every one of them is watching you fuck this up as they wait to be served by a Real Person.

Step 30

Explain your plight to the very helpful and understanding Sainsburys man, who looks at you pityingly.

Step 31

Wait for Sainsburys man to get the keys for the machine.

Step 32

Watch as Sainsburys man opens the machine, unlocks the cash box, extracts 52p, locks the cash box, and closes machine.

Step 33

Inform Sainsburys man that you would pay an extra 52p just to make it stop. (He looks uncomfortable and says 'there's no need for that, miss'.)

Step 34

Re-introduce the 52p to the machine, successfully. Thank Sainsburys man for his help. ('Can I help you with anything else Miss?')

Step 35

Muster all the dignity you can, and leave the shop with your head held high, clutching your precious cargo to your chest.

Step 36

Realise that in the time you've been in there, darkness has fallen, the leaves have fallen from the trees and Christmas is just round the corner. Vow to never ever again attempt to use the Self Service Check-out facility in any shop. Ever.

*This was but a momentary blip - I do care about turtles! Don't buy turtle-killing plastic bags!

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*Logan Pearsall Smith

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