I don’t mind pumping my own gas. It would be nice if I didn’t have to on really cold days, but there’s one full-service station in town and its owner charges a fortune for gas. With the gas pumps so high-tech now, it’s easy to stick your card in the machine, pump, and go. It only takes five minutes. That being said, I can now get on with my gripe for today. Is the economy really so bad that stores must install these self-service checkout machines? When I saw them in Kroger, I wasn’t too thrilled. You don’t get good conversation from a machine! It’s the American Way to stand in line and read "National Enquirer" and contemplate what flavor of gum we want to chew for the next week. I mean, how else are we going to know where Elvis is now or how many illegitimate children Princess Diana has with Dodi on their private island. (Maybe they live next door to Elvis.) And if I have to try to figure out how to use a self-service checkout machine I’m not going to be buying any gum, no sir. Every time I pass one in Kroger I see that no one is using the machines, so I’m not the only person who feels this way. Now Wal-Mart has installed them! Hasn’t their management been to Kroger to see that these are duds and wastes of space? I’ve always thought that if Kroger would just lower their prices more people would shop there, thus eliminating their need to cut back on hiring, but Wal-Mart is always busy making money faster than it can be printed, so why the self-service machines? Well, I haven’t seen anyone using them in Wal-Mart, either. This morning I was in Home Depot, and guess what? Oh, yeah, they got ‘em, too. I completely understand why Home Depot does, since they have two employees, total, to run the entire store at any given minute of the day. Today, I was in a hurry and didn’t want to try to figure out their ignorant machine, and I didn’t have to! No. An employee appears out of thin air and rings up my stuff on the self-service machine. I cannot say how ludicrous the situation seemed. My friend Tylonia’s sister, Ann, got charged a service charge from her bank because she had used the drive-through window more than five times in one month. When Ty told me this I couldn’t believe it. It seems that when Ann opened her checking account with this bank, she was told that the type of account she opened didn’t have a monthly service charge if she only looked at a human being five times a month or less when she used the bank. She could use the ATM all she wanted at no charge, but forget looking at a person and having contact with a human! What is my point? We, The People, want a little personal help when we leave our house and go to a store and buy stuff. Let me rephrase that: we want human contact, no matter how annoying, obnoxious, irritating, or ignorant the human is, whenever we whip out our wallets. I have an idea for these tightwad businesses that do not want to pay people to work for them: close your stores and we’ll all just buy online from now on. I would love it if UPS delivered my coffee and cornflakes to my door once a week!
This reminds me of a joke that I was e-mailed last week:
Husband says, "last night I came home from work and my wife demanded that I take her someplace expensive. I took her to the gas station."