Just the other day, my wife and I were at HEB Plus trying to get through the place without killing anyone. We find ourselves on the bread aisle, and for some reason, the HEB people have decided to make the bread aisle about 3 feet wide. So there is a lady on the left side of the aisle with a shopping cart intently fondling bread like the loaves were rolls of Charmin, and on the right side, just in front of us was a lady with a cart almost touching the Charmin lady simply standing there. Imagine two ships in a narrow canal passing one another but freeze frame that thought at the exact moment where I can't possibly pass on one side or another, nor between the two. If it helps, feel free to hum the tune "Rock'a My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham" and you'll get the point.
I am a very calm person and frankly, now that I have a Blackberry, I can wait. Hell, I was ready to Bing the meaning of life, but my wife alerted me to the fact (very loudly I must report) that the lady with the shopping cart in front of us was talking on her phone. Are. You. Shitting. Me? Who picks the narrowest aisle in HEB Plus, a place that has an entire library complete with 50 cent vibrating recliners and couches as well as an entire cafeteria just a few feet away to simply stop moving and have a phone conversation?
I know this post is useless without pictures, but instead of whipping out the camera, I had to keep my wife from physically killing someone. Thankfully, the lady blocking the way moved a few aisles over to continue her shop-blocking. Seriously, a situation involving police, ambulances and Eyewitness Wants to Know was narrowly averted.
But there's more.
Just this evening, I had to run to the HEB by our house to grab just a few items. If you must know, I needed some shampoo, some coffee creamer, and just for good measure, some beer. Of course, three items qualifies me for the Express Lane and better yet, the self service check out lanes.
I don't mean to sound like a broken record but people, please, there are a few things you need to know about the self-check-out lanes, and I'm sorry to be the jerk that has to tell you.
- First and foremost, get the hell off your phone before you start trying to self-check yourself out.
- Understand the concept of how the self check-out works: The bags are sitting on a scale. When it says to place the item you just scanned in the bag, what they really mean is: place the item on the scale so we can confirm that you did not remove the label off of a piece of gum and place it on a thick steak. If the item does not weigh what it should on the scale, they know you have stolen something.
- See comment about scale above. Do not let your 4 year old sit on the scale.
- When you purchase Bananas, you should weigh it and get a PLU label made in the fruit and vegetables section that you can scan in the self-check-out line. Otherwise, know that the look up code for bananas is 4011. I know this because I eat a banana everyday.
- When you scan your items, the scanner doesn't simply recognize the difference between your jar of Dippity-Doo and your bottle of Jheri-Curl, it actually relies on the little bar code label printed on the item. It helps if you try to scan the item with that label facing the scanner.
- I've been guilty of this, but it still doesn't make it right: Do not use crumpled bills. If you must use cash, do not attempt to pay with exact change. The people behind you in line do not want to wait for you to feed $8 worth of pennies, nickles and dimes into the slot, especially when you have to sort through your loose change and separate it from lint and candy wrappers. Use your debt card and save us all some time.
- I already think it is a bad idea to load up all 6 kids and the cousins too to go grocery shopping, but if you must, send the kids to the vending machines in the front of the store while you check out. A crowd around the self-check-out only makes everyone nervous.
- Finally, if you are a beginner, start with only one or two items, and only attempt to use the machine when the store is not busy at all. I swear, I am sick and tired of standing in line for 12 minutes while four amateurs, all with full shopping carts are trying to use the self check-out for the first time. Standing there and staring at it won't make it work any better.