The check out dude

You know, I just don’t like those automated check out lanes at the grocery stores. They aren’t near as much fun as regular check out lanes. The ones that have an actual, living, breathing human being as opposed to the automated screen that says “Welcome valued customer!” I just don’t get that warm fuzzy feeling dealing with a computer that does not know my name or indicates that it wants to. As long as it knows I have a preferred customer card or whatever, it seems to be ok with that. Computers must be lonely.

Well, actual check out clerks are much more fun. The wife and I were at Meijer the other night doing a little grocery shopping. It’s not my favorite activity but we get a little time together and grocery stores are one of the best places on the planet to people watch. Anyway, we had to go to a live person check out lane as we had too many groceries. I guess the computer at the automated lane can’t handle more than 10 or 12 items for each “valued customer.” Well, we were checking out and I got to watching the clerk. He was probably in his 50’s or so. As he worked, I noticed he was being very particular about what bag he put each item into. He twirled that fancy carousel around like it was a top so he could put certain things in certain places. He had a very defined method to his process. I deduced that this was no ordinary clerk. The computer makes you bag your own groceries but this man had brought science to the art of grocery bagging. I wonder if he went to bagging school or perhaps he even taught it. I stood transfixed at his prowess with the carousel in the full and grateful knowledge that I would, for once, not find my bread underneath cans of applesauce and cat litter. I deduced that this fellow was of a professional background. He was probably an engineer or maybe a chemist.

The suspense finally got to me and I was compelled to ask, “Sir, please tell me what it is that you do during the day for I perceive that you are more than a mere grocery technician?” (I really didn‘t ask this way. It just sounds better on paper). “I am a self-employed civil engineer,” he said. I knew it! I glanced at my wife with a self impressed look that I get when I am “in the know.” He went on to tell me that he had taken this particular job as a part time position only so as to augment his current income. Like many others, he had to deal with the recession and I think he found a nice fit for himself. Meijer ought to have him teach bagging technology. Good luck to you sir.

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