Many of us stayed away at first, preferring the comfort zone of our normal cashier line, while occasionally glancing enviously at “the early pioneers” who dared traverse the still virgin territory of self checkout.
Over time we tried it and even got used to it. Familiarity with the system started to kick in. We hesitantly tolerated the electronic voice talking to us through the screen. And we took strange pride in finding the bar code on our own, with the always rewarding “zap.”
Not that there weren’t some learning-curve issues. The whole “please-place-the-item-in-the-bag” demand was a bit aggravating at first. And figuring out why the credit card slot was on the opposite side from the rest of the buttons was certainly curious, but we soldiered on.
The biggest obstacle still tripping up even the veteran self checkers? Those dreaded fruits and vegetables. Oh the possibilities. Do you weigh it, tray it, punch in their produce number, or hit the quantity button? Way too confusing, but nobody ever said it would be easy.
Recent visits to Mariano’s Lakeshore East showed more than half the customers easily cruising through the do-it-yourself line. There are now more self-service checkout stations than there are regular cashiers on duty. The transition is nearly complete.
The lesson? Just like self-serve gasoline (for those of us in the more senior reading
group) and many other initially new and intimidating things we come across, we eventually do get used to it. Now, about those Zoom calls, talking with face masks on and the new rules in baseball.
Jon Cohn is a New Eastside resident.