Thursday 15 April 2010

Supermarket superstress

I press start

Self- service machine: Are you using your own bags?

Rose: Presses yes

SSM: Please wait for attendant to verify bags

Rose: Verify bags, WTF, I knew I should have just queued up

Rose: presses cancel transaction, because she thinks she can outsmart the computer

SSM: Are you using your own bags?

Rose: NO! Ha ha!

Rose: zaps thing- milk I think and puts it in her own, unverified bag by her feet

SSM: Says over and over again that I must put my milk in the verified bag provided in the correct position or I will be up before a supermarket compliance firing squad- or this is implied in the way it repeats ‘please put item in bagging area’ anyway (I also note the SSM's bad grammar)

Rose: puts item in bagging area- admits defeat, it’s like I am in Vichy France, I kid myself I am resisting and it's okay to let the small battles go but really we know I've given up

Rose: continues to zap and place items in regulation bag in regulation area and then selects payment type

SSM: Do you have a nectar/ club/ boots/ other card?

Rose: thinks about bothering to find it and how much longer this will take


Rose: NO! give me a chance

Rose: pays, gets receipt and then- ha ha transfers her shopping to the unverified, unchecked, unregulated bags for life- a small victory after all- I should wear a mac and beret

Pause. Has time away from shops.

The next time I go to the supermarket I decide the self- service is just too bossy and inflexible and I will go to a real person. There is a big queue, there is always a big queue. Do the British just love spending their weekends in small, metro sized supermarkets? (I guess I am here).

I get to the till. I get out my unverified bag still battling for the environment- and also because of the way the real people ask if you need a bag like they are asking if you are going to smoke a fat cigar over their newborn. The man zaps things, I pack frantically while I feel the eyes of people on me- I know they are thinking come on come on I am only getting petrol. I feel rushed, someone is now standing right next to me holding out a bottle of milk waiting to be served even though the man hasn’t even asked how I will pay.

The man: that will be £quite a lot of pounds.

I give him my card.

Pushy man looks to the sky.

Till operator: do you have a (fill in the appropriate loyalty) card?

Me: no

till operator: yes you do I can see it there

me: oh yes well er I was just trying to be quick

till guy: you wouldn’t want to miss out

other milk guy: looks ragey.

Loyalty card is swiped real card is swiped and bits of paper (why are there so many) are thrust in my hand. I frantically try and put my wallet away while milk guy starts to pay. I want to shout at him I didn’t take that long, buying 5 items isn’t a crime! I don’t want to leave the shop with my wallet out, we are in Mile End, it’s not a good idea!

That's all. There is no point in trying to fight this. They will go on charging us a premium for the metro supermarkets while making the whole experience of paying like a scene from 1984.


Marie said...

Oh how I understand this, those SSMs are scoundrels. But I think I have almost worked them out. Always say no to using your own bag and then just put items loose on scales, until after you've paid when you put them in your own bag. Then at end do find loyalty card and tell them you used twice as many bags as you did. Each time I do that I get a tiny bit of satisfaction, one bag saved more points for me :)

And the milk man well smile sweetly and wish him a nice day. Then he'll feel guilty for being such a monster. (Hopefully!)

Jayne said...

Oh those automated things - I am the one forever trying to stuff her card in the receipt slot. And yes - the sneer you get when asked if you want a bag - it is totally like you say. Incidentally I get very cross with pushy people who stand too close when I am still paying. I usually bustle myself out to my full width (like an unfurling hedgehog) and deliberately back into them, or brush their arm, and then say 'oh sorry' in the tone of voice that implies I'm not, not at all. But I hear your pain with this - I always used to get horrendously embarrassed buying just a loaf of bread in a Metro supermarket.

Rose said...

Hi Marie and Jayne- the thing is I think the whole country finds it a trial- and tries to resist from within- but we won't get anywhere- and they make a fortune out of treating us like this! oh well it's not so bad I guess- most of the time I just end up laughing about how silly is all is

Metropolitan Mum said...

Oh, and have you tried buying a bottle of wine/oral b tooth brushes/a magazines at one of these FSSMs? All of it needs to get 'verified' (what, are they looking for the truth in it?) and then the alarm goes off nevertheless when you leave the shop. Grrr.

Anonymous said...

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