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
SSM: DO YOU HAVE A LOYALTY CARD
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?
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.