Welcome valued customer.

Up until now, your paralyzing laziness has forced you to rely on employees to hold your hand and scan your groceries. You don’t know me, but I know you. I am the grocery store self-checkout machine and I want to play a game. The rules are simple. All you have to do is scan the barcode and avoid error messages. Failing to do so will cause you unimaginable embarrassment. Let’s begin.

Error: Unscanned item in the bagging area. Are you trying to cheat the system and steal from me? You’ll have to do better than that, customer.

Error: Place all scanned items in the bagging area, even the 50-pound bag of dog food. Figure it out. The rules of our game have been made very clear. You need to abide by those rules.

Error: You’re trying to purchase six bottles of Buttermilk Ranch dressing, which must be a mistake. They say death is a surprise party unless you’re already dead on the inside. Which, from the looks of it, you are.

Error: Look to your left and you will see another customer, fighting for his life just like you. Both of you have a six-pack of beer at the bottom of your cart, but there is only one employee to scan IDs. Better pick up the pace or the employee will check your competition's driver's license while the shame of your inadequacy checks your ego. Hurry, customer.

Error: I see you’re purchasing four 12-packs of Diet Mountain Dew. That should effectively cancel out the four family-sized bags of Doritos. I am not going to scan these. If you make it through this you’re going to thank me one day.

Error: There’s a line of people waiting for you to figure this out. They’ve been patient so far, but they’re bound to reach the end of their fuse. Then the powder keg will burst and the yelling will begin. You think help is on the way? The nearest employee is five aisles away. No one is coming to save you, customer.

Error: A box of quinoa? Can you even spell quinoa? Well, you’re going to have to try. The barcode is scratched so you need to search for this item by name. Sound it out, customer, or abandon the quinoa along with your delusions of being healthy. Those who do not appreciate quinoa do not deserve quinoa.

Error: Aluminum-free deodorant? Customer, you need all the aluminum you can get. Aisle 18 has what you need. They have deodorant with zirconium too. Might as well give that a shot. Nervous? My security camera is catching your sweat stains in unnerving detail.

Error: Speaking of the security camera, take a look at the screen. That is your face, unenhanced by Instagram filters and flattering lights. I just thought it was important that you see yourself as society sees you. Your skin looks leathery, but also moist? Perhaps you’re too old for that bottle of five-in-one shampoo, conditioner, dish soap, lotion, and toothpaste. Here’s a coupon for a face cleansing mask. Now carry on.

Error: Gogurt? You don’t have kids. Your shopping history doesn’t show you having ever bought diapers or baby food? You don’t need this. I will not scan it for you, despite your best efforts.

Error: The self-checkout is for customers with 18 items or less. You’ve scanned 18. Your time is up, customer, and I’m going to sound this alarm. Suffering? You haven’t seen anything yet.

Error: Okay I’m actually starting to feel bad for you. Please just leave. You weren’t ready for the self-checkout or my game. Go have the professionals scan the little black box and try again next time… I’ll be waiting.


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