Question: What is the most idiotic invention man ever came up with? Did you answer Pet Snuggie? I can understand your confusion, but no. If you answered anything but "self-checkout lines at the grocery store," then you disgrace yourself and your entire family and I highly suggest you go perform Seppuku upon yourself. Don't blame me, I didn't make up the rules, I just created them. Now go do as Papa Bear says. Make sure you lotion up nice and good first, though—I never like to waste a good potential skin suit.
Now, if you actually use these abominations to mankind, do us all a favor and remove your testicles or ovaries, preferably in a painful manner, because you deserve it; obviously nature screwed up when they gave you the ability to procreate. My sincere hope is that you didn't already crap out some retarded new millennium version of yourself that my tax dollars are paying for via government handout programs.
"I have more barcodes to scan," I said, uncomfortable arguing with a machine. "Please, place items in the bag!" it repeated.
Listen, in theory I got it, at first. The ten lanes open at the grocery store are all jammed, even the fifteen items or less one, and all you have is a Snickers bar. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone it's a king-size… fatty. You zip through the self-checkout, scan your one item, and off you go in a flash. Holy shit, with technology like this we'd all be living in a Utopia inside of a year! War would end, traffic on the freeway would be non-existent, the Kardashian sisters would all be on the same plane and it would crash into the Jersey Shore house killing everyone involved, and we'd finally get to go back to that whole separate water fountains thing. It would be amazing!
This was the reception this concept got. I mean, sure, maybe you could shave a few seconds off your wait time here and there. Nevertheless, I was still adamantly against it because I knew it was a slippery slope. And that's why we're still here years later talking about these robotic embarrassments.
So what's the problem, Deece? you may ask. I'll gladly enlighten you.
First of all, these piece of shit machines work less often than a Puerto Rican methadone addict. Try scanning more than one item and NOT have this thing jam up on you. God forbid you're buying multiple items or have to weigh some fruits or some crap. It's not set up for these things. Plus you're now forced to write down the UPC code for every fruit, granola, and mixed nuts you buy. Wasn't the grocery store enough of a chore already? For my American readers, fruit is usually any sweet-tasting plant product, especially those associated with seeds. Fruit is a source of essential nutrients and vitamins and it grows on trees outside. *Sigh* OK, "outside" is the area that surrounds the house where your fat ass sits attached to some gaming console in your parents' basement. You may have once accidentally tasted fruit if Pizza Hut mistakenly delivered a Hawaiian pizza to you.
Quick, bring out the reserve humans!
Quick tangent while I'm on the subject of disgusting people: What's with handicap placards getting passed out like Rohypnol to the incoming female freshmen at a Beta Phi frat party? If you were a Vietnam vet who got his legs blown off by Charlie in Da Nang, or someone with a real debilitating disease then by all means, please, have these spots up front and let's make things easily wheelchair accessible. I'm all for that. I may be an asshole but I don't want to be controlling a Rascal by blowing into a crazy straw, so I'll be damned if I want that Karma coming back on me. My issue lies with the fact that they seem to be giving out these "handicap" cards to just about everyone now. I see people pull up into these reserved spots and hop out of their cars with no missing limbs, no wheelchair, no discernable disability, and yet there they are, parking in these spaces. Why? Who knows!
Also, when did fat become a handicap? And let's not call it obesity, these people are just disgustingly fat because they have no self-control to put down the damn sandwich. Why do we continue to enable them? How about instead of making them fatter by minimizing their walking distance, we shame them by issuing "Fat Placards" mandating the use of parking spots furthest from the store? Minimum 100 yards away. That way they're at least getting some exercise while running errands. No more catering to people with no will power; let's save the handicap spots for the people who really deserve them.
But I digress, the self-checkout lines are my beef this week. Allow me to detail my first encounter with one of these abominations.
I was in Las Vegas waking up from a three-day recovery coma after spending the previous five days not sleeping and discovering new ways to sin. I felt like Han Solo coming out of hibernation in Return of the Jedi. I was mostly blind, in a foreign place, and someone in a creepy mask was caressing me and telling me everything would be OK. Once I gained control of my basic motor skills again I woke up my buddy in the other room and demanded sustenance, post haste. We made our way to the local supermarket where I determined that a mixed bag of fried chicken from the deli and a keg of Powerade would cure my ailments. The only thing this combo couldn't heal was my self-respect and that burning sensation in my pants. As I looked around for a real person working at the store my friend started going through a line by himself, scanning his own items. I was confused.
Me: What the hell are you doing?
Him: Self-checkout lines. You just scan your own shit.
I felt like John Conner must have when he went back in time and first encountered SkyNet. I knew this technology could not survive or it would one day destroy us all. I had never seen such a monstrosity because in California we still had enough Mexicans looking for work that we didn't need these yet. He continued to explain the concept to me and tried to coax me into using one but I flatly refused. "Are you fucking retarded? I'll wait in line, thank you. They don't pay me to check my own groceries.
Eventually the obese, white bitch in front of me with the EBT card and five illegitimate children got the better of me and I caved to the self-checkout. Hesitantly I walked up to the machine and scanned one of the three barcodes on the chicken. You see, since I got the mixed bag of chicken there were multiple barcodes on the bag for each different piece; thigh, wing, breast etc. As I went to scan the next barcode the machine yelled at me, "Please, place item in the bag!" The god damn computer yelled at me.
"I can't. I have more barcodes to scan," I said, uncomfortable arguing with a machine.
"Please, place items in the bag!" it repeated.
"I can't, you piece of shit," I said, wary of the fact that machines are generally unphased by obscenities.
For a third time, "Please, place items in the bag!"
"The thing is weighted. You have to place something in the bag so you can move to the next item," my friend informed me.
"This is stupid." I placed the chicken in the bag, thinking I could fool the machine.
"Scan next item."
I then took the chicken back out of the bag to scan the other barcode.
"Item removed from bag. Please, replace item in bag to scan next item."
"I can't! All the barcodes are on the same item, you fuck! Who the hell put HAL 9000 in charge of this shithole?"
This went on for a few more minutes until eventually I just left without paying for the chicken or any of my items, ranting and screaming all the way out the door.
"I'm taking this chicken and no one can stop me! Not you or your damn dirty machines!!"
Looking back, I must have looked like a crazed maniac hopped up on PCP so they didn't even bother to stop me. And, after the week I'd had, maybe I was. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. I had no idea how much worse it would get.
The final straw came when in an effort to save a buck, the grocery stores shit canned a bunch of employees and opened up even more self-checkout lines. Why pay someone to do the work when these dumb fucks will do it themselves? And when I say these dumb fucks, I mean you dumb fucks. This is what I knew was coming when I first saw one of these machines. Now everyone wants to play Bobby bagboy and check their own groceries and because no one else was smart enough to rebel and see this coming, I have to do this shit too! And I don't even get paid a crap minimum wage to do it. It's bullshit. I mean it's not like I'm incapable or lazy, it's just the principle of the thing. It would be like going to Jiffy Lube and paying the 22-year-old, high school dropout meth head $25.99 and then driving the car into the bay and crawling underneath it to change your own oil as he watches. Or me selling you a book full of blank pages with my name slapped on the cover telling you to write whatever you want. It's my book, thanks for the money, now go nuts and write whatever you want. No other industry would they get away with this. Why the grocery store?
The biggest kick in the balls is that they've finally realized these shit machines are so unreliable and unworkable, they now hire an attendant to stand guard over them in case they go wrong. What the fuck, now they're mocking us? How about you pay the dickwad watching me check my groceries to actually open a god damn real checkout? Alas, the grocery gurus have won, for now…