Thursday, July 20, 2006

Just a little hatin' on Harris Teeter ...

I've been mad at Harris Teeter ever since they closed the store that was so convenient to our neighborhood, leaving us with no nearby grocery store (except for Whole Foods, and I consider them a more of a luxury store). But I will occasionally stop by a Harris Teeter when they are on my way somewhere or, as was the case today, when they happen to be the closest grocery store to my office (and not even all that close--Downtown Raleigh is a complete dead zone when it comes to useful things like grocery stores. It would really suck to live there, methinks.)

So anyway, for several reasons, I went to the Cameron Village HT today at lunch. Having few items and not having learned my lesson from previous visits, I decide to go through the self-serve checkout line. Lots of stores have these, and usually they work well--but never at Harris Teeter. In fact, I'm still in a crappy mood over it. I scanned two items and, for no apparent reason, it gave me the message "Please Wait For Cashier." This has happened every time I've used the stupid self-serve line at Harris Teeter (I swear I've learned my lesson this time and will wait in the interminably long lines with the smart people from now on). But there was no cashier--the little desk was empty. There was a "Call Cashier" button, so I clicked it ... still no cashier. I clicked it again ... nothing. So I clicked the hell out of it ... still nothing. Finally I went looking for someone, and it turns out the cashier was helping the full service line bag groceries. She came and pushed some button on her magic control center and then went back to bagging groceries. I scanned my next item, a hunk of specialty cheese, and the machine commanded me to put it on the scale and wait. So I did. And I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Then I waited even longer, and topped that off with another round of waiting. Finally I went and told the cashier to get her sorry ass ... no, I didn't, I just told her she needed to help me. I had to bring the cheese to her, and after lots of button pushing on her magic control center I was able to go scan my last item (whole wheat baguette--to go with the cheese for my lunch).

I shake my fist at you, stupid Harris Teeter and your infernal malfunctioning self-service checkout! You suck!

This is why I have a blog. I feel much better now.


htrouser said...

Well, the most important thing is that the self-service machines eliminated several workers. Who probably would demand pesky things like vacations and health insurance and shit.

christa said...

occasionally ray and i do our grocery shopping late at night, and it's in these instances that we're sometimes forced into using the self-checkout -- for our big weekly shopping trip!! apparently they send all the cashiers home at a certain hour (10? 11?) and force everyone to use the self-checkout. one time we had to endure the pain of "please wait for cashier assistance" dozens of times as we processed $200 worth of groceries. a royal pain in the ass.

NOT TO MENTION that there's no place to *put* $200 of groceries after you've scanned them... if they're going to force you through that line, they need to give you more little room. you've gotta keep everything on that scale or the computerized voice starts yelling at you.

ugh. don't get me started. if i've got one or two items (with visible barcodes) i'll brave the self-checkout but otherwise... NO WAY.

OH! one time i had to use the self-checkout at home depot and all i was buying was 2 small screws. talk about needing cashier assistance... i had no barcode or anything. she just waved me through without paying.

Brad said...

The part about "Please wait for cashier assistance" is because the weight doesn't match up with the barcode. All items have a weight associated with them (barring produce), so if you scan in a bag of chips and put a bottle of wine down on the bagging "table," it will notice the weight difference and tell you to wait. Sometimes it's just bad at guessing, and a little siren icon comes up, telling the attendant about it, though most just waive it if it's not a huge difference. And if we're short baggers, the U-Scan attendant will often go to bag, so blame management for not scheduling baggers.

(Yes, I work there. haha)

Lisa B. said...

Thanks, Brad. I've discovered that at Home Depot It will say "Unexpected item in bagging area" if it thinks you put something it thinks you haven't scanned in your bag.

I think the HT system has gotten a bit better over the past year or so.

clf said...

Well, I believe HT uses Fujitsu, the same as Martin's and Kroger's in my area use. And, I actually find these easier to use than Walmart and Home Depot. It just seems like they're a bit less sensitive. But believe me, ANY self-checkout kiosk is very sensitive, & when the kiosk says "please wait for assistance", you look over and the attendant isn't at the magic control center, but helping a regular line. Still these are better than NCR-based "FAST"-lanes; more like snail lanes. Anyways, I still prefer self-checkout, b/c it is an alt. 2 reg. checkout & b/c I know how 2do it. The trick is: If U know how2 do it, u'll get thru self faster than regular...if not, good luck!