This Writing Life
Writer and psychologist.
View all posts by Ian Hocking
Hurrah!! I love it! You actually made me laugh about something to do with Morrissons!!!
It will be a few weeks until I can laugh about the whole, sorry episode. But — you know — one day at a time…
Nice. I do near-daily battle with the automated checkouts at the Kensington Sainsbury’s. The thing to realise is that they are machines — and they can be outsmarted. (I once heard Disney’s head Imagineer, in a talk on AI, proclaim that ‘we have a word for a little bit of intelligence — it’s called “stupidity“‘.)
There are a lot of little tricks, but I’ll share just this one: find the heaviest item in your shopping (for me that’s always a 2kg bag of ice); get it, and your cloth shopping bag, in hand; scan the item, drop it in the bag, and bang both on the platform. Generally, the additional weight of the bag will be inside the programmed tolerances for something heavy (like a bag of ice). For good measure, make sure you’ve got your next heaviest item to hand and ready to go — scan and bung this in quickly and, with the Sainsbury’s machines at any rate, they don’t have time to consider carefully the weight differentials and conclude that you are a thief. After that, you’ve won.
This may sound like a lot of work, and it is. But it beats having each and every of my food items handled by a guy who is also wiping his nose with the inside of his hand every 15 seconds. And who won’t accept payment for the groceries I simply want to buy without first completing a lengthy interview about rewards points programs and cards therefor and whether or not I’m collecting school vouchers. (Do I LOOK like I’m collecting school vouchers?)
As we have it in my country: “You pays your money and you takes your choice.”
Oh — it also pays to develop a friendly relationship with the staff members who loiter nearby. Eventually, of course, you will need a key turn.
Forward to McMurdo,
Excellent tip about the heavy item and the bag, Michael — if only there was somewhere to put the bloody bag to start with. Maybe I can do something involving magnets…
Ian, that was hilarious. Thank you.
I think you meant “cèilidh” though.
My tips: all pro-shoppers know the sushi is with the “wraps” which is with the takeaway sandwiches which is often near the newspapers and fags. Also, I think your comments about how supermarkets are layed out in certain precise ways to influence shoppers habits is actually (sadly) true. I vaguely remember some documentary about it (or maybe just some internet article.…)
Try the Imperial March instead of the Raiders one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pL5ksq3iF8w) especially at the automagic checkout.
I actually quite like the automagic checkouts now I have sussed them out. Don’t you dare put anything on the out slot before you place your items. I usually take “bags for life” and dump them unceremoniously on the floor beside me until using them as described by Michael Stephen Fuchs above. I was chastised by the loiterer staff member for making a mess once though and told to carry them or put them in the “in tray”. I hate having to have my booze purchase validated by some spotty teenager though. Couldn’t we have a camera recognition system that looks at the grey hairs, the lines on your face and look of weariness in your eyes? Maybe Microsoft’s Project Natal could help.
Do you think that enjoying use of the automagic checkouts is a sign of OCD?
You need to use their plastic bag post scanning but once finished decant your items into your canvas bag and leave the plastic bag in situ
Aha, the Imperial March — that might be more fitting. (Though recently I’ve been humming the electrosynth-orchestral theme to Dune.)
In my defence, Marks and Spencer don’t put their sushi in the same place as the newspapers, though I am slowly growing accustomed to Morrison’s habits.
I love the idea of a camera counting grey hairs, just so we can have the kids dressing up with wigs and flat caps when they want to buy beer…
Thanks, Situ — will do.
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