Breaking my own rule of avoiding grocery stores on Saturday, I ran in yesterday to pick up milk and a few other things. Luckily, it wasn’t very crowded, but I only had a few items and so decided to use the self-serve register.
I generally avoid these; I’d rather the business give someone a job instead of plonking a soulless machine in front of me. It was kind of interesting, though, once I got the hang of it. Bananas don’t come with a bar code, so I had to look up the category, find the correct picture, and wait for them to be weighed.
The whole experience, though, really made me realize what I’m paying for some things.
I usually arrive at the register with my cart groaningly full of a week’s worth of groceries. I pay close attention to the prices in the meat department, and if one brand of cheese is less, that’s the one I pick. But some things I’m going to buy no matter what; I’m not going to skip milk because it’s 25 cents more this week. And usually, as things zip past me on the conveyer belt, I might look up from time to time to see the price, but I’m generally back at my cart, unloading it. This time I had to place each individual item on the machine and wait for it and its price to show up on the screen.
Unlike other people’s daily orange juice, my mornings aren’t complete without a handful of grapes. When I grabbed them in the produce department, the price of them wasn’t much different than usual.
But at the finish line, after the picture of shining green globes popped into view, and the weight was noted, I was horrified to learn that I had just paid $8.26.