Paper or plastic?

I don’t know about you, but supermarkets seem to be offering less and less in the way of service.

We have two major chains in my immediate neighborhood and I don’t mind mentioning them by name. Kings has a better group of cashiers. They dress in white shirts and ties, have a very polite demeanor and always bag.The prices are higher, but the products are better, so its a tradeoff.

A&P, on the other hand, has lower prices, but the produce is consistently inferior, to a ridiculous degree. But it’s the cashiers that present the most frustration.

When did it become the customer’s job to do his own bagging? Granted there are stores that offer express lines to speed things along, perhaps basing the policy on the inability of their employees to do an effective job (10 pound bag of cat litter on top of the eggs? Check.) But now many cashiers at the A&P almost expect the customer to do it, standing around, fiddling with the register, chatting with the cashier in the next aisle…

I still do most of my own bagging because, frankly, I do a better and faster job. (Maybe they play on that, too.)

The attitude expressed in the following article from The New York Times, What, You Got a Problem Paying $102.13 for 2 Tomatoes?, also seems to be indicative of the problem: the infallibility of the technology.

“…And, in the third, he was charged $102.13 for two tomatoes, bringing the bill to $180, well over what he would typically spend on groceries.
“…’I said to the cashier, Can this be right?’ Mr. Hinde recalled, noting that at that point he knew only the total. ‘She assured us it was.'”

The rest of the order must have consisted of a lot of cheap items to convince Mr. Hinde he was the one in error. Otherwise one has to wonder what kind of customer it is that walks away actually believing that the tomatoes (I hope they were at least organic) could be so costly. Mr. Hinde must really love his tomatoes.

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