Assistance Has Been Notified to Commit You via @HaHasforHooHas

"Attendant has been notified to assist you..."

Me, frowning slightly. "But I don't need any assistance, helpful computer check out stand. I just need to pay for my milk and scan my Swiss chard."

"Please remove the last item from the bagging station..."

"Um, I didn't put anything in the bagging station yet. Are you talking about that burping gnat that flew by?"

"Attendant has been notified to assist you..."

"I don't need assistance! Ok, fine. Whatever. Where is said attendant? Hello?"

Silence fills the grocery store. A tumbleweed tumbles by. Christmas comes and Christmas goes. I go rogue and try scanning my yogurt. Success!

"Item not found."

"You can't find bananas, oh sage computer? They're a pretty common item. I'm sorry. No need for the sarcasm. Please don't take it out on me!"

"Quantity?"

"Umm, looks like nine. 9. Noooo! Wait, not nine bunches of bananas - nine total bananas! Nine bananas! I'm not running a school for monkeys!" In the meantime, I am swatting at my small children who are leaning against the scanner. Any whisper of a baby's breath, and the thing goes wonky. I push a piece of sweaty hair behind my ear and the breeze causes the machine to ring up four jars of mayo. "No, no, no helping Mommy! Just sit still. On the floor. Over there. Don't even look at the machine! Agh!"

"Please remove the last item from the bagging area."

"Ok, ok, it's all gone! I put everything back in my cart and the children are in the produce aisle! Stop yelling at me!"

"Please put the last item back in the bagging area."

 

Why do I do this to myself every time? I like customer service just fine. I'm not avoiding the friendly checkers. Why do I think I can do this job faster than the trained store employee over there? Every time I think to myself, it's just nine items ... why wait in line? The express, DIY line is right there...beckoning to me. Lulling me into a false sense of security with its empty promises of speediness and proper bagging techniques. Like a mafia wife, I am unable to free myself from its golden glow of power.

And trying to feed crumpled one dollar bills (earnings from your yard sale)into the machine is almost as embarrassing as - well, insert your most embarrassing scenarios here. Especially if you mention to the skeptical checker-who's-not-a-checker-but-is-just-a-bored-employee-who-carries-a-magic-box-that-can-erase-your-mistakes that you're a dancer.

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Melyssa Williams is a ballet teacher by day, and a YA fiction writer by night. Actually, most of the night she just sleeps, or watches TV in bed with Cheez-Its and Merlot. She can be reached at melyssawilliams@shadowsgray.com

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