I hate express service checkouts - really, truly hate them.
They take shopping to a whole new level of misery, and turn us into bewildered half-wits as we try to put our goods into a plastic bag.
Take a bow retail - you’ve turned the simplest process into automated torture, and driven levels of service into the ground.
Express checkouts dehumanise the transaction which follows going into a shop, buying a few things and paying for them.
Take Asda’s approach.
You arrive with your basket, reach for a bag, and find the wee h0oks where they once helpfully hung are now empty.
You have to put your hand up and ask for a carrier bag.
Dear Asda, we’re customers, not little schoolchildren. If someone doesn’t declare a 5p here or there, the £60m you generate in Kirkcaldy alone won’t be dented too much ...
Take WH Smith in the High Street. It won’t let you buy a paper and bar of chocolate without demanding you consider their latest special offer . I truly don’t care if your water is half price - it’s still too dear anyway!
Take Morrisons where the machines give me more grief than any other shop.
I put items down too quickly, I don’t place them properly in the baggage area, the machine doesn’t understand my purchases, and last week it spat out the money I was pouring in because the cash boxes were full. Silly me, I should have known that ...
Try paying with a crumpled note? Pfft, it’ll spit it out until you eventually summon help, at which point the machine will purr with utter helpfulness. Grrrr...
Buying alcohol? If ever a product was designed not to go through an express check out it’s booze. More than once I’ve been sorely tempted to neck the contents and scan the empty bottle.
I do feel for the staff who have to patrol the aisles of despair as we fail to complete the most basic task of putting our messages in a bag.
It isn’t the Krypton Factor after all, but supermarkets have got this one so wrong they’ve actually introduced a new condition - Checkout Rage.
I find myself almost swearing at the voice as it tells me there’s an unidentified item in the baggage area. No there isn’t! I bought it. I scanned it. I put it there.
The problem is all yours pal - well, and mine since the machine just shuts down until somepoor wee kid has to come along and punch in some numbers to let me start again.
I leave shops nurturing dark thoughts of ram raids after hours. Forget the ATM machines - oh no, it’s the self-service scanners checkouts I’m after so I can vandalise them and then bury ‘em in a giant landfill.
But maybe there is a chance for the shopper to fight back. All these infernal machines have a button marked ‘language.’
I presuming punching it means changing the voice from English to the language of your choice.
So if you’re in Asda, Morrisons for Smith’s and hear ‘‘elemento inesperado en el área de equipaje’’ you’ll know that I’ve struck.
Go on, you know you want to try it ...