Faux-yogurt and faux-creamer. That’s all I needed from Kroger (as Meijer’s selection of dairyless necessities runs pretty slim). Okay, and cilantro. Obviously, I use the self-checkout. Welcome to Kro-ger, it greets me.
And then I have one kid trying to lean on the shopping bag holder. Please remove the last item from the bagging area. Another kid pulls a balloon attached to an entire box of Slim Jims. Please check your item and scan again. And then the cilantro… type in alternate ID. Invalid ID. Wait! What’s the other prompt for the 5-digit number?
The 19-year-old at the kiosk only had to visit my little computer 3 times. I thought about saying “thank you” in a foreign language so he wouldn’t credit my IQ level to my behavior.
Part of me wonders why Kroger even installed such gadgets, because they’re never faster than waiting in line, even those expressly marked “express.” Hands down, the Kroger employees can remember that bananas are 4066 far easier than I can find the little blue sticker. And it’s not a magic touch to get the scanner to read your Plus card. It’s learned skill.
I need the friendly Kroger associate in my life to make my grocery shopping experience go smoothly. I might be able to do it all myself, but that doesn’t mean it’s effective or efficient. It means I’m stubborn. Over-confident. Perhaps a tad zealous.
It probably stems from our standard American patterns of life, how we picked up a notion that anything that is to be done, I can do better myself. Please don’t bag my groceries – I can do it myself. Please don’t take my coat – I’ll hang it myself. For heaven’s sake don’t cream my coffee (I’m looking at you, McDonalds) – I’ll take care of that myself.
What if – what if! – the people offering to serve us actually have a clue how to do things better. That our self-sufficiency is a fallacy created only to make us feel better. I’ll stand in Maryann’s line at Meijer and race anyone in the self-service area and win every time (not to mention hear how wonderful my kids are!). But the self-checkers like to feel better. The control is in their own hands, so if it takes longer, it doesn’t feel like it because I’m in control.
Looking around, specifically at my generation, I think it would be in our best interest to let those who know, do. At work, at the grocery, and even in our inner lives. Believe it or not, wisdom exists outside of our own experience. And it’s even better than what we can do for ourselves.
This is why I take yoga classes, rather than simply moving through some poses at home. The teacher corrects me when my tummy doesn’t tuck under or my neck gets juxtaposed. This is why JJ ordered the special piece for the van door and shipped it to Brent, as opposed to using the YouTube video guidance.
And it’s why I show up on Sunday mornings and actually talk to people about what is going on in my life. Specifically those who have walked this path before I ever put on my shoes. And that message being preached? No, it’s not just because the “church needs money.” It’s because the one presenting it has been scanning groceries for 23 years now and knows a thing or two about keeping your bread from getting squished.
I can try a few different methods of bagging, but I can’t hold anyone accountable but myself when I end up with broken eggs and it takes me twice as long to get out the door.
It’s admirable to pull ourselves up by our little bootstraps. We can do it all by ourselves. But that doesn’t mean we should.
Thank you for shopping at Kro-ger.