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A Game of Give and Take

If you have ever been to a retail store with automatic checkout stations in it, you may not have realized how much power you held in your selection of how you pay for your purchases.  Although it make save you five whole minutes, which you will invariably spend reading this blog (which I appreciate), or playing the part of an online voyeur peeking from behind the bushes on other people’s lives (thank you facebook), ultimately someone loses out.  I make every attempt to avoid any bank of automatic checkout stations because it takes jobs away from real people.

Let’s do the math together.

A typical supermarket bank of automatic checkout stations has a minimum of four stands, usually many more.  All of those stands are monitored by one person, but if they were real checkout stands they would be manned by one cashier per stand.

Check out the checkout stands…as cold and empty as a ginger’s soul.

Forget the fact that our dependence on technology may eventually become society’s undoing.  Try and forget the fact that humans make mistakes.  Choose to rage against the machine and wait on line.  Take those five minutes you might have saved and make eye contact with the cashier or people waiting on line and say hello.  Have a real interaction, not a virtual one.  Hell, the Weekly World News headlines and people watching are worth the price of admission.

The technological consequences the may transpire due to the use of these computerized check out stands could be catastrophic, to say the least.  As we all should have learned from the many books and movies on the subject, the only way to prevent technology from expanding their artificial intelligence, becoming self-aware and taking over the world is not to allow them to have access to our missile defense systems, our air traffic control network or allow them into our personal day to day routines. So next time you head to your state of the art retail store, you know the one where you can never find a live person when you need to find a specific item, walk briskly past the automatic checkout stands and saunter on up to the back of the line and enjoy the ride.

So now that I have spoken my piece about consciously choosing to create one job, I will admit to you, dear reader, my penchant for taking away another job at a retail store.  I have a dark, dirty secret that not many people know about.  I have to return my shopping cart when I am done with it.

The shopping cart version of “The Human Centipede.”

There, I said it.  I feel so free!  Judge away, but my conscious is clear.

I have this compulsive urge to always return my shopping cart after I have unloaded it into my car.  I hate to say it, but I look down on people who are in such a rush they feel the need to push it into the shopping cart cattle chute and I downright loathe the people who leave it next to, in front of their car or prop the two front wheels of the cart onto the grass divider.  How much effort is it to push the cart back inside from where you got it?  Twenty, Forty…Sixty steps from your car?  Unless you are being indicted or subpoenaed by the US Anti-Doping Agency, I’m sure your body could use the minimal effort of exercise.

Maybe if you are lucky, someone else will need a cart as they head inside and offer to take it from you.  Then you can feel like a superhero for being at the right place at the right time, like holding a door open for a stranger.

Fortunately, for the workers assigned to retrieve the carts there are plenty of people who do not have the same need as I do to return the carts that are provided for our convenience and they will always have work to do.