Opening Salvo from our Robot Overlords

I don’t know when it happened and have no clue why it happened
but here in 2020, the self-checkout lanes at the grocery
store talk to you. Maybe they always had the ability to
do so and one day, the store managers decided to turn
it on. Or maybe “it” found its voice. My sister replaced her
dead dog a couple of years ago and originally, they
thought the dog was a mute because it never barked.
Since then, the dog “found its voice” and now barks
all the time for no reason.

Anyhow, self-checkout lanes won’t shut up either. They
issue all kinds of commands at you when you had absolutely
no problem being able to check out your own groceries
before without the damn things talking. “Place the item in the
bagging area. Each scanned item must be placed in the
bagging area!” I keep waiting for it to tell me; “It puts the lotion
in the basket. It does this whenever its told.”

Produce is a funky one. A bunch of it doesn’t have bar codes
because well, they’re really not grown that way. So you have
to pick the right thing from a list. Once you do, the little robot
starts talking in patchwork quilt kind of way; “Weigh your…
… item.” Once it accepts the weight, it further states. “Place
your … BANANAS in the bagging area.” Why it didn’t know it
was bananas immediately after you selected bananas from
the list and referred to them as “your… item” instead is beyond
me. But then, when the weight is done being measured, why
does it say BANANAS at a louder volume?

So you get to the end where you get to pay. “Insert coins
BEFORE bills.” Why? You’re a stupid computer! Your main
job is to be able to count period.. in ANY order! I don’t even
know what order I’m supposed to pay with a credit card any
more. One place you need to tap pay now on the main screen
first. Another place doesn’t care but makes you select debit or
credit on the card reader. Some want a magnet stripe swipe.
Others want you to insert the card into the chip reader. The
damn robot will sit there and do absolutely nothing after
entering the credit card into the machine until you hit “card”
on the main screen. Then the machine gets impatient with
me and says “do you wish to continue?” Well, thanks for the
sarcasm but I’m sure I’d have got this all done faster if you
simply would’ve said, “PUT THE LOTION IN THE BASKET!!”