Thursday, May 7, 2009

Short Cuts

Everbody uses short cuts to save themselves time, aggravation and effort. Who wants to spend life in line ups, traffic or any situation when there is faster, better alternative?

Now, when the occasion merits, I've been known to be something of a "crowd snake." I've got a skill (and enthusiasm) for sussing out the fastest line, the table that's about to open up in the crowded cafeteria, the empty seats in the movie theatre. I'm quite proud of it, actually. It makes me feel efficient.

Yesterday, with 20 minutes to spare before a meeting on the other side of town, I dashed into the supermarket. If I didn't do it then, it wouldn't have gotten done that day. And it had to get done. I plotted my course through the aisles and with military precision grabbed what I needed.

Ready to pay, I scanned the check outs and weighed my options. (Fifteen minutes to get to the meeting now.) Four people ahead of me in line at the "8 items or less" counter; nobody at the self-serve check out. I know it's a risky move, but I proceed to the self-serve aisle. I begin to scan my items.

"Put your item in the bag!" the invisible cashier tells me.

What? It is in the bag! I've put my item in the bag! The "real" cashier has to come over and help me out. "This is supposed to be faster," I mutter to myself.

Ten minutes until meeting.

"Take the item out of the bag," invisible cashier demands.

Out of the bag? Why do I have to take the item out of the bag?? I just had real cashier help put the item in the bag. I glance behind me, customers gracefully moving through the "8 items or less" aisle. The real cashier has to come back. Again.

"This aisle is supposed to be faster," I mutter to her. "I chose this aisle because it's supposed faster!" I'm freaking out now. Everyone who was ahead of me in the other aisle is finished. They're probably in their cars. They might even be at home by now, happily unpacking their groceries.

I pay. I literally run out of the grocery store. I race to my meeting.

You know, if the idea is to make life simpler, easier and more efficient, I’m all for a little self-serve. Clearly, however, this “short cut” didn’t turn out to be the big time-saver I thought it would. On the way to the meeting I couldn't help but think that in life, in work, sometimes you just need to slog it out and that short cuts just don't pay.

Admiral Road has been making personalized blankets since 2002.

1 comment:

  1. I'm impressed by your shortcut ability. I actually bow to it. As for self-check out, she can be a bitch (excuse my language, but it's true). I worked as the self check-out cashier during a pregnancy, and that stupid thing is a pain in the butt, and there has to be a good cashier managing her PMS ways and give her a good kick once in a while.