“Help Yourself”


I started thinking about the dramatic changes in my grocery shopping over the years as the stores went from service centered to no service centered. I start back about 30 years with this post. At that time, I wheeled my cart up to a cashier. She would remove each item from the cart, enter its price into the cash register, weigh the produce, enter the code for the produce(which she had memorized) and set the items to the side. There another clerk would put the items into a brown paper bag. After I had written a check which required no i.d. since she recognized me, someone wheeled my cart to my car, unloaded it and thanked me for shopping at their store.

Next, the store introduced conveyor belts so that I could unload my own groceries. I had never particularly wanted to do this, since I had already loaded them, but I was offered no choice. The clerk also now wanted to see i.d. before accepting my check. The clerk I knew had been replaced by a part time worker. Someone still bagged my groceries and took them to my car for me.

Next I was expected to bag my own groceries and take them to my car. I was also expected to return the cart to the store. I often balked at this task, feeling a little rebellious as I left the cart in the parking lot. I wasn’t alone, and a clerk was assigned to round up those abandoned carts.

Finally, the store installed self-checkout lanes. To encourage use of these lanes, attended lanes were often reduced to one or two. Nevertheless, I drew the line at checking, bagging, purchasing and loading my own groceries. Pleading technological phobia(which I certainly don’t have) I resisted their constant encouragement to use those self-check lanes.

No wonder on-line groceries are becoming popular.  If I am going to have to help myself, at least I can do it from the comfort of my couch. Those delivery people bring the bags of food right into my kitchen!

13 thoughts on ““Help Yourself”

  1. You know, Elizabeth, you are absolutely right about this. In South Africa, someone will help you take the groceries to your car and unload them for a small tip. I am always happy to do this as it helps the worker and it also helps me. I find the self service idea quite difficult when I am in the UK or New Zealand, I am not used to it and don’t like it much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my, here it is always hard to shop when you re early. check out lanes are mostly closed. Sometimes they don’t have a bagger on the ready. We usually just leave the cart in the parking lot. They pick them up after a while/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was not something I’ve ever thought about. Living in a small southern town, we still have grocery baggers that will bring your groceries to the car. Our Wal-Mart very recently introduced self check out, which I enjoy because I’m really bad at small talk. But it seems weird for that to be the only option.

    Liked by 1 person

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