Dear Retailers, Do You Want My Money or Not?

Dear Retailers (you know who you are),

Why do you have to make shopping difficult?

I’ve decided I want to give you my hard-earned money (which, if you knew me, you’d understand is not easy for me in the first place). Despite my typical immunity to advertising, yours hooked me. Despite your prices, the merchandise is too good to pass up. So why-oh-why do you seem hellbent on making this near impossible sometimes?

There is a grocery store pretty much right next to my house. It’s about as convenient as can be, but I won’t shop there. Why? There are no self-checkouts and the “express” lanes take an eternity to get through. I’ll drive further to get to the store where I can check out of with almost no wait.

There is another grocery store that, after 8:00 or 9:00 PM, is ONLY self-checkout. Do you have any idea how ridiculous I feel trying to check out a whole cart of groceries and stacking them so they fit in the little weight-sensitive bagging area?

There is one store in particular (that my wife frequents) that I can’t even bear to stand in. I believe the thermostat is set to “Hell.” I physically cannot wait for a slow-moving line here. I figured they would want to keep people in, not push them out!

Plus, even the supposedly simplest of transactions – the drive thru – can be disaster. I’ve been left with money in-hand for what seems like forever while the person behind the window completely ignores me. There have been times I’ve been close to driving off.

Under normal circumstances, I consider myself to be a patient person. If a store or a restaurant is bustling, then I can understand waiting. But when you don’t meet me halfway with some reasonable conveniences, then I am just going to find somewhere else to go. There is no reason I should have to wait ten minutes to buy milk because the person in front of me can’t figure out how to use their coupon – especially when there’s maybe four other people in the store.

I think this is hard for you to understand, but the sale is not complete until you have my money. Online companies understand this and make checkout a breeze. Why don’t you? I’ve put products back on the shelves because sometimes you can’t make it anything less than miserable for me to give you my money. And I’ll do it again if you don’t change your ways…


A Frustrated Consumer


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  1. Jill Tooley

    I hate, hate, HATE self-checkouts. I always feel like an idiot scanning and transferring the groceries in just the right way, and it seems like I set off some sort of weight error anytime I try to bag something. Maybe it’s because I bring my own reusable bags? Whatever it is, all the self-checkout lines do is piss me off even more and I end up wishing I’d just bitten the bullet and gotten into a traditional line.

    You know what else gets my goat? When cashiers don’t acknowledge me as I’m standing in front of them. I don’t expect them to be the most chipper and bubbly people in the world, but a simple “Hi” or “How are you today?” would be nice. One time, at my FAVORITE grocery store, one of the younger cashiers carried on a conversation with the bagger the entire transaction and didn’t mutter a word to me until my total popped up. And you know the worst part? She even mumbled sarcastic comments about some of the food I was buying and said she thought it tasted terrible. If she hadn’t already rung up my groceries at that point, I would have walked out.

    Long story short, I don’t ask for much from my shopping experiences…but I do ask that I’m treated like a human being when I enter a store! Good post and yet another point in which I agree with you! 🙂

    • JPorretto

      Thanks Jill! I personally love the self checkout, but I understand why others don’t. They have improved to the point where they don’t make you feel like kicking it every 8 seconds. Just about once a minute now =)

  2. Joseph Giorgi

    I completely understand your frustration at the checkout lines. I also like my shopping experience to be as expedient as possible. Of course, it’s usually not (due either to the incompetence of employees or to the general stupidity of other shoppers), so I end up having to bottle my frustrations deep within the recesses of my psyche, never uttering a word of them to anyone—which I find is always the healthiest course of action. 🙂

    • JPorretto

      Deep breaths Joe, Deep breaths. I hear ya though. If someone looked at me in some of these lines, they’d probably think I was going to blow a gasket…

  3. Kyle

    I personally enjoy self-checkout lines, but whenever I go through one it’s usually with just a few items so it’s a fairly painless process. Now on the other hand waiting in a drive-thru when there’s only one car in front of me is beyond frustrating. Last time I checked it’s called “fast food”. What’s even more frustrating is waiting all that time just to receive food that isn’t even hot or fresh. The icing on the cake is when they take all that time just to mess up my order. Thankfully over time I’ve learned which fast food places tend to make these mistakes more than others so I try to avoid giving them my money. Oh well, live and learn. Now that I got that off my chest I’ll stop ranting now. 🙂

    • JPorretto

      Man, a long wait for cold food is right up there with my top pet peeves.

  4. Brian

    I can understand why people get so frustrated with self check outs because its half the time i feel they are breaking down and something goes wrong during your transaction! but i do feel they are convenient when you go shopping for only one or two things! One thing that is really frustrating to me is when i go to a store for only a couple things and all the fast check out lanes are filled with carts of groceries. i just want to get in and out!!!

    • JPorretto

      Well don’t go to the Dominicks by me then. That place is the worst offender of what you described. I’ve been texted by my wife when I go there for some milk. Her – “Where are you?!” Me – “In Hell/Line.”

  5. LK

    I hate when you are in a drive-thru and they tell you to pull up and wait for your order ESPECIALLY when there is only one car behind you. (At the same time, I hate waiting behind a car with a huge order when all I got was a coffee…)

  6. Bret Bonnet

    I think the ULTIMATE solution to ALL the problems listed above is for someone, somewhere, to start working on a creating a Star Trek like “Replicator”.

    I can just see it now:

    “Replicator… Make me some coffee.”

    “Replicator, 1 16 oz. glass of skim milk.”

    “Replicator, one new 60″ Plasma TV, a dog, and a new wife”

    … ahh; yes – that WOULD BE the life! 🙂

    Now, back to reality.

    I think there should be an age limit or IQ requirement before anyone can use a self checkout lane. Let’s face it – grandma can’t figure out how to use an iPhone or even learn how to send an email, how is she going to use a self checkout lane?

    Next – ALL retailers need to abandon PAPER coupons. Make it so people can load up their favorite coupons on their store or personal credit cards at their convenience (online) from home. That way when they get to the store, all they have to do is swipe that same credit card through the terminal for payment of their goods, and wall-a! Cha-ching – coupon redeemed, trees saved, reduced check out times, world peace, and happy customers.

    You can even print a QR code on your “traditional” print coupons so when scanned by a smart phone, they are automatically loaded up on or associated with the same card used for payment!

    Now… I don’t know about you all but I always feels like I have to APOLOGIZE to the person waiting in line behind me whenever I use a coupon during the checkout process because it no doubt means what would normally maybe only have taken 2 minutes to check out will now take 5 minutes because the cashier will fumble around with the coupon to no end trying to figure out exactly WHAT it is for.

    I one time was in line at Target, it was a Tuesday evening around 8:00 PM and I remember they had more cart boys than cashiers on duty. With only one lane open I waited patiently for my turn. Then the lady in front of me had a competing stores coupon she wanted to use. She wanted to save $.35 off of a package of frozen string beans. The cashier had to call a manager for approval but no manager was coming. 5 minutes passed by and I was beginning to lose my mind. I eventually reached for my wallet and tossed a one dollar bill on the belt to the lady in front of me and said:

    “Come on already; let’s get this show on the road – keep the change”.

    The people behind me literally broke out in applause.

    I only get through life knowing that there is a special place in hell for all those people who use print coupons and those slow lazy cashiers out there! 🙂

  7. LGroce

    One place that utilizes a speedy checkout is Aldi. I have never seen human beings scan groceries as fast as they do at Aldi. Unfortunately, they are the stingiest company on Planet Earth and employ one chashier at a time. If a cashier from Aldi would change jobs and work at a Jewel their line would be insanely fast.

  8. Yowhatup!

    I hate waiting in lines!! I agree with you 100 percent!!

  9. Ray O'shine

    What makes my jaw clench is standing at a counter in some megastore to get assistance with a store employee right there, and the phone rings. Do they put the person on hold and tend to you, the one who is THERE, with money? No, they have you wait while the tend to the person who took all that time and trouble to place a call. Are you kidding me? Who trains these people on what customer service is all about?

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