Unexpectedly irritating items in the baggage area

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LAST week I allowed myself to be talked into serving myself at the checkout in Sainsbury’s by a young lady who then stood over me while I tried to pay for my goods.

The machine told me that there was an unknown object in the bagging area and I suggested that perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I hadn’t started yet – but the young lady explained that the machine couldn’t actually hear me.

So we started again and things went well before I placed a couple of bottles on non-alcoholic beer on the thing. The cashier in the machine explained that I needed clearance to buy the item and the real young lady stepped forward again and informed me that the machine could not recognise the difference between non alcoholic beer and alcoholic beer so that my age had to be checked by her.

I decided to look upon this as something of a compliment and offered the machine a DVD. The machine then emitted an alarm and the young lady moved in again, explaining that the DVD had a tag on it and had to be cleared by her.

As I returned to my car I discussed with myself the reason that Sainsbury’s had decided to install such a monstrosity and reached the conclusion that one sales person could run six machines thus saving the company the wages for five checkout people. More profit for the supermarket and high blood pressure for old folk like me.

I can never understand quite how this profit thing works. It seems these big stores are able to knock down the price of say, a three-piece suite, by 50 per cent throughout the year – so how much profit where they taking when it was sold at it’s original price? You can be sure that they aren’t giving anything away for nothing, so who is kidding who?

I suppose that in a world where executives can afford to hand back their annual bonus and still take home massive amounts of money – in some cases putting a large bank on a more even keel by making 20,000 odd employees redundant anything goes.