Sunday, October 31, 2004

I never said law students were smart.

I should preface this story with a little known tidbit about myself; Whenever I'm alone I have a tendency to run 3rd party commentary about everything I do. Some people call this talking to themselves, but mine is more like play by play action. I don't know why I do this, but I've done it since I was about 8. I'll catch myself chiding myself for stepping in a hole crossing the street, or for dropping something in a store. All while calling myself by my name. It was really bad when I lived by myself for 2 years, and I'm certain my neighbors thought I had a roommate for all the talking I did. Part of the reason I got a cat was so that I could pretend I was addressing him, though I'm not sure that talking to a cat is much above talking to no one in particular on the sanity scale.

The other day, I'm checking out of a Wal-mart up near Indy, and because it was late, the cashiers had all apparently went on an extended break. I found myself in front of one of those self-scanning registers. This normally doesn't pose a problem for me since (1) the Jesus Town actually has them in our Kroger, and (2) I used to be a cashier for said Kroger back before the age of the U-Scan.

But that night, it was a bit different because I was buying a CD. I knew that it might be difficult because of the security strip in it, but I went ahead and started my order anyway. I saved the CD for last, and when I scanned it, a message appeared on the touch screen computer telling me to "touch the barcode of the CD to the star before bagging." This message was accompanied by CD shaped box on the screen with a big star in the center. At this point, I was talking out loud asking myself "what the heck will touching this cd to the computer screen do?" And I stared for a little while, and then did what any idiot would do, and held the CD up to the screen. Now the difficult part was that there were 2 barcodes on the CD. So I kept flipping it over each way, and pressing it against the perfectly CD shaped box on the screen while nothing happened.

The talking to myself continued as I still was waiting for the star to go away or something. It finally did disappear and gave me my total, and by this point, I was telling myself how suspicious this machine was. Then I start looking around the scanner, on the sides, next to the bagging area, and elsewhere, and finally find the remnants of a star sticker on the back of the register. The tip of 1 point remained where numerous customers had outwitted the literal message on the screen and desensitized their materials by pulling them across that sensor.

Now I'd like to think I provided some much needed entertainment for the security staff that late in the evening. The entire time I was shopping in the store, I kept hearing someone calling a manager back to the video security area. By the time I left, I was certain they were doing so to show him tapes of morons like me who can't figure out the self-scanners. If they have accompanying audio, I'm sure they're in for a treat. The only thing that would have completed my humiliation would be to have had Chuck with me so that he could have laughed his ass off at me, and then brought it up in conversation every chance he could for the next 6 months.