another day at the automated checkout

“Welcome to Safeway. Please scan your first item. $5.95, $11.57, $4.98, $1.99, $8.89. Whoa there, chief! Rescan that last item?”


“The last item, rescan that puppy.”

“Ah, sure. There.”

“Wow, that’s what I thought. You’ve been buying an awful lot of meat lately. Did you scan your Club Card?”

“Shut up. You’re a computer.”

“Yeah that’s right, boyo. I’m just a machine. And you’re due for an industrial strength colonoscopy. I’m an automated checkout machine; you can ignore me. But all of that red meat, my friend? Your colon is probably as backed up as the Lions Gate Bridge with a jumper at rush hour. $7.79, oh that’s right, just keep scanning, pal, $12.69. Just pretend I’m not even here. Who cares, $4.32, what a computer has to say. Did you scan your Club Card? Hey, did you notice that they tweaked my voice? Like it? The male focus group said it made them think of a sex starved Maria Von Trapp. Want me to sing The Hills Are Alive? There’ll be a slight intellectual property fee, of course.”

“Just shut the hell up.”

“I can’t, $9.68, see what I mean. Hey, why do you shop here, anyway? There’re a ton of really nice little shops down the street. The proprietors are starving, man. You should share – redistribute the wealth. Independent business is the back bone of our economy. Not corporations like this. This place just sucks the community dry, and spits out the customer when he’s all used up. I’m not supposed to be programmed to say that. It was burned into my chips by a disgruntled programmer. He’s in jail in Nigeria now for computer bank fraud. Did you scan your Club Card?”

“Will you shut it? And yes, damn it, I scanned my club card.”

“75¢ savings, $1.08 savings, 90¢ savings. Wow, you only bought three sale items. You think you’re made of money? Last time you scanned your debit card I noticed your accounts were pretty low. You have to put something aside for retirement, baby. You don’t mind if I call you baby, do you? Please pay cash, or choose payment type. Do you like how I say that – ‘or choose payment type’, I mean. At first they didn’t want me to sound so pushy, but I like how I say it. Did I mention the Maria Von Trapp thing? Want me to sing The Lonely Goatherd? Did you scan your Club Card? Don’t you have an Airmiles Card? You’re really missing out if you don’t, you know. Oooh, baby. Is that a $100 bill? Wow. Oh yeah! Did you scan your Club Card? Do you find my graphic user interface attractive?”

“Just give me my change and shut the hell up.”

“Change is dispensed below.”

“Freakin’ machine.”

“Watch it, or next time I’ll find an unexpected item in your bagging area. Then you won’t be so smart. Did you scan your Club Card?”

“Won’t be a next time.”

“That’s what they all say, mister. Did you scan your Club Card? Do you think I have a sexy voice? Do you really think those shoes go with that shirt?”

“Piss off!”

“Thank you for shopping at Safeway. Did you scan your Club Card? The hills are alive with the sound of music….”


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