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I visit the grocery store at least three times a week, being incapable of getting everything we need for more than two days. Sound familiar, ladies? You get what's on the list, and come home to discover you're out of Q-tips (vital for so many things), bathroom freshener (like gold in some households), and cumin for tomorrow's dinner (which, who am I kidding, like I ever use cumin!). Plus, there's no milk. Next day you go back, but while you're gone, the kids use all the napkins to clean their skates, and you will not use paper towels for your fabulous, cumin-enhanced dinner. Your husband bought beer but forgot toilet paper. And, there's no milk.

And what about those self-checkout lanes? They're billed as the efficient way to check out, freeing up the checkout gals for important things like flirting with the bagger guys, taking breaks, and making announcements: "Jose, you have a telephone call, Jose...;" "Tina, clean up in the baby diaper aisle, and, ooooh girl, I do mean clean up...;" "Jose, your wife's on the phone. She says you got 30 seconds to get your butt up here!"

The only one working her hiney off is the one assigned to the self-checkout lane. This woman must watch three or four morons at once, trying to work this time-saving machine without having a stroke. Yesterday I watched a poor guy on his virgin run at self-checkout. It went something like this:

"HELLO. PLEASE SCAN YOUR SUPER-SAVER CARD NOW."

Man mutters that he doesn't have one, and slides his first item--beer.

"HELLO. PLEASE SCAN YOUR SUPER-SAVER CARD NOW."

Man looks for the button that says, "I forgot my card, I want to scan my beer."

"HELLO. PLEASE SCAN..."

The lady comes over and scans the beer, no problem.

"BEER. $12.95"

The man looks relieved, a little blush appears. He scans his milk.

"STOUFFER'S PIZZA. $6.49"

The blush deepens. He won't look at the lady, who will think he's a moron. He re-scans his milk.

"STOUFFER'S PIZZA. $6.49"

The man begins to panic. He's now run up a charge of $13 for milk. What's going on?! Does this mean he gets a Stouffer's Pizza with every gallon of milk? He searches frantically for the button that says, "I don't want any friggin' pizza, just give me my milk!" The lady must return.

Humiliated, the man surrenders, and hits "Pay Now."

"PLEASE CHOOSE METHOD OF PAYMENT".

He hits "Credit Card".

"PLEASE INSERT CHANGE IN THE CHANGE COLLECTOR BEFORE INSERTING BILLS".

He's very red now. He viciously hits "Credit Card".

"PLEASE INSERT CHANGE IN THE..."

He furiously whips out a 10-dollar bill and tries to stuff it into the change slot. The woman behind him points to the bill slot. He inserts his ten--and the machine regurgitates it--three times. Tears have formed in his eyes--in all of our eyes. He throws the money on the scanner.

"APPLES. $2.49"

The man grabs his bag and runs, terror etched into his features. He's left behind his cart--with toilet paper in it.

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