Now I've always regarded self scanning as a technological mixed blessing. If the other staffed checkouts are very busy and I've only got one or two items, then it makes sense to do a self scan. On the other hand I've known these machines to "act up" and if I see a checkout line with only one person in it, I'll slot in behind them rather than risk finding an hormonal scanner that is having a particularly bad day.
I just don't need the stress.
Anyway today there were several self scanners tempting me to approach them by being devoid of customers. I took the bait.
I scanned both my items, chose the cash option, put in my £2 coin and whilst waiting for my change to be delivered, I heard several sighs coming from the little old lady using the scanner next to me.
With my purchases safely bagged and my change and receipt in my pocket, I looked across and noticed the lady was very agitated and almost on the brink of tears. The staff member covering the self scanners was dealing with another customer's problem and so I went over and asked if I could help.
"Can I help you" I said, trying not to frighten her with my height and bulk.
"I just don't know what to do" she replied, looking up at me with large slightly moist eyes.
"Well ok, what are you trying to do" I asked, gently.
"I don't know. I've never done this before" she said.
She didn't have anything on the scales and I noticed the scanner was asking for her to enter her card.
"Did you press the card option ?" I asked.
"Yes but I don't know where to put it" she said in a voice so pathetic it melted my heart.
When I looked down at her hand, everything became clear.
She had scanned her single item and managed to press "finish and pay" and when it asked for payment method, she had pressed "card". The scanner then asked her to "enter your card" and this is where she had lost the plot a bit as she was trying to find a large slot to actually push her single shopping item into the scanner.
Well her single item was........a birthday card !!