Checkout Line Limbo: What Will It Take for Stores to Open Additional Lines?

Welcome to the newest standard of service we don’t receive for our money.

It turns out Elvis is not dead; he has been standing in a checkout line in Nevada, in a department store that starts with a Wall and ends with a Mart, holding a jar of Skippy and a pound of bacon, since 1977.

Jimmy Hoffa is also somewhere lost in checkout line limbo. How many of us stand in line, as the world revolved around us, staring across the vast wilderness of unopened checkout lines?

All grocery stores, department stores and fast food restaurants are equally as guilty of what boils down to the newest standard of service we don’t receive for our money.

After all, once you commit to the checkout line you have proven you are no longer interested in buying anything and are therefore no longer important. What exactly does it take for these stores to open the remaining 47 out of the 50 checkout lines available?

I bet if they learn a meteoroid the size of Texas is hurling toward earth, they will open all the lines so that we may buy the latest book on meteoroids, bottled water, duct tape and little gadgets that will kiss our behinds goodbye for us. There will be a need to go out in a cloud of dust with a beautiful bottom line. Bet the farm on getting us in by spending millions on advertising and then ignore us when we try to get out.

You’ve heard the joke about selling ice water in a particularly hot place; well I have an idea who will be selling it after the meteoroid hits. Worse yet, most stores have now developed the self-checkout line. This is a particularly disturbing limbo where we must depend on ourselves to provide the poor service and poorer attitude we have come to expect.

The politicians are quick to get on the band wagon when a large department store wants to move into town, which generally strangles out the small stores in the area. After all, look at the jobs it will provide, the town liar screams, sorry the town crier. The large retail stores and fast food restaurants claim to supply most of the jobs in our country. I’ve heard it said that "job" stands for "just over broke."

In this case, these are "jubs," or "just under broke." Those who work for such companies work hard and work the worst hours. They have no set schedule, spend little quality time with their families and work on all holidays. There is no hope of getting in a full week or ever reaching the amount of hours necessary to be provided with any form of benefits. These jubs are government-subsidized, as most who have them still qualify for food stamps. No wonder these people have terrible attitudes.

What about service in restaurants? How many times have you ordered in a fast food restaurant and waited forever for your food? When you eventually understand that you are not going to get it and try to complain, you quickly understand that once you have placed the order, you have become invisible. As with everything else, they have a dozen people taking orders and two filling them, and worse no one to address any problems with the accrual delivery of said food.

How many times have you eaten a good meal, one where there is too much food, to drive up the price and one where the gratuity has already been added to make you tip regardless of the quality of the service, only to wait longer than it took to eat to receive and pay  the check? Once the gratuity has been added there is no motivation to make you happy. (Before you write, I am a good tipper.) Wait, why do they call it a check? I wish someone would give me a check every time I eat a meal.

Government lines are worse. These people are paid well and generally have worse attitudes than those who work for planet Wally. There are three lines where each employee must take a break between each customer. In the background there are at least a dozen workers walking around behind those three, they move briskly and try extremely hard to look like they are actually doing something. Sometimes I wonder which of the two have the hardest job.

Recently we moved to Florida. My wife, who was not born in America, received her driver license in less than 30 minutes. I, who can trace my heritage back to some of the finest criminals in our history, took several trips and even more documentation to accomplish the same task. I think the biggest problem was that I could not document the color of my mother’s panties on the night I was conceived.

I know this sounds like a bunch of complaining, well I’m glad you caught that, because that’s what it is.

Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis and service have left the building.

Kennesaw Blogasaw

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

David Conkle December 03, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Unfortunately, excellent customer service is the exception not the rule anymore. For instance, when was the last time you were at Best Buy where they seem to pride themselves on their total lack of meaningful customer service. Of course, I blame this on us, "the me generation" where no one seems care about anybody else but me the hell with the rest of you type mentallity which is so pervasive in out current society. It's a sad state that does not appear to be getting anybetter, unfortunately!


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