Monday, September 6, 2010

The Lemon Thief: Moral Relativism at the Disco Kroger

I refuse to use the U-Scan at the Disco Kroger for one simple reason: I don't work for Kroger. I think if they want me to bag my own groceries, they should pay me. Next they'll be asking me to mop the floors.

But I may be rethinking my position now that I've learned  that "some people I know" have occasionally used the U-Scan to beat the system. To right the scales of justice and stick it to The Man. For example, if they go in to buy avocados or peppers or (just for an example, say, lemons) and the regular versions are sold out or damaged, they get the organics, and ring in the regular price. (In my mind, they look exactly like Michael Douglas in Falling Down when they do this.)

Michael Douglas in Falling Down
This struck me as "sheer genius" while it struck others as "stealing."

Dozens of rationalizations immediately sprang to my (obviously criminal) mind.

For one thing, Kroger constantly overcharges me. And I do mean constantly, as in, practically every time I have more than a dozen items and lose track of them ringing me up.

For another, their increasing reliance on U-Scan infuriates me. I can't count the number of times I've gone in to shop and those lanes were the only ones open. They're happy to install a "Bull" or a "Screw" (as I believe they're known in prison-speak) to stand at the end of the U-Scan to ensure nobody pockets a lime. If they have time to stand there and monitor you, they could just as easily be operating a register. I either make the Bull check out my stuff, or I park my basket at the entry to the self-serve lane and abandon it in protest.

And, finally, if they want to make self-serve available to those who prefer it, great, but they should compensate those shoppers for doing their job for them. Make everything in that line, say, half off.

My mastermind pals made it clear that they only engage in this savvy (or questionable, depending on your point of view) practice, on A. items they ring in themselves (like produce), and B. items where the price difference is negligible. They'd draw the line at, for example, organic beef. That would seem wrong. (Also, it would be easier to be busted on scanned items that are clearly packaged, whereas one head of broccoli pretty much looks like another head of broccoli.)

What I wanted to say was: Teach Me.

But what we all know is, I am not cut out for this -- not because of any overriding moral compass -- but because I absolutely can not learn how to operate one more piece of technology. The Kindle has overloaded my circuits and I'm contemplating an iPad for my birthday. There is no room for anything else.

In my mind, I already look exactly like Yul Brynner in Westworld
Yul Brynner in Westworld

Yul Brynner in Westworld

1 comment:

  1. Grocery stores that ask me to do things like checking myself out, bagging my own groceries, weighing and tagging my own produce, etc., (which they claim are ways they save me money) are asking the wrong person. I pay. They do the work. If life gives you lemons, take 'em and run. Lemon flavored payback. Sweet.