Scanner Versus Water Bottle

It was our first day in Nashville. Mary and I had taken the 8 a.m. flight and with the Country Music Association Festival officially kicking off that week we shared our flight with more than a few hopeful entertainers and bands. We knew they had wanna-be status because at luggage pick up they were handling all of their own instruments and technical gear.

Mary ran into a friend on our flight and she graciously gave us a lift to the off-site car rental. We tossed luggage into the van – we didn’t ask for a van, they just gave us one – and headed to the rented condo. A quick shower and change and we were off to our first event with tickets, cameras, and notebooks in hand for Mary who was covering the festival for CountryMusicMatter.com.

Whew!  We were moving fast.

After an enjoyable evening of wonderful country music we hit Kroger at 10 p.m. for food and beverages. After all, if you are renting a condo or house one of the pleasure is being able to put up your feet at home and eat what you want. There were just 3 cars in the parking lot. You know what markets are like later at night, right?  Service deli is shut down. Bakery is empty. Lighting is reduced. Maybe 1 checker and everyone else is stocking shelves. Kinda creepy although the upside was that we found our breakfast, snack foods, and beverages – fruit juice, creamer, and iced tea – quickly and headed to check out.

All the check stands were closed but 4 self-check stations beckoned shoppers. So far, so good. Well these poor ole scanners must have just been worn to a frazzle from a busy day or the computer system was operating two generations back. I entered my frequent shopper card number and a few seconds later heard “Welcome Valued Customer. Please scan your first item.”  Unfortunately, I was a couple of items ahead of the scanner and realized that it did not show the items on the scanner screen, so I took them out of the bagging area. WRONG!  “Please return items to the bagging area.”  I did. The scanner caught up. It took its own sweet time to catch up, but it did. Sorry honey, didn’t mean to upset you. I scanned the next item and saw that it finally registered. SLOW down girl. I did. Then Mary asked me to scan a bottle of water so she could drink some of it. I scanned and put it in the bagging area, turning back to scanning everything else.

The scanner froze and I heard “Return item to the bagging area.” Looking over to the bagging area I see Mary taking a nice long drink from the bottle. “The scanner wants you to put the bottle back.” Huh?  “Oh, OK.” Back the bottle goes. But now it doesn’t weigh the same so the scanner tells me to “Remove item from the bagging area.” I do and give it back to Mary. Then I hear “Return item to the bagging area.” The bottle goes back, but now it weighs even less. The scanner still does not recognize the bottle of water in its current partially consumed state to be the same bottle originally scanned. Meanwhile, the scanner won’t scan anything else. HELP!!!!

We looked around and found the lone clerk tending to other store responsibilities. She came over, looked at the partially empty bottle, shook her head and put her hand up. I didn’t need to explain.

The rest of checkout ran smoothly – slow but smooth. With everything bagged we headed to the parking lot. We knew we were in the South when a young man entering the store saw us, tipped the brim of his baseball hat, and said “Evening M’am.”  Maybe he needed to go make nice with the scanner. She’d had a tough day.


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