Unknown Item in the Bagging area

Today’s post highlights some of the dilemmas with the supermarket checkout other checkouts available.

I typically pop to the shops a few times a week and pick up a splattering of items. In this, I regularly stop off at the self-service checkout. I tend to avoid it if picking up alcohol, yellow sticker items, or anything that may cause the machine to have a wobbly. Then again, most things cause the machine to have a wobbly. And there is the inevitable machine that has had too much of a hard day and is switched off.

Then there is the nagging voice informing you there is an unknown item in the bagging, which causes a human to come running over, flash a tatty piece of paper at the machine, and everything returns to normal. That is some power right there! And don’t even get me started when the bar code doesn’t scan. Or worse still when you are trying to buy an item without a code and you are searching everywhere for a bread roll, to discover it is marked as something bizarre like “lightly floured bap” why would I search for that? Sometimes I think life would be easier if I used the person who gets paid to scan the codes. But no.

self service

The trip to the checkout lane is not usually less stressful but is more appropriate for the larger shops. It always amazes me when people take a trolley into the self-service area. How? Why? Just no.

Depending on the supermarket, you get a different length for bagging area. I like to arrange the conveyor belt to organise the items as I want them in the bags. Cold things together, bleach with other bits that have potent scents – or just bleach on its own. But for some strange reason when they reach me at the speed of 100 miles per hour the bleach is mixed in with my cold items. This isn’t how planned it. Then there is the mad scramble to fit all the items in the one or two bags I have brought with me. I might be spending £40 on groceries, but oh no, I am not going to stretch that extra 5p for a bag.


Some supermarkets rush you more than others but then while you’re frantically cramming the last few items in, they announce the total, ask for a loyalty card and you’re just left wondering if you should throw them the purse and let them take your money. This system is actually made worse when you are paying with contactless and you don’t get those bonus seconds when the card is read to pack those last few items. Then if you are like me and don’t have the luxury of driving a car home, you are left to watch your hands disintegrate as the bag slowly reduces any chance of blood reaching your fingertips.

To get around these stresses online grocery shopping is now available. Again, not that much easier. The nice man or woman turns up with your items stacked in crates – no bags – and you have the mad rush to decant everything from the crates to the sides just to get them out of the house quickly. This is after having the receipt thrust in your face telling you those spring rolls you wanted have been replaced with prawn toast and you have to panic decide if you want to accept the swap. Once the man has left, you are left looking at the mountain of food and wondering how you were lured into all those deals. No side space remains but at least the driver is off to his next delivery.

The biggest problem I have with all this. It is essential. There is no way I can get through life without the checkout lady asking how I am, the self-service woman reminding me to take my card and bags – seriously who forgets those? – and the delivery man, secretly judging the state of my kitchen. As much as I hate grocery shopping it is a necessary evil. Having said this, I am yet to try the scan as you shop option, maybe this will be my supermarket calling?



One thought on “Unknown Item in the Bagging area

  1. Pingback: Scan as you shop – Catherine's Corner

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