I broke the grocery store.

For years my mother has teased me (in a good-natured manner) about having a metal plate in my head. This is because a seemingly large portion of the time electronics (especially cash registers) are, well, screwy around me.


Yes. They freeze, they jam, they just don’t work and no one knows why. I also tend to be the one on whom the receipt paper gets eaten or will always need to be replaced. Really, I should start a log of the number of times this happens.

When I was in college, my mother finally reached the point of having me stand about 10 feet away from her when she was checking out at the store.

I am not kidding.

Now, I’m also a pretty clumsy person and have, at various times in my life, had my head xrayed.

There is no metal plate in my head.

So, then, I present to you Example A.

Today I was out grocery shopping. I got a few things and was in the store about an hour, but then because the regular lines were sort of long and the self-checkout had no line at all, I went to the self-checkout. At the best of times, the self-checkout is frustratingly slow because it doesn’t like to scan things quickly and it takes a minute to realize you’ve put something in the bag. It also gets cranky when you have to move a full bag to your cart. But that’s not important at the moment.

I scanned all of my items, bagged them, and began following the on-screen instructions to pay for them. I got to the part where you sign your name and then push the “okay” button (which is called something else, but you understand what I mean I’m sure)… and the screen froze. It showed that I had paid, and that $0 was owed, but kept asking me to sign again and push the button again… except I couldn’t. The signature pad had advanced past that step and I couldn’t go back to it.

Three different store employees were called over, while my cold products sat in their bags in my cart, and tried to reset it. Each was told they were “unauthorized” to do so. Even the manager.

Finally a manager asked me to come to customer service so she could at least print a receipt for the correct amount for my records, to show I’d paid. On the walk to the customer service counter, I laughed and told her about the metal plate in my head. She gave me the kind of smile that means, “I’m humoring you as the customer, but really I don’t care at all.”

She went behind the counter and was gone about five minutes…

…and then came back with a strange expression on her face.

“The computer back here has frozen. It won’t let me print anything for you.”


Yeah, that’s the main computer system for the grocery.

I left without a receipt but with the assurance that everything was all right in terms of payment from the store…

..but maybe I should get my head checked again just in case?

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