::   Service Not Available

It’s not unacceptable to feel sorry for the kind of schmuck that buys too early into the vaunted new technology of a given lunchtime in history, except when it’s your supermarket and months later they haven’t fixed up their own monumental boo-boo.

When you’ve got less than ten self-serve terminals in your whopping and heavily patronised supermarket, you’re probably not impressing the blue hell out of anyone when one of them is ALWAYS out of action. But fortunately, during peak periods, they step it up to two.

The real good news is that if anyone happens to sneeze or look sideways, the allegedly working terminals stop working and the perennially (and understandably) frowning human keeper has to come along and proverbially wipe the machines’ arses to stop them locking into nervous breakdown mode.

What makes this even more endearing a routine is that 97% of everyone getting the alleyway workover treatment like this knows the opposition supermarket all of two minutes’ walk away has roughly three times the self-serve checkouts, and that while they’re not perfect they’re the ensuing generation technology, i.e. with a bit of luck and a following wind, they might actually work. * Oh, and of course, take your bags. Take your bags please.

(* – So why don’t they just go to the opposition? The offending supermarket is basically cheaper. And you don’t head into these places for the ambience or conversational opportunities.)



::  Offer Not Comprehensible

On entering the groggo section of a supermarket recently, I performed a double-take which would have excited the admiration of the late Lou Costello, or any of the Three Stooges for that matter.

The cause was a sign, advertising one of the store’s current bargains, or ‘special offers’.

It wasn’t the generosity of the pitch that hooked me, so much as the undesirable complexity.

If you buy $29 worth of stuff, sayeth the sign, you get this other stuff for $10.

That’s far to unsimple on two scores. One being who was the Professor de Brain-Fucketty-Uppety who came up with the $29 figure in the first place? What the hell does exactly $29 represent to anyone. There can’t be a single person that has ever walked into a bottle shop who thought “$29 – That’s my limit” for one thing.

Another being, what the hell do you get for $10 and how great can that be?

For example, one offer was you get three cans of Ol’ Antifreeze’n’Cola spirit mixer for $10, instead of the normal $15.

(I think this was the sales pitch. Quite frankly there were recipients on the recent Nobel Prize list weeping around the shop entrance because they didn’t understand the parameters.)

What does that even mean? Who knows how much that stuff costs? Is that even a bargain, presuming you’d lost enough cerebral function to drink that particular doo-wah-diddy formulation in the first place?

Secondly, and fifthly and finally, this is all too complicated. A special deal is when they give you too many beers for the price you’re paying, or they give you the licence and the keys to the shop because you bought five slabs.

Spend $29 and you get some kind of maybe-kinda nominal $10 for $15 value – that’s not a sales pitch – that’s an advanced problem in nuclear physics. The only acceptable response to that proposition – the ONLY one – is a loud, clear, undiluted and completely reasonable “Be fruitful and multiply”, only not in those words.

PS The landmark “triple up and save” proposition by the same supermarket proprietor of alkyhol-shattered brainstems followed a similar but notably more measly pattern.

If you bought one bottle of nominated spirits, it would cost a fair heck of a lot. But if you bought two, they’d each be a remarkably paltry amount cheaper. And if you bought three, then not only were the skies no longer a limit, and heaven your guaranteed after-life home, but you would get each bottle for a discounted amount so barely noticeable that some of the cheaper electron microscopes couldn’t pick it up.

Don’t people understand doorbuster discounts anymore? It’s relatively simple. The retailer sets us up a quantity to buy which is far in excess of human requirements, and in return we get to pay a price that seems ludicrously low to anyone who can’t remember when lots of people actually bought CDs to play music off of.

The End.

And I hope yez have learned something.



4 thoughts on “BULLETIN SCHMULLETIN #4

  1. Serves you right Leapster! Self serve machines are just us working for the shareholders. Stuff ’em I say, give a punter a job.

  2. Ah yes, Mr Serves You Right to Suffer, but you have no concept of how slack the particular supermarket has become. So when folks are faced with the situation of zero (0) ‘traditional’ checkout lanes open, 2 manned posts in the ‘express’ lane open but one of them is serving smokes and the other setting a new Commonwealth and Olympic record for breaking open a roll of $1 coins while avoiding all eye-contact with the dozen-plus people in that queue and the only line that seems to be moving at all is the self-serve one, that’s where most people are going to head, me (and no doubt you) included. It’s an engineered situation but paramount in pretty much 100% of the electorate’s minds once they’ve grabbed their stuff (f’nar) is how quickly can we get out of this aisle-laden fluorescent hell.

  3. The machines like to announce to the whole world that I have an ‘unexpected item in bagging area’ thus finding me guilty of stealing without trial. Maybe it’s karma for all the times I entered the eco-bananas as regular b’s.

  4. Too true. I’m a shift worker so wander around when everyone else is home. I’d forgotten the sheer hell of peak times till I read your comment.

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