How my iPhone saved me from having a meltdown at the grocery store

One of my least favorite chores is grocery shopping. I would love to outsource this weekly task, but until I can arrange this, I continue on with my shopping.

I dislike grocery shopping for these reasons:

  1. narrow aisles and oversized shopping carts
  2. slow cashiers
  3. stores that don’t have enough cashiers
  4. shoppers who abuse the express aisle
  5. employees unpacking store inventory and blocking the aisles and shelves

At my recent trip to the grocery store, there were two check-out lanes open; one for 15 items or less and the other for shoppers who had more than 15 items. This is the category I fell into, and the check-out lane was eight-customers deep. I was number nine. We were backed up all the way to the health and beauty aisle.

The cashier at this station was new. And it was clear the long line of customers was freaking him out. When some people freak out, they speed up what they’re doing. Others, sadly, slow way down. This was the case with my cashier. To make matters worse, he could not remember the 4-digit codes of the produce that was on sale that week. So, every time a shopper bought watermelon, tomatoes, onions, carrots, etc. he had to walk over to the cashier at the 15-items or less station and ask, “Hey, what’s the number for carrots?” “2144,” she replied. As he walked back to his check-out aisle, he repeated to himself “2144. 2144. 2144.” The stress and long lines were causing him to lose his short-term memory. It was a painful sight.

I really couldn’t believe the grocery store only had two cashiers working. I was getting antsy and fidgety. That’s when I decided to use my iPhone to find a solution to the problem. I fired up Safari and looked up the phone number of the grocery store I was in. Then I called the store and asked to speak to the manager. This store is arranged so that the manager’s office and finance department are situated in an enclosed mezzanine overlooking the store. When the manager got on the phone, I asked him to please call more cashiers to the front to help. I told him to look out his mezzanine window at how bad the check-out lines were backed up. He looked down, and I waved at him. He said to me, “Oh, that’s not good. I had no idea there was a problem.” And I said, “Yeah, that’s why I’m calling.” 😉

In a matter of minutes, three new cashiers opened up their registers, and we divided ourselves amongst them. And within 5 minutes, I had loaded my groceries on to the conveyor belt, bagged them, and paid. I was out the door and very happy about this!

Don’t underestimate your ability to use your iPhone in real time to problem solve. It has improved my grocery shopping chore immensely.


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