Monday, June 13, 2011

Evolution and the Technological Revolution

In the mid 1800’s, Charles Darwin invented natural selection. This was a process that allowed natural stuff to kill off those less adaptable to their environment. By less adaptable, of course, we mean dumb.

Later in the next century, and to compensate for the impending doom of the human species, Al Gore invented technology.  Technology’s purpose was initially to make it easier to order a pizza, but quickly became the most popular means available that allowed humans (that were slowly evolving into monkeys) to survive in today’s society.

Consider a recent evolution of technology: the self check-out line. Understand that there was nothing wrong with the original checkout process, in which a pretty blond-headed girl named Cynthia swiped my items past a scanner, and then told me how much money to give her. A nice young man then places these items in a bag, gives me a dirty look because I don't want him to carry them out, and then allows me to go on my way.

There are some, however, that find even such simple tasks difficult. The most common problem comes during the time one must decide if they would like to write a check, use credit, or count out twenty thousand pennies. Invariably, it's the later and all hell brakes loose when the cashier discovers a few Canadian pennies were snuck into the lot.

To aid those of us more adept at shopping (and in keeping with technological trends), self checkout  was created to put all of us on the same level. In case you didn’t know, self checkout is a process where you scan an item, place it in a bag yourself, then take it back out of the bag and try to scan it again. This is the general process of technology.

After a few tries, one becomes slightly perturbed and enters into an emotional state that might be described as "a nervous breakdown". The seemingly unscanned package of frozen bacon is inexplicably found leaving your hand and traveling across the supermarket at a rate that disproves both Einstein’s theory of relativity, and Murphy’s theory that pigs can’t fly. Said package of Bacon will naturally strike the forehead of the person holding up the line at register 5 (they just had to pick the one item in the store without a price tag). This is called natural selection.

Eventually, I ignore the electronic voice telling me to remove the unscanned item from the bag and then move on towards scanning the next item. This simple action trips an alarm that signals perhaps the most extraordinary motion ever seen from the attendant at the end of the self-checkout lines. To be concise, It moves. Slowly. It walks over to where I am, informs me that I am being less adaptable, and punches a few buttons. These events are repeated for each item I try to check out myself.

Meanwhile, the people behind me (unaware they are about to have the same problem) are now as mad as the people behind the old lady at register 15, who, consequently, is on penny number twelve thousand four hundred and seventy-six. Who also just lost count due to the alarm I set off and who will now die along with me at the hands of a soccer mom that is running late to pick up her kids, a herd of elephants, and all the refugees from a distant third world country in her SUV.  Some of whom turn out to be cannibals.We all know how that ends...  See?  Technology creates equalization for us all.

19 comments:

  1. Hey 'beck! Self checkout?! A POX ON IT! Tho I had never considered it as natural selection. It's cool to hang out with you scientific types! Indigo

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  2. Oh that's a GREAT solution! I never thought of tripping off the alarm on purpose.

    Of course, when you drop your debit card down inside the window of your mother in law's car door, you tend not to have too many of these self checkout problems.

    Very, very funny post!!!! :-)

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  3. I would count that among the worst places to be dropping your debit card!

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  4. Indigo, I don't know what a pox on it means, but I fully support it. Oddly though, I never considered I would hear "cool" and "scientist" in the same sentence outside the context of Arctic Research. :)

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  5. It's only a matter of time before this catches on here. Then I fear I may never leave the grocery. I'll be stuck in line from there on in.

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  6. The machine usually just freezes on me until I desperately flag down the checker by waving the box of tampons I didn't want to buy from the hot guy at check stand 3 over my head. Have you ever been foolish enough to try and feed that machine a coupon?

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  7. You know, I have not. But I *have* been behind a fellow that was determined to pay his entire bill by feeding in 1-dollar bills. May not seem as bad a paying the cashier in change, but when you add in the number of times the little sucker spits the dollar back out... Yeah, it gets lengthy.

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  8. Vinny, that sounds like the stuff of nightmares, man!

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  9. It's exactly this kind of entry (notably the first two paragraphs!) I had in mind when I was writing my entry yesterday. Thanks to you I am (a) three minutes closer to the end of the workday--I mean, what? I don't peruse at work--and (b) at least three times more full of mirth than I was before reading it. That's the kind of thing you just can't get in the self check-out line.

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  10. I never ever have problems with self-check out. The reason being: the husband does the shopping. Maybe... um, just sayin'... maybe that's how it works in your home too?

    *ducks for cover*
    ;)

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. I'm all out of witty comments. They were swallowed up by the plethora of work on my desk. I love technology. Please stop writing checks. Or choosing not to use your $20 so that you can get rid of all that change. There is technology for that too. It's called a change machine. :D

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  13. That makes me think of the arcades, where you'd shove in a dollar and then get to scoop up the quarters, and later... tokens. Then off to have fun!

    I hear you about the work. Mix in a side of Jury duty, and then you have my life. Glad to say, they decided I was not fit to sit on the panel and let me go!

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  14. Deb, so very glad to hear that. :) Anything I can do to make the workday go by faster for someone is a major win in my book!

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  15. Val! You're back! And yes and no. We often go together. Somehow I am the one that ends up unloading and swiping items past the scanner though - while she scans through a magazine with a smirk at my general incompetence! :D

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  16. Yep I'm back. Wish I felt back, but I am. :)
    Would you believe I just typed my website URL as absurdoldbOrd... ?

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  17. Haha! Not only is your url a tongue twister, apparently it is a finger twister too. :)

    I hope the feeling catches up with the reality soon. I'll keep em crossed for you...

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  18. Al Gore created technology? That is news to me! I guess you learn something new every day! Go Al Gore.

    As for the self checkout lines I totally agree! Though they are super helpful *and the only lines I use now really* the whole not being able to know what product you have and then yelling at you because you pushed the wrong button...is super annoying. But what is ALSO annoying is when I go into that line and I plan on bagging my own items and some worker swoops in and bags them for me! In my head I'm always: "Dude! Come on now! Now we have to intereact!" So of course I say thank you but its still awkard...

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  19. I'm pretty sure Ole Al said something like that. Though I suppose it could have been misconstrued...

    And What? You get a bagger in the self checkout lane? We have no such thing. Or maybe that is just reserved for the fairer individuals (I definitely don't qualify there).

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