20 Items Or Less

As I do every week, I went to Walmart Saturday. This Saturday trip was a little different, as I got to the store just before 8:00 in the morning, because that’s when their hair salon opened up, and I wanted to get a haircut.

Why do I talk about my Walmart trips all the time? Good question. I think Walmart has become something either people love to do or despise doing. In many ways, it is a microcosm of Americana in this early part of this new century we’re all apart of.

When I got to the grocery buying portion of the trip, I’m keeping track of the number of items I’m getting. Should I get 20 items or fewer, I can go to the automated checkout sections they put in the store a few weeks back. I do my shopping, and sure enough, I’m right at 20 items.

I belly up to the checkout section on the north end of the store, and the attendant who I had encountered a few weeks ago who helped me with entering the bananas on their kiosk seemed in a sour mood.

The attendant declared, “Twenty items or less, sir.” I guess she was thinking I wasn’t keeping track.

“But I have twenty items exactly.” I responded.


I wouldn’t have declined the offer if she wanted to count the number of items I had for herself. But for her to assume I wasn’t keeping count, but it was strange that she immediately backed down. I’m not mad at her, as she was probably doing her job and probably has to deal with a lot of technological novices who aren’t adapt at using the automated machines yet. They should, however, be welcoming people who want to use their machines. I don’t go to the store to run some sort of scam on them.

I like the machines, though it has probably cost a few people their jobs at the store. I like scanning and going at my own pace, instead of hurrying to place bags in the cart and make split-second decisions that might squash that loaf of bread. Maybe it’s the future, or maybe it will be something that doesn’t mesh with the public like the “new Coke” back in the 1980’s.




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