Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I don't want to scan

I hate U-scan lanes. I really do. To me, they are just another sign of the depersonalization of society and the on-going death of customer service. Supposedly, they are there to make our lives easier and get us out of the store faster. Most of the time when I've used them, just the opposite has happened. Like, for instance, the morning a Kroger employee basically pushed my into a U-scan lane. So, I had an entire shopping cart full of groceries, including stuff that was on sale and a couple clearance items. And coupons, of course. So first of all, there wasn't enough space for all my bagged stuff on the little shelf, so the machine kept getting mad at me. And then for the clearance items, I had to summon the U-scan helper to key in the price. And then some of my sale items didn't ring up correctly. Another summoning of the U-scan helper to correct it. Except she actually entered the exact wrong price, which I had no knowledge of until after I paid. So then it was a trip to the customer service desk to fix that. Three hours later (ok, it was more like 30 minutes total), I'm finally walking out of the Kroger. Had I stayed in the regular lane that I had chosen, I would have been out in 10 minutes. So, they don't really save us time, unless maybe you're buying two items at regular price and paying with a credit card (don't get me started on feeding cash into those things--or coupons for that matter).

I also hear rumors that they are supposed to 'save money.' Well, they may be saving the stores money, but I sure am not seeing those savings passed on to me. My proposal is, if you voluntarily use a U-scan lane, you should get an immediate discount off of your total. Doesn't have to be much, just a little something. And if you have to use a U-scan lane (and it is becoming more frequent these days that at certain times, the only lanes open are do-it-yourself), then you should get a bigger discount. Until that day comes, I will continue to avoid those U-scan lanes.

As a side note on saving money, what the heck has happened to the price of milk? The soymilk I buy is now cheaper than the store-brand lactose free cow milk. It's jumped like $.60 or more in the past two months! I'm going to have to get a goat or something.

Friday, June 22, 2007

True Colors

Well, something like 25 years later, I've managed to cross something off of my To-Do list. Last night, I finally got to see Cyndi Lauper in concert. She has organized and is headlining the True Colors tour in support of the Human Rights Campaign. Overall, it was a very good show. I just wish that Erasure and Cyndi had played much longer sets. The Dresden Dolls were quite amusing. Debby Harry was not good--very stiff and boring. But then Erasure came on and played an amazing set. And, of course, Cyndi was wonderful. She is such an entertainer and it was such a thrill for me to finally get to see her live!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Encounters with wildlife

While riding my bike this past Saturday, I had a very unexpected experience. I live in metro Atlanta, so my rides are on surface streets in the suburbs. No place exotic at all. I had just topped a little hill and was on my way down the back side of it when I saw an animal run across the street onto the grounds of this big church about a quarter of a mile away. It looked like a cat from that distance, and I wouldn't have thought anything else of it. However, a car coming from the opposite direction honked its horn at about the same place which got me paying attention and trying to figure out why they were honking and disturbing the peace on a perfectly good, quiet Saturday morning.

So as I approached where the 'cat' had crossed, I could see it running down the drive into the church. What stood out first was how long and bushy the tail was. "Hmmm," I said to myself, "that doesn't look like a cat's tail." Then I noticed its head and ears. Very small head, very large, pointy ears. And then it dawns on me. I think that's a fox. So I quickly crossed the road and biked into the church. I was actually able to get to within about 10 feet of it on my bike and, sure enough, it was a fox. It actually let me bike by it a couple times so I could get a good look. Sadly, I was on-call that day, so I had the on-call phone and not my cell phone which has a camera. It would have been a perfect photo chance, and I think the little fellow would have stayed still long enough for me to take the picture if I had gotten off my bike. Oh well. At least now I'll be keeping my eyes open on future rides in the hopes of seeing him or her again!