Monday, February 24, 2014

Rant #1,350: Self-Service Headache

It happened again this weekend.

While shopping in our local supermarket, we decided to use the self-service checkout. My wife and I placed our groceries on the mechanism, checkout out everything, and were ready to pay.

Someone, this time a little old lady who should have known better, comes right up behind us and starts stacking her stuff down before we could even process our coupons and pay for what we've bought.

I have noticed this happening quite frequently ever since we have been shopping at our local Wal-Mart. It is not a regular Wal-Mart, because this store has groceries only, not a mix of merchandise like TVs and groceries. It is a new concept that they are trying in our area, and honestly, we shop there not because of availability, but because the prices are cheaper there than at a regular supermarket.

Anyway, we frequently use the self-checkout, simply because it is quicker than waiting on the line of a regular checkout.

The place only has four or five self-checkouts, and only two of them accept cash, the other credit or debit cards.

This past week, we paid with good, old fashioned cash, so the woman coming up behind me while we were paying really didn't upset anything, although it was rude, and I politely let her know that.

There have been other weeks where we have paid with a debit card, and yes, we have had the same situation.

With all the identity theft happening today, the last thing that I need is someone viewing my card and my PIN number.

A few weeks back, a couple with a child was right behind us as we checked out, and the father literally stepped behind me as I was starting to process my debit card.

I turned around and said to him, "Look, do you mind? We will be out of here in a minute," and then I said, "I don't think you are going to steal my card information, but can I have a little room here?"

He never apologized, but he did pull back.

When my wife and I wait to use the self-checkout, we don't even put our groceries down until the person is done, and we certainly don't go behind the person when they are paying.

That is the ultimate in rudeness and is unsafe when you are using either a debit or credit card.

Let me let you in on something--both my wife and I have had our identities stolen during the past 20 years or so, and I actually had it happen to me twice.

Luckily for me, I discovered it very early in the process both times, and was able to nip it in the bud very quickly.

One of these steals they traced to Europe, they said probably in Italy. They will never catch whoever did it.

The other was traced to Chicago--yes, right here in the good old U.S.A.--and that was stopped almost immediately.

On both accounts, there was no damage done, except to my credit history, which is pretty important.

What happened to my wife should not happen to anyone.

Somebody lifted her credit card number from somewhere--we don't know where--and it was obtained by some unscrupulous people who used it to purchase thousands of dollars of merchandise at a mall in New Jersey, electronics and baby stuff.

We were tipped off by a cashier, believe it or not, who thought that the people using the number were kind of funny.

We were contacted while my wife was at work one Saturday afternoon, and when she came home and I told her about what happened, this started the ball rolling on something that has haunted her for years and years.

A red flag always comes up on her credit report about this, and it has held her back from doing what she has wanted to do with her cards legitimately.

So identity thieves are everywhere, ripping off your credit numbers and your names with ease and aplomb. They do not care about hurting you, only getting what they want through you.

So, when some dope stands behind me when I am processing something as simple as a supermarket purchase, I let them know either they are going to move away, or I am not going anywhere, and they are going to have to wait for me to be done.

And you know what? I really do not care what they think. If they had any manners to begin with, they would wait for us to finish.

We have had similar situations on regular supermarket checkout lines, when I am paying with my debit card and I need to put my PIN number in. I just ask the people to move back.

People are in such a hurry that I don't think they realize what they are going.

For those uninformed idiots, I make it my business to let them know.

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