Saturday, November 08, 2008

Meijer and the darwin effect

a little Meijer evolution history for you...if you'll recall, Meijer deleted the "bagger" personnel from it's workforce. cashiers now get the opportunity to scan your groceries and bag them. then, Meijer opened the "12 items or less u-scan," in effect deleting several cashiers. and now, Meijer has evolved to the "no limit u-scan," eliminating even more human-like cashiers.

the accountants at Meijer have decided that reducing cashiers (I'm extrapolating here, but just go with it) means reducing costs. the trouble is, more-than-12-items-customers don't want to work with machines, which means very long lines at the human-ish cashiers and emptiness down at automation alley.

I thought my experience with the well-oiled machine put me off the no limit u-scans for life, but thanks to the minds at Meijer, I've had to purge old habits and acquire new ones--I'm being forced into evolution!

or am I?

so there I am, short on time but long on Meijer lines. I've got at least 40 items in my cart and my 4 year old asks me, "when are we going home?!" no lines at the no limit u-scan area. I take a deep breath screech to a stop next to the conveyor belt and start scanning. my items are careening down the roller section. the dogpile of pitted olives, honeycrisp apples and 4% milkfat cottage cheese triggers an all-too-familiar stress migraine. I rush over with my eco-friendly grocery bags (from Whole Foods by the way, tee hee!) and try to get a start on bagging before I scan the next 37 items.

I stuff in the apples, olives, cottage cheese, then I reach for the kosher hot dogs (not jewish, just love 'em), the refrigerated pickle spears, 1/3 less fat cream cheese and that's when it hit me...I didn't scan these items! I look to my left to see my 4 year old searching for the "stripes" (youngster speak for UPC code), scan the package of sushi nori and plop it onto the automated conveyor belt.

a slight shiver of scientific euphoria ripples through my nervous system. I have passed my beat-Meijer-at-all-costs DNA to my son! he has adapted and adopted the necessary skills to survive all life-squelching curveballs thrown at him by my nemesis! images of my grocery scanning wunderkind and all his glorious, technicolor-animated DNA helices featured on the Discovery Channel, flash across my mind.

as I'm standing there stunned/proud, my peripheral vision catches the expression on the face of one of the few surviving Meijer cashiers.

the realization of her species' impending extinction causes a hideous, twisted smile to crack across her face. she croaks, "isn't--that--precious? he--knows--how--to--scan!" followed by a high pitched cackle, I mean, nervous laugh. I fully expected her to swoop down and chew-up my little cherub cashier. suddenly, cerebral Discovery Channel images are replaced with Animal Planet atrocities. specifically, the scene where the new, conquering alpha lion eats the young of the old, maimed alpha lion!

with survival mode in full swing, an adrenaline rush enables us to check-out in record time; preserving my offspring's ability to out-smart Meijer, and hopefully, pass this genetic information on and on and on.

consider me and mine, darwinism at its best.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking Meijer checkout lines, your beloved superstore and their checkout line policies are featured today on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

    Enjoy! Scott