Much like flying, shopping used to be a very civilized experience. In this wretched recession which is screwing-up all of my fun, shopping has become total drudgery, just one more task you HAVE to do, much like cleaning toilets. As one store after the next closes its doors and retail establishments fight to maintain lower prices to stay alive, one amenity that we so blithely took for granted, after the next disappears. It makes me so sad.
- Self-Checkout. If ever there was a blight upon civilization, it is the proliferation of self-checkout. Apparently the economy is so bad, stores can't even afford to hire someone to take your money. I hate self-checkout. It democratizes the whole shopping experience. When I am giving somebody money, I like the power rush that goes along with being able to buy crap. Besides, if I wanted a job checking out crap in a discount store I would have stayed in retail.
- Bring Your Own Bag. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I should carry my own bags with me to save the planet, but frankly the planet was hell bent on self-destruction long before I showed up. How much of the planet am I saving when I get to the store bagless and have to burn a tank of gas just to go home and get one of those mystery fiber bags,so some eco-nazi doesn't give me a dirty look when I'm checking out.
- The Spinning-Bag-O-Matic: I don't really know what it is called, but it is that round thing at Walmart, that holds the bags, spins as the cashier shoves merchandise into the bags, and you try to grab all off your bag off it like some really suck-o-la carnival game. "Step right up folks, take a ride on the spinning-bag-o-matic. Will you get all your stuff, or will you have to return to the store to argue as to whether or not you ever got your light bulbs? Try your luck. Test your skills!" Checkers are just too busy these days to hand you your bags. Who invented this thing? Like I don't have enough crap to juggle in the store between credit cards, signing receipts, holding a cell phone, and trying to find my crap in my giant purse that serves no practical purpose other than it makes me look thinner, just like Paris Hilton.
- Discount Cards. Somewhere in the bottom of my giant purse, is a pile of discount cards. I loathe and detest stores who advertise discount prices and demand you have that damn discount card. Just what I need when I am out-of-town, in a hurry, and want to pick-up a couple things. "Oh no! We only give the discount to our members." They say "members" like their "members" are something special, as if getting one of those stupid cards is some big accomplishment. I am in the "Shop and Save"; I'm not trying to join a country club. Just give me the lowest price and let me get the hell out of your stupid store.
- Coupons on receipts. Some discount cards create special coupons for you when you hit a certain dollar amount, or purchase a particular product. They are printed out on these fifty foot long receipts I really think the ecco-nazis need to look into. I think we could maybe use them for toilet paper, you know, to cut back. My husband loves these. "Look here honey! If we purchase 10 more packages of "Preparation H" we can get two dollars off of the store brand! It expires in two days, so we'd better hurry." I shove the thing in my purse where it sinks to the bottom, expires and is thrown-out when I clean out my purse a few months later. Unless, of course, I decide to make a purchase with one, then I can't find it. Which isn't all bad, because I try to use these stupid things as little as possible, because I feel it only encourages the store to participate in this sort of marketing.