The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Tired of machines ordering me around


I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with Bossy Britches Machines.

Our motor vehicles insist on telling us our “windshield washer is low” or we might ought to “check the oil.”

The worst is the bright yellow light announcing our “fuel is low.” Do they think we can’t see the gas gauge right there on the dashboard?

Plus their reminders are often meaningless. My Chevy Yukon has run just fine for about 20,000 miles now with the little yellow light saying “check engine” burning brightly.

The worst, bossiest machines of all, in my opinion, are in the grocery store. I put that trip off as long as possible, but some necessities — like coffee and flour — require a trip to town. Last week I was forced to go purchase those few items.

I’m told that in the old days you took a list to the store, handed it to the storekeeper, came back later and he had everything ready for you.

Nowadays they force us to do half their work for them — plopping our purchases on their counters, loading our bags into our baskets ourselves afterward, and lugging it all to our car while they stand there and pass items over their scanners.

This trip I only had about six items, so because you have to wait in line forever if you choose a lane with an actual checker person I decided to try out their “self check-out” lane, and do absolutely everything myself.

First, I had to choose between English and Spanish. After that a voice said, “Scan your first item.”

Have you noticed those voices are female? Probably some male computer guru decided that would be friendlier or less threatening for us women. I have news for that guru. The female voice sounded just like my fourth-grade teacher — the Witch from Perdition.

The first item I tried was the 12-pack of sodas my daughter had requested. After I finally found the bar code, the screen printed the item and its price. It was heavy so I decided to put it back in my shopping cart to avoid having to move it again for the trip to the car.

Bad decision. Mrs. Witch didn’t like it. She said, “Item missing from bagging area.” She repeated that about four times before I asked the nearby actual employee for help. She came over and pushed some buttons, then declared me “ready to go.”


After the coffee passed by the scanner I put it in one of the plastic bags hanging in the so-called bagging area. Mrs. Witch, apparently still upset, announced, “Item missing from bagging area.”

The “helper” employee was busy, so the lady behind me in line offered her assistance, which I gratefully accepted. She surveyed the computer screen, pushed some buttons and after about two long minutes informed me I could finish.

“What was the problem?” I asked her.

She smiled and replied, “You just have to be patient with it.”

Patient!? With a bossy britches machine from the Devil’s home town? Really!


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