The Devil's Playground has brought back the self-checkout. They have it configured like a big corral, with a bottleneck to enter and to leave. And there seem to be two of The Devil's Handmaidens and Handmasters assigned to monitor it. The last two visits, I have only seen ONE person using the self checkout.
The #1 son used to make me use it, way back when they were set up like the 30-items-or-less short lanes. He loved that stuff. He would scan it all, and tell me if something went wrong, and go looking for someone to help. Because something always went wrong.
Now that the 30-items-or-less lanes are gone, more people are using the regular registers. And the regular checkers are slower. I did not see a familiar face there. Well, I did. But in a different way.
I waited in line 10 minutes without moving. There was one customer being rung up, one customer with stuff already piled on the conveyor, and me. After those 10 minutes, I huffed my way next door. A customer was at the register, one had her stuff already on the conveyor, and then me. Couldn't be any worse than the line I left. Especially when I saw that Devil's Handmaiden waiting for a supervisor.
My new Devil's Handmaiden was no spring chicken. She looked familiar, but not from The Devil's Playground. She was very slow. I wondered if maybe I'd had her before and vowed never again. Too late. The line moved. Devil's Handmaiden chatted amiably with the customer. Took her time bagging. Was cordial. Inquisitive. I know they're supposed to ask about things they scan. "Oh, is this good? I've never tried that. Did you find everything all right?" You know. To engage the customer. I don't mine remaining unengaged.
Then it was my turn. It had taken so long that The Pony was done spending his two dollars in the game room. He came back to help me put bags in the cart.
"Oh. Is this your youngest?"
Then I knew! The checker was the mom and mom-in-law of our three school secretaries! She used to hang around all the time, volunteering. I guess that didn't pay too well. So we had a good chat while she carefully bagged my stuff. I don't think the customer behind me cared much for our reunion. But I had put in my 20 minutes in line, and it was MY turn now.
Small town Devil's Playground blues. I left in a better mood than I'd started. Wheeling out my cart-walker while answering The Pony's question of, "Who WAS that woman."