Ask Blue Midget: Where Are You?

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Dear Blue Midget,

Halffull usually has updates every day, but over the past week there have only been a couple of updates to the site. How come you haven’t put much up?

A Reader

My Dearest Reader,

I write to you under the direst of circumstances. In this place where I have been trapped, the laws of time and space have no meaning. I am trapped in a state of limbo – a purgatory of sorts, if you will. There is little to sustain me in this place and I feel my mind slipping away, succumbing to the strange sound of bad 80’s music whispering so softly in the back of my mind. It is as if I am waiting in an eternal line-up of poor wretched souls, also trapped in the same damned fate:

I have been stuck in a check-out line at the grocery store since Thursday night.

You see, my friend, this is the era of automation. Every day, customer service dies a little more as corporations cut prices by cutting back labor costs. It began with the self-serve gas stations. We saw it, and it was good. Now, it is rare that we ever go inside of a gas station as we can pump our gas and pay the bill without stepping more than a couple of feet away from the car. As this type of automation becomes more of the social norm, it is being instituted everywhere.

Over a year ago, grocery stores began to implement self-checkout lines so customers could scan in their own items and pay at the station without having to bother interacting with another human. At once I embraced the grocery self-checkout, for when one is in a hurry and has only a couple of items, it will be your friend. Unfortunately, many grocery stores (or Wal-Marts) have restrictions on these particular self-checkout lines. I give you the three major flaws of the grocery store self-checkout stations:

1. People over-estimate their own intelligence in figuring out how to use them

2. Murphy’s _other_ law is that you and twenty other people will have only two items to ring up, but some asshole with a cart full of unscannable shit will get in line ahead of you

3. Rules 1 & 2 will apply every single time you try to use the self-checkout line

On Thursday night I ran to the grocery store to pick up some chocolate chips so that I could walk everyone through a graduated chocolate chip cookie recipe in keeping with the Thanksgiving holiday, but upon getting into the self-checkout line, I was stranded here. That’s why my news post came so late – I had to type it from my cell phone. In fact, yesterday was a voting day in New York State, and I feared that I would not be able to vote, but some merciful soul came by with absentee ballots. A couple of seniors standing in line behind me were so delirious by then that they actually ate the ballots. I am not sure what day it is or even what time it is, just that I’ve been standing next to a rack of magazines for so long that I think my proximity to Britney Spears’ picture on the cover of US Magazine may have given me a raging case of scabies.

Please, send help. I must go now – some woman is trying to fit her ATM card into the machine that spits your receipt out. She must be stopped.


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