No light on at the checkout line…

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

When I notice a cashier ringing up customers and see the register number light is off I don’t get in their line. If they have a closed placard on the conveyor belt this is a sure signal that they are closing down. However, there are people who will put their groceries on the belt anyway. Even go as far as to move the placard. The cashier will say they are closing down the line but the people don’t budge. This is the equivalent of going into a steak restaurant and ordering a well-done rib eye five minutes before closing. It’s rude to enter a place of business so late. Also, who cooks their steak well? Savages that’s who.

How to be a good eBayer…


  • Know the time your item ends and have a prompt payment.
  • Inspect the item and give prompt feedback.
  • Don’t blame the eBayer if the delivery is lost.


  • Ship the item within a day.
  • Don’t be so quick to leave feedback, wait until they give you positive feedback.
  • If they are unfair in their feedback, respond reciprocally.

It’s that simple.

When’s the best time to buy a new car?

Old car at Pentre-cwm by Jeremy Bolwell is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

If you have a television and you watch commercials for car dealers, they tell you right now is the best time to buy with incredible savings. However, if you wait another month you will get the best savings of the year. Then the next month it will be the absolute best time for rock bottom prices that will never happen again in all of eternity. If you keep waiting for the best sale of the year it will never happen and you will keep driving your beater until it falls apart.

The best time to buy a car is when you need one. If you are paying a monthly repair cost that equals a car payment and you are inconvenienced by the constant time of your vehicle being in the shop, then it’s time to start looking. There are plenty of websites that will help you negotiate the best deal possible.

FedUp with free shipping


How many people empty their virtual shopping cart once they get to check out and see that shipping is 50% or more of the purchase price? This happens a lot on eBay. Those catcher’s shin guards are a great price at $35 until you see that it’s $50 to ship it.

Don’t fall for the lure of free shipping because it doesn’t exist.  Sellers should just say, “I’ll pay for shipping” because FedUps doesn’t pick up your box and say, “This one’s on us”.  Most of the time shipping is built into the price of the item.  When something costs $1 to make and sells for $50, offering free shipping is pretty easy. When those infomercials double up your offer but just pay “processing”, be prepared for sticker shock. I’ll just stick to my Amazon Prime Free Shipping that I pay for upfront every year.

I’ve kept a seat warm for you…

Who else gets excited over a contoured seat?

Sometimes it’s a great thing to say, “I’ve kept a seat warm for you”. However, when you are coming out of the stall and saying this to the next patron, things might get weird. Sometimes you don’t know how recently the toilet was in use. Some people may like it, but when I sit down and the seat’s still warm, I get a little uneasy.

Mail in rebates are a waste of time.

How about sending me my money!

It’s fantastic that retailers still do mail-in rebates. Instead of offering a rebate you just offer a lower-priced product by the rebate amount. You will move more products and not bait and switch.

I don’t clip coupons because they are a waste of time and I won’t purchase a product, cut out the barcode, copy my receipt and wait for the mailman to steal my rebate. Western Digital still owes me $50 from 1998 for a 500 MB hard drive.

Keep shopping while you wait to check out…

Nerd glasses are now cool

Recently I was picking up some eyeglasses at Costco. Side note, if you don’t have insurance for your eyeballs then Costco is the way to go for exams and corrective lenses. When I got to the counter and the lady asked how could she help me. From the other side of the showcase, a lady said she was here first. Yeah, she was there first but she was still shopping and trying on glasses for her child. She was there first but wasn’t in line to pay, there is a difference. It’s like going to the grocery store and getting there when the doors open, shopping for hours, and cutting in front of someone who just arrived and got their items and is ready to check out. People love the FIFO system, but sometimes LIFO is relevant.

Also, Why are the horned-rimmed glasses from the ’50s and 60’s so popular? The same glasses that labeled you a nerd then are making you cool today. Strange world.

Self Checkout Rules and Guidelines

Buying lettuce in a grocery store by Jakub Kapusnak is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

Self-checkouts are far superior to express checkouts because you don’t have to interact with humans and let them handle your goods. Follow these simple tips to get in and out and back to your hobbit hole in no time.

No light items

Items must be heavy enough to register on the scale. Kool-Aid packets are a great example. Purchasing Kool-Aid also shows you make poor decisions, so getting in this line probably reveals this.

No Alcohol

At this point in our technological world of grocery purchasing, there is no DNA test or retinal scans to prove your age. If a cashier has to come over to verify your age you are in the wrong line. Plus you need to buy your booze at a liquor store so you won’t run into someone from your bible study class and pretend like you are just making beer chili.

Respect the Item Limits

Self Checkout is not for full buggies, crazy couponers, or hoarders filling the fallout shelter for the coming apocalypse.

Know the Code

It needs to have a bar code! If you buy produce at least know the item number. If you have to tap your tuber by touch screen, pick a different line.

Items need to fit

Trying to lift a 60″ plasma TV onto the self-checkout scanner is obviously not going to work. If the item is too large to fit on the scanner, you have failed us. Call the manager to be escorted from the premises.

Don’t move bags to your buggy

Some robot-scales get angry when you remove items from the bagging area. This only shows you have too many items to be in this line. Everything you purchase should fit in the bagging area. It is even better if there is a handheld scanner and you can leave all the barcodes up in the cart.

Credit, Debit, or NFC Only!

No cash, no checks, no gift cards. I’ve tried (all except the check). Debit cards are great: swipe, enter your pin, grab your bags and receipt. Watching someone smooth out a crinkled dollar and feed it into the money bot orifice, makes me want to fling soup cans at your face.

Improving on Supermarket Express Lanes

Supermarkets have hit a log jam when it comes to express lanes. They seem like a good idea but they are fatally flawed because they only have one rule: Item Limits (which are always violated). Here are a few new rules that supermarkets should adopt to increase the performance of Express Lane.

High-Performance Cashiers and Baggers

Cashiers that are knowledgeable of what they’re doing go a long way. Would it hurt a cashier to smile and at least pretend to enjoy employment?. Express lane workers should be like the Navy Seals of cashiers. It’s frustrating when a volunteer senior citizen works the express lane and considers bar codes “the mark of the beast” and laser scanners “apocalyptic weaponry”. Baggers need to know that bread, Clorox, and ground beef shouldn’t co-mingle in a bag.

Accept only Debit Cards

Nothing is more frustrating than seeing someone whip out a checkbook to pay for five items. Cash is clumsy and no one can do simple math anymore. No gift cards either, 100% of the time there isn’t enough money to foot the bill, so that causes longer waits for your decision to write a check, pay with cash, or find your debit/credit card. Even credit cards take too long because people forget their own names and how to sign them.

Surcharge for going over the limit.

There should be a 50% surcharge for each over-the-limit item and increases incrementally for each item you go over. This will stop people with 100 items from getting in the 20 items or less line when their grocery bill goes all Fibonacci on them.

No Impulse Items

Remove all the candy and magazines so that people will pay attention when the grocery belt is open for them to place their items. Who cares what celebrity is overweight or having an out-of-wedlock baby with an alien.

No Cigarette Purchases

No lung candy since we are not allowing any other candy purchases in this line. Nothing is worse than someone finishing up their two-item purchase and then remembering they need a soft pack of reds. The cashier takes minutes opening the case and bringing back the hard pack which causes great anger in the customer. This cigarette volley goes on as you watch customers in other lanes with full carts leaving the store.

No “Valued Customer” card signup

If you already possess this card and have it ready then you are free to use it. However, don’t query the cashier entering five phone numbers because you forgot your card.

How to pick a Wal-Mart Shopping Cart

Bandaid with a hair

I think Walmart is the only company that doesn’t maintain its shopping carts. They’ve come up with a trick that will encourage you to endure the punishment of wobbly wheels for the shopping duration. The trick is they cover the solarium with a bunch of uneven stone tiles. You won’t notice the wheels are busted until you’ve been distracted by a Walmart elder and the lure of cheap candy, bananas, and detergent before hitting the smooth surfaces. They figure that you’ve traveled all this distance from the corral and you won’t walk back to get another. You might risk offending the elder and get scolded: “Well, back in my day, we had to strap saddle bags on a mule when we wanted Doritos from the five and dime, I think that buggy will do you just fine sonny boy”.

Sometimes you get lucky and there aren’t many buggies in the corral at Walmart.  This gives you a bit of a smooth surface to do a little test run to see if all the wheels are straight. I’m sure Wal Mart will catch on to this, and extend the rough tiles into the buggy corral. It’s really only a matter of time before Walmart becomes just a rough uneven terrain of shopping on dirt floors. Then you won’t notice there are no wheels on the buggy at all.