Supermarket Scanning as a Second Language

I am not adverse to technology. I mostly enjoy new gadgets and the general improvement in our living that can be attributed to technological advances. I do not, however, profess to have technology as my first language.

Our first language, apart from the one we use for verbal communication, is our particular expertise or skill.This is something we forget when we are helping others in these areas of expertise as was evidenced for me today at the supermarket.
In the self serve area, I was methodically scanning and bagging, thinking of other things, as I do, when a message came on to the screen to say there was an unrecognised item but to continue, just place the item to one side. I looked to the screen and could see the last item I scanned recorded there so I continued to complete my items and move to the payment process. I needed to call for assistance as one of the early items I scanned had not recorded the reduced price. The attendant staff member came over and corrected this, then looked down at me and in an accusatory tone asked if I had an avocado in my items. I pulled it from the bag and she then said ” did you scan this barcode?” To which I responded in the affirmative. I was then informed in a very condescending tone that the system does not like the barcode on the avocado.

How would I, as an infrequent customer, know this? Only a staff member or perhaps someone who has gone through this process I was being exposed to, would know this. This is the first language of the supermarket employee not mine.

It was a timely reminder to “walk in the other persons shoes” before I begin to judge or express any frustration, particularly with my clients, when I am trying to impart information!

About the author

Kim Baillie


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