There was mass confusion at the grocery store today. They had installed these self-checkout lanes where the express lanes used to be. Basically you check your groceries out yourself using a variety of different tools, including touch screen, scale, barcode scanner and bagging racks. The racks sense when you put stuff into them. You can punch in the produce codes yourself, or sort through menus of pictures of produce to tell the machine what you’re buying. A computer voice tells you what to do at each step. You can pay with cash, debit or credit card when you’re done. It was really slow, because people were trying to figure out how to use the machines. Even when using the machines, it was a lot slower than a real cashier, because people are not as good at punching in codes and bagging stuff as cashiers are. Also, there were several cashiers who were circulating, helping people punch in their orders. I wonder if this is the way everyone will be buying groceries in the future. I wonder if people will feel weird having to deal with real cashiers the way I feel weird dealing with real bank tellers because I’ve been using bank machines my whole life? I dunno… I think there are some things that real people do better than computers. Shocking but true.