Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
acquaintance of mine mentioned how much he hated standing in line
at the convenience market to pay for gas. Invariably there is
someone buying lottery tickets and three packs of cigarettes --
and then scratching off the tickets before leaving the counter
while he continues to wait. What about "pay at the
I think credit card scanners on gas pumps are one of the greatest
timesaving inventions ever invented, as I no longer have to go
inside to pay for gas. When real "service stations" went
the way of the dinosaur, I became accustomed to inconvenience. At
first, I thought "pay at the pump" only worked if you
wanted to buy gas on credit. Then I found that bankcards also work
and they can zap the money right out of your checking account.
I haven't been inside a gas station or convenience store
In the interest of saving time, I've learned to
use those digital scanners at Wal-Mart and the grocery stores with
exactly the right flick of the wrist to scan the card right. The
trouble is that every business seems to have a slightly different
machine, and it is so easy to accidentally push the wrong button
and end up canceling the entire transaction.
I'm sure the day is coming when no one will carry cash at all,
just plastic cards.
Automation reached a new low, however, when self-service checkout
aisles were installed at my local Wal-Mart. With this new
"convenience" you get to scan your own groceries instead
of standing in a checkout line. Just as I was getting used to
shopping carts that were unloaded by the cashier, these idiotic
self-service scanners came along to destroy my composure again.
I've noticed that I'm not the only one who avoids them. For some
unfathomable reason these machines seem to hate me. I scan my
item. The computer sits there stupidly doing nothing. Eventually
it says, "Scan your first item." But I already did! What
to do now, scan it again and get charged twice? "Put the item
in the bag," says the machine. But I already have! "Put
the item in the bag," it says again. So, I take it out and do
it again, just to make a machine happy. "Scan the item before
putting it in the bag!" shouts the machine while everyone
turns to look at me as if I'm a shoplifter.
No wonder these self-service machines are avoided like debris is
on the Interstate.
No doubt a Yankee invented these stupid machines. Southern
machines would have better manners and speak our language:
"Y'all scan yer item now. Take your time, honey, don't get
your britches in a wad." This would be so much more customer
Speaking of talking machines, the ATM machine at the local Bank of
America used to have a British accent. I called it the Princess Di
ATM. I guess they eventually figured out why everyone was
snickering --- It is Bank of AMERICA, isn't it? .
They finally got rid of it in favor of one of those
touch-the-screen things. It doesn't talk; it only pings. Reminds
me of a clown with a horn. I'm afraid if I do something wrong it
will squirt me with seltzer. This is obviously another Yankee
What an ATM machine in the South should say is something like:
"Howdy, y'all! Welcome to Bank of America, southern style.
Just put your deposit down yonder in the slot, hon. Here's some of
your hard-earned money back to spend. Y'all be sure and come see us again. Ya hear?"
Corporations are so out of touch with the real world and real
people. They really need to get out from behind those desks and
see what real people talk like, don't they?
Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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