Breaking Up With Bezos, It's Complicated

I've been working long hours for weeks. I keep thinking it will end next week, but then the next week arrives, and lo and behold, someone finds a reason we again have to work late all week this week. You can imagine this puts me in a wonderful mood.

I think it was Wednesday evening, cheerful and energized for having already clocked 35 hours of what ultimately amounted to a 55-hour workweek, that I stopped into a grocery store on South Street to grab a close approximation of dinner. The store has around a dozen self-checkout machines to the six proper registers. Having been a cashier once upon a time (and being somewhat nostalgic), I still believe people should be paid to run a register — including me.

There were only a couple of registers actually open, but then again, there were only two or three people in front of me, so I chose the "interact with an actual human" lane. As the line quickly grew behind me, one of the two operating registers closed so the cashier could putter around spraying down the rubberized conveyor at his station. Meanwhile, multitudes of fellow employees wandered around the checkout area, looking at once busy and unoccupied. Some twenty minutes and three customers later, I was homeward bound to dine on potato chips and vacuum-packed roast beef while washing down my rage with a giant bottle of Pellegrino.

I hypothesize that Jeff's business analysts believe keeping the registers perpetually understaffed introduces enough friction to encourage customers to use the self-checkout machines, thereby saving money on staffing. They may be correct on balance, but, personally, it's encouraged me instead never to set foot in the place again and cancel all of my Amazon Prime, Audible, and Kindle Unlimited accounts for good measure. It would be foolhardy to suggest I'll never give Bezos another dime, but the coin won't come so easily as once it did.

I guess I never noticed how annoying their self-checkout agenda had become because I usually have groceries delivered. That saves me a lot of time and energy I don't have because we're living in a capitalist dystopia. Now I'm trying Instacart for a change of pace and more options. (The irony is not lost on me, so I tip what I believe to be well.) After buying groceries at the same place for years, I generally knew what would be available, what I liked, didn't like, or liked but could find better elsewhere. I'm now forced to explore a world of different options and try new things. I honestly haven't cared for much of it.

I even went so far as to throw out my taco dinner this evening. I ordered some "ancestral blend" nonsense, labeled as 100% grass-fed ground beef, but upon closer examination, it turned out to be a mixture of ground beef, liver, and beef heart. It's not awful. For all I know, that might be typical of supermarket ground beef. But it wasn't great, either. The real meal-breaker was that I put too much cumin in the seasoning. Apparently, I don't like cumin. I tried drowning out the taste with an unfamiliar red enchilada sauce, but that turned out to have too much cumin as well. Other experiments included smoked cheddar that tasted like hot dogs and dried mangos encrusted with chili powder and lemon zest. I can't recommend either of them.

Elsewhere, I tried a latte for the first time today. They're not bad, but I think a shot of vanilla syrup would help balance all that milkiness. I'll try that tomorrow.

The Annoying Song