So I’m at the grocery store yesterday picking up a few essentials and without mentioning any names, let’s just say it rhymes with Gavilions, though it could have just as easily rhymed with Gon’s or Gafeway. All these stores are now pushing us to use what they laughingly call “automated checkout.” I try to avoid using them but I think they see me coming and tell all the regular checkers to hide in the back. So, while they are all in the back laughing, I’m often forced to use the “self checkout” with the key word being self, as I have to run my items through the scanner, which is probably giving me cancer, then I have to bag them, put them back into my cart and after all that, the price is just the same as if I paid someone to do it. Hey, 40-some years ago I took aptitude tests and nobody came up to me after them and said, “You’d make a crackerjack grocery store clerk,” so why, at my age, are they trying to steer me into a new career?
My problem with self checkout is that I’m essentially a product tester for these first generation robots and nobody wants a first generation product because that’s where all the problems are. Remember, when they first invented the wheel, it was square and nobody bought it until they revised it and came out with a new and improved round version. Like Dante’s Inferno, you will encounter several circles of hell when using the self checkout. It begins when the robot wants to know if you brought your own bag or will be stealing one of theirs. Then you start to scan your groceries and it tells you to put them in the bag after you’ve already put them in the bag…but it doesn’t believe you, or it gives you a message like, “Remove unauthorized item from bagging area” like it’s caught you trying to bag a corpse. And God help you if you are trying to buy fruit or produce because that may kill you. They rarely have the code on them or it’s been smudged because they hose down the produce every 15 minutes while I can’t water my lawn. They call it a mister but when it goes off, the vegetables look like they were just smuggled out of the Rain Forest. Then you have to look up the item by punching “Look Up Code” which produces an alphabet listing but if you are buying something like sweet peas, you don’t know whether to punch the s or the p. S was the answer in this case but then you have to cycle through all the pages of S fruits and vegetables to get to the Sw and you can’t believe how many types of squash they have that people don’t eat. Plus you have to get past succotash, which makes normal people throw up, to get to Sweet Peas. I think the product after Sweet Peas was Swollen Glands. Your last circle of hell is if you try and buy something that is age regulated. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you need a half gallon of Vodka and a carton of Camels because you’re attending a children’s party later…and you need a gift. These first generation robots won’t let you buy it and sirens and bells start going off like you won a jackpot in Vegas. I’m at the point where I look like I helped Betsy Ross finish the flag but I am now surrounded by police until the checker who is manning the stations tells the machine I’m over 21. I believe the next generation will be equipped with a scanner that is able to check your hands for liver spots and avoid this embarrassment.
Even though I rarely get through one of these experiences without a problem, I understand automation and actually look forward to the day when a machine puts me out of work. That said, I applaud the checkers who are very willing to help punch in the right code, verify my age etc. having learned how to operate the very machines that will be putting them out of a job. They clearly have mastered computers while never coming to grasp with the concept of irony.
It’s not really that different in business. We’ll ring up any of our items and we offer them in many categories. IMC hopes you’re enjoying our new retail brands and products for the industry. New brands like Alessi, Areaware and our new designer sunglasses collection from Bobby Jones, Carmen Marc Valvo and Michael Stars are live on our website. And we’ll continue to treat our customers professionally and get your orders to you…on time and on budget. If you’re curious about click on the tab and see. You can thumb through our 2015 catalog from category to category and find many products that will accent your client’s event and we’ll get you what you want even if we have some suggestions on how to make it more rewarding. Go to the Catalog page of the IMC website and put your order in and we’ll get them to you. Let us know if you’d like samples. We want to help you make sense of your client’s request so we offer choices between new products and classic items so they can make presentations memorable. And IMC cares that your order is correct so we keep lots of products around that are suitable for your events but we’ll let you decide what works best for you and jump in to help you with decisions about products and decorations. And if your client has invented a holiday or celebration, we can also custom-make almost anything you can dream to make your client’s event all it can be. Take a look at our YouTube channel to see some videos showcasing popular products for some ideas on how to use them. We take our business relationship seriously and we want you to enjoy, give and receive our products and be able to use them every day. We look forward to working with you and we always have ideas to make our products work for your clients. The 2015 IMC catalog is live and available virtually at Zoomcatalog.com if you’re tired of fighting paper catalogs. It can be viewed nicely with your laptop, iPad, tablet or phone. IMC is the recognized leader in the introduction of new retail brands to the promotional product industry and has multiple design awards from both ASI and PPAI. Since introducing Waterford® Writing Instruments and MoMA years ago, IMC has presented more than 48 retail brands from global suppliers to enhance the selections you can offer your clients. See great ideas and items from Troika, Wedgwood, MOVA and Redwear. We invite you to browse any of our 2,300+ products on the IMC website to see items suitable for any occasion or event and pieces you can use to personalize your relationship with your clients. We have promotional products for every event, show, convention, corporate store and company program that will keep your client looking to you for new ideas. What do you think? Let us know with a comment here or on Facebook or Twitter. IMC wants to know…how much is that turnip?
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