Held Hostage By Caffeine

, , , , , , | Working | December 2, 2020

In the UK, “high-caffeine energy drinks” cannot be sold to under 16s. I use the automated checkout with my age-restricted drink, though there is always a member of staff by the eight or so automated checkouts to deal with issues and glitches. Taking this drink through them has never been an issue before, and I don’t really want to queue for a manned checkout for a few items.

I scan my shopping and wait as the light is flashing red and the screen is telling me that age verification is needed.

A minute or so goes by, and the person usually there is nowhere to be seen. I look over to the closest manned checkout, which now has no queue.

Cashier #1: “Sorry, can’t help you, love. Have to stay here.”

Another minute later, I wave at the cashier.

Cashier #1: “Look, just wait. It’s only been a few minutes.”

Cashier #2: *Walking past* “Oh, sorry. Not sure who is supposed to be here. I’ll see if I can find someone. What’s the issue? [Drink]? Yeah, I’ll get someone to come over.”

Me: “Can’t you verify it? I have ID if you need to see that.”

That’s normally not needed; they take one look at me and swipe an employee code of some kind, and the machine knows I’m old enough. I’m twenty-five.

Cashier #2: “Nah, sorry, gotta find who it’s supposed to be.”

She ambles off slowly.

I wait another minute or so and then give up. I would have given up sooner, but it is pouring with rain so I don’t mind waiting inside in the hope that the rain will ease off a bit. But now, it’s taken two people over five minutes to do nothing, one of whom hasn’t served anyone else in that time.

As I leave, abandoning my four or five items at the checkout, I hear [Cashier #1].

Cashier #1: “Bloody cheek. Leaving it for someone else to deal with now she doesn’t want it, I suppose.”

Me: “I do want it, but I can’t pay because of the [Drink], and I can’t cancel the drink because that requires a member of staff, too, and there isn’t anybody there.”

Cashier #1: “So that’s my fault, is it? That you’re too lazy to stand still and wait?”

I just walked out.

As I looked back, I saw [Cashier #1] get up and cancel my items with the employee swipe code, so she could have done that the whole time. I’ve not been back since.

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