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Self-Checkout: Another female telling me what to do

I’m not a coupon clipper. Never have been. But I admire people who do. I saw a woman at the grocery store the other day carrying a three-ring binder full of coupons. No telling how much money she saved.

I will use a coupon if it’s actually attached to the product. I’ve done that at least once. It happened a couple of weeks ago when I picked up a box of Sweet ‘N Low. There was a coupon attached to it that read, “Save 50-Cents Now!” The cashier scanned it, and it showed up on my receipt. Cool, I remember thinking. And besides saving 50-cents, a banner on the box read, “Bonus Pack! 120 packets for the price of 100.” At two-packets per cup, that’s enough artificial sweetener for 60 cups of coffee.

I’ve been told that this stuff isn’t good for you. But I’ve used it for so many years I’d be afraid to stop; my body could go into shock!

Because of bar codes, checking out is pretty foolproof these days… and easy. So easy that some stores have self-checkout aisles, where you just scan your own stuff. For some reason, though, all the machines have female voices telling you what to do. That’s why I don’t use them.

Women have been telling me what to do all my life; my mother, my big sister, most of my teachers, and my wives (and their mothers). So the last thing I need is a female computer voice telling me to weigh my bananas.

Then there’s the female “navigator” on my GPS telling me where to turn. So far, though, she doesn’t tell me where to park. But I’m sure that “find-a-parking-place” technology is right around the corner. In the meantime, my wife can tell me where to park. And if I forget where I parked, we have an app on our phones that will locate the car. And it works well. I tried it this morning and found the car exactly where I parked it last night; in the garage.

So, tonight I can program the restaurant location into its GPS and head to dinner. But it won’t be to the restaurant that sent me a coupon last week.

The deal: “Surf & Turf Dinner” for Two: 6 oz. filet mignon, served with 8 oz lobster tail – $75.00. Tax and gratuity not included. Beverages not included. Expires 9/30/17. Wow, that’s $37.50 apiece. Wonder what the price will be after 9/30/17?

By comparison, I can get 10 filet mignons and 10 lobster tails from Amazon for a little over $200 with free shipping. All I have to do is tell Alexa and the order is placed. Then she can tell me who won the Dodgers game last night. And then tell me a joke. She hangs onto every word I say, without interrupting. And would never tell me where to park.

Where has she been all my life? (sigh…)

– Raymond Reid

Raymond Reid is a national-award winning humor columnist from Kernersville, NC. He can be contacted at

Reflections of Erma