Remember a while back, I was annoyed about stores that assume you're planning to steal all their stuff if you come in with an empty shopping bag? Not only do I resent the implication that I'm a thief, but none of these stores seem to have figured out how to get your empty bags back to you conveniently so they can be filled up when you get to the cashier.
Well there's another related thing they do that I find utterly crazifying. The Walgreens referenced above got rid of their "All of our Customers are Shoplifters" sign a month or two after I wrote about it. I'm now welcome to walk into the store with empty shopping bags. Yay! I can even walk in there with bags full of stuff from another store. Double Yay! But their answer to letting me walk around with all of my stuff may be worse than what went on before. Boo!
First, they started putting locked plexiglass shields over some of the over-the-counter drugs. You have to ring a little bell that triggers the P.A. system call an "associate" to that section to open the shield and get what you want. Then, instead of handing it to you, they take it up to one of the registers where it will wait for you to show up and pay for it. Note: Once he drops it off at a register, you're stuck waiting for that register. When they open up a new one, you can't go there, 'cause your stuff won't be there.
The last time I went in to buy one of these OTC items, the bell in that section was missing. So I walked down the aisle and found the next nearest bell. The P.A. system dutifully called for an "associate to help a customer in the cold and flu section." When the "associate" showed up, I pointed him down the aisle to what I actually wanted, at which point, he got pissy and said, "That's not the cold and flu section! That's not my section." I pointed out that there wasn't a bell to push in that section and he grudgingly got what I wanted.
So, next, I'm following him up to the register and he gets waylaid by a couple who are trying to get to some other locked-away items. So I get to follow him around as he shops for them. One stop for shampoo--(they're really concerned about people shoplifting massive economy sized shampoo bottles?) -- deodorant, disposable razors -- all locked away in their own little sections. And then, I get to get in line behind the people who just took me on their shopping trip so I can wait to pay for my one little item now being held hostage at the register.
If they're going to lock everything away, they'd better hire more people to meet us at the door to act as personal shoppers.
Earlier today, I ventured into Office Max. I needed a black ink cartridge for my printer. All of the ink cartridges are behind the Customer Service Counter. Only there's nobody working at the Customer Service Counter. Eventually, I get some guy's attention. He comes to the counter and finds the right ink cartridge for my printer. Then, he walks across the store and hands it to one of the cashiers. (God-forbid he should be able to just ring me up at the Customer Service Counter.)
So, I go over and get in line at that particular cashier. There's only one customer in front of me, so that ought to be O.K., right? No. First of all, she's got a basket full of a zillion little items. And the cashier can't just ring it up as "6 of item X" and "12 of item Y". No, he's got to scan every friggin' one of them. And when the scanner doesn't work on one item, he doesn't just scan an identical item a second time...he keeps running the defective bar code over the reader over and over and over and over again...until it accepts it. While I'm waiting for this, I'm watching customers breeze through at the other open register. And, just when I think I'm about to have the opportunity to pay for my ink and get the hell out of there, the cashier invites the woman in front of me to sign up for Office Max's savings card. So, I wait some more, while customers behind me move to the next register and leave before I do!
I officially despise any store that makes me wait for anything as a prelude to waiting in line to pay for my stuff.
P.S. A note to my fellow shoppers. If you get up to the cashier and realize you forgot to get "one thing", I can deal with that. Go ahead and trot back for it. We're all human. If, however, you forgot to get more than "one thing", you're officially "still shopping". You're now annoying the crap out of all of us.