Why this progress is really holding us back

I’m going to share something with you that’s been bouncing around in my brain like a ping-pong ball in an empty fish-bowl for several years.

It was never more than a germ of an idea, but after several recent experiences in supermarkets, I had an “Eureka!” moment that helped to clear the fog from my mind and led me to the depressing conclusion that in the 21st Century, the biggest cause of delays, frustrations, stress, fractiousness, headaches, high blood pressure…and people tearing out chunks of their own hair is…progress!

Yes, progress is actually holding us back.

This Epiphany occurred while I was stood at a self-service till in a well-known supermarket.

I’d had enough trouble with these tills before to know they can be very temperamental and that each till is of the opinion that everyone who uses it is a potential idiot and enjoys being proved right – nine times out of 10.

I placed my carrier bag in the bagging area – the begging area being outside the building, conveniently next to the cash machine.

I scanned the first item…a two-litre carton of milk…and the machine barked an order at me so sharply, I dropped it.

I scanned the milk again and this time was told off for doing something else stupid. I still had half-a dozen items yet to scan, so I called over one of the female ‘trouble shooters’ who help people having problems with self-service tills.

She quickly showed me what I was doing wrong, but isn’t the fact that supermarkets employ staff to assist self-service customers rather self-defeating?

And so it was proven, as each and every item I tried to scan caused a problem and each and every time I had to call the lady over to help me.

While I was struggling with my handful of items, I was infuriated to see shoppers who’d been queuing at check-outs with trolleys stacked high with goods, sailing past me and heading for the car park.

As she patiently scanned my last item, the lady admitted they’d had problems with the tills for months, but replacements were on the way.

That cheered me up, until I asked her when this was happening and she said “Next year!”

So, here’s my idea. Every supermarket should scrap self-service tills and open more check-outs ‘manned’ by the ladies previously employed as ‘trouble shooters’.

Now that would be real progress!