Thursday, June 2, 2011


Several months ago our library switched over to check out your own books. How great is this, I thought. At first, the librarians and their helpers taught you how to place all of the books you want to check out on a large, black space on the counter. You then place your library card bar code under a light which will read your card number. Then on a screen it will automatically list all of the book's titles and author's names and some other information. When the screen turns all of the books in a green color, you press "check out" and it automatically spits out a paper which is on a roll with all of the books and when they're due. It's fast, easy and I can be in and out of the library in a matter of seconds.

Sometimes I'll order my books on-line from other libraries in the library system and they send me an e-mail when it has arrived in my library. They also send me an e-mail a couple days before I have a book or books that will become due. How great are all of these improvements? Really great!

I don't miss waiting in line. I don't miss all of the banter of people standing in line before me with kids screaming and always moving around, bumping into you or running back and forth in and out of line.

There appears to be a glitch in this system, however. I just checked my library account pertaining to a book I have and in my account it says I didn't return a magazine and I owe $1.00 in late fees so far. I know I definitely did return the magazine because I returned it with the other magazines I checked out and returned together. The people at the library are really good at forgiving you on these matters realizing the computer had a hiccup that day or when you bring back the item, usually I dump my returned books through a slot in their wall, the person who puts the books back in circulation fails to check it as returned.

Now, wouldn't it be great if the supermarkets would devise a way of checking out? Well they have...kind a.

The supermarkets here have several check out your own grocery machines where you are the checker and you scan each item and it scans your items and then tells you to place it in a bag. Sometimes, however, if you place your item in a bag before it tells you to, you're in big trouble and you usually have to call someone for help, because it will tell you to remove your item from the bagging area and keeps telling you that even though you've removed the item from the bagging area. A very touchy and troublesome event that happens... a lot.

Also, if you have fruits or vegetables where you need to find a code, it can sometimes be frustrating. Like green beans. I looked up string beans, I looked up beans, green beans and still nothing came up.

They have a person manning a desk just in case you have problems with check out items. Sometimes the machines are so touchy the girl has to try a few times before the machine will get back to where it's supposed to be so you can continue on. Sometimes she will have to scan a special card with a bar code on it which is attached to a piece of ribbon which she wears like a necklace. They have slots to take cash, give you exact change back and you can pay in a dozen different ways.

Since these machines can save you time, I've noticed they've cut back in checkers that would normally check you out. So you're stuck, either waiting in line for a machine to check yourself out or wait in a line where the checkers will do it for you. This doesn't happen all the time, but I've noticed it seems to happen on the weekends or a weekend holiday.

These machines aren't down to an exact science yet and they do save a lot of time when things are working the way they should, which is most of the time, but the times when things are out of whack, it really is frustrating for me. I guess I'm getting too impatient lately because if they put new technology out there, they should have it down to a science...or not?

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