Idiot of the Week: I Can Do Anything You Can Do Better

I am no stranger to the saying, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” Just look at the title of this site; of course I think I can do everything better myself! Group projects? Pass! Screw you guys, I’d rather do the whole thing alone. Subway sandwiches? Move over, I’ll show you how to make a sandwich. (I mean, yes, I did ask for onions but did you honestly think I wanted two handfuls? And nobody needs so much lettuce that their sandwich can’t close. And who puts the mayo on last? You are supposed to spread it on the bread! I don’t want to take a bite of sandwich and have it just be lettuce and mayo!)

yumBut people forget that this adage has its limits, and few seem aware of the contrary and less popular saying, “If you want to fuck something up royally, by all means, do it yourself.” Like cutting your own bangs – even though it seems like you would just cut across in a straight line…you can’t. Or tailoring your own clothes. Or anything involving car maintenance. If you have some knowledge in these areas, then sure, maybe you can do it yourself. But if not…consider that there is a reason that people do this for a living, and that they may have honed a skill that you haven’t.

Even I will admit that not everyone is an idiot and that some people are better than me at doing their own job. One instance where this is true is at the grocery store. Ever since the introduction of the Self Check-Out, people have flocked to those kiosks to scan and bag their own items because they assume it will be faster. If it’s new and it’s technology, it must be better! And sometimes it is. When I have one or two items, and they both have a bar code, and there is no line for the Self Check-Out, I agree that it is just as fast for me to check out myself and enjoy the added bonus of not having to talk to anyone.

But beyond that, I’m sticking to my tried-and-true human check-out person. If I have a cart full of groceries to scan and bag, why would I want to do all that work when I could be standing there watching someone else do it at a much faster rate? These people bag groceries all day long. They already have the codes for avocados and Gala apples memorized. They sort cans away from eggs and bread without even thinking. If they double scan something they can just delete it and don’t have to clench their fists and teeth while an automated voice tells them there seems to be a problem and wait for the attendant to come help. There is no way I could be faster at checking out than this person.

So why is it that every time I want to go to the Self Check-Out to scan one freaking bag of tortilla chips so I can go home and enjoy my fresh guacamole, there is a line four people deep of idiots with a cart full of groceries? What are you people doing? Did you honestly think this would be faster? These kiosks were not designed for more than a handful of items. There isn’t even enough room at the kiosk to unload all your groceries, nor is there enough room to bag them. But if you remove one of your bags to make room for another, the machine freaks out and stops everything to accuse you of stealing. “Please do not remove items from the bag. No really, put that back, where do you think you are going with that jar of pickles? Did you think I wouldn’t notice? I am a machine, I know everything!”

How could this possibly be faster than someone flinging your items down a conveyor belt and bagging them like a human-octopus hybrid? I mean these people are fast. What makes you think you can waltz in there and magically do a better job than someone who does this 20-40 hours a week? Especially when you are in fact slow as shit. I am going to write a book called, The Audacity of Confidence, where I complain about people who have way more faith in themselves than they should. I’m sorry, but we aren’t all incredibly talented and competent. Ask Darwin. These delusional slowpokes need to face facts and just get out of the way so those of us with three items or less can get in, get out, and get on with our lives…or guacamole…whatever!

What do you think – are your local cashiers competent enough to earn your trust or do you feel better off alone? Take the poll!