The Offbeat: Do It Yourself… Later On, by Jim Bohannon

I GUESS I MADE MY LAST VISIT TO WALMART THIS MORNING.  I WALKED IN AND SAW WHAT I’VE SEEN A NUMBER OF PLACES BEFORE, AND IT DID NOT PLEASE ME.  THERE WERE SEVERAL NEW…CHECK OUT YOUR GROCERIES YOURSELF..LOCATIONS…REPLACING FULL SERVICE LANES…AND NATURALLY…THE CHECK OUT YOURSELF SPOTS WERE ALMOST EMPTY, WHILE CHECKOUT FULL-SERVICE STYLE TOOK 20 MINUTES FOR ME.  I KNOW THE GAME THEY’RE PLAYING.  SOME..WET-BEHIND-THE-EARS GEN-X PUNK WITH A SHINY NEW MBA HAS FIGURED OUT HOW WALMART WILL PICK UP SEVERAL FRACTIONS OF A PENNY ON THEIR QUARTERLY DIVIDEND…BY FIRING A BUNCH OF CLERKS AND MAKING THE REST OF US DO THEIR JOBS.  SINCE I MISSED ALL OF THAT DURING EMPLOYEE ORIENTATION, I DECIDED TO GO WHERE I CAN STILL BE TREATED AS A CUSTOMER…AND FORTUNATELY…I STILL HAVE SEVERAL CHOICES IN THAT REGARD.  MIND YOU, I’M UNDER NO ILLUSIONS ON THIS SCORE.  THOSE OTHER OPTIONS WILL GRADUALLY DRY UP, AND HOPING I CAN STAVE THAT OFF BY SHOPPING ELSEWHERE…IS AKIN TO STOPPING THE ONCOMING TIDE WITH A TEASPOON.  BUT, AS LONG AS I HAVE THE OPTION, I’LL DO SO.  I DO HAVE TO WONDER IF THE CORPORATE GAME IS STILL BEING PLAYED BY THE SAME RULES:  YOU KNOW…MAXIMIZE PROFITS?    BECAUSE I KNOW A LOT OF FOLKS WHO’LL GLADLY PAY OUR PRO-RATED SHARE OF THOSE DIRT CHEAP CLERK SALARIES..FOR THE RIGHT TO BE TREATED LIKE A CUSTOMER.  AND ANY RETAILER COULD MAKE A FORTUNE WITH THE FOLLOWING ADVERTISING:  COME TO JONES GROCERY…WHERE REAL LIVE CLERKS CHECK YOU OUT!  AND IF YOU CALL OUR STORE, A LIVE OPERATOR WILL HANDLE YOUR QUESTIONS, WITH NO MADDENING VOICE-MAIL MAZE TO NAVIGATE!  ARE THE CLOWNS WHO PRETEND TO BE AMERICA’S CORPORATE LEADERSHIP REALLY SO BRAIN-DEAD, VACUUM-HEADED STUPID THAT THEY HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO FIGURE THIS OUT?  APPARENTLY.  AND AGAIN, I KNOW WHY:  MOST OF THE REBELLION..WILL COME FROM BABY BOOMERS AND OLDER.  THE MILLENIELS, GEN-EXERS AND GEN-Y-ERS HAVE BEEN PROGRAMMED FROM BIRTH THAT…IF IT’S DIGITAL…IT’S WONDERFUL.  BEFORE LONG, AT THE AIRPORT, THESE READILY-PROGRAMMED SHEEP WILL CHECK THEMSELVES ONTO THE PLANE…AND THEN CARRY THEIR OWN LUGGAGE OUT TO THE TARMAC.  THE OFF BEAT.  I’M JIM BOHANNON.