If you live in Pittsburgh, then you are likely familiar with Giant Eagle and their relatively new "self service" checkouts, where you get the pleasure and stress of scanning and bagging your own products. If you don't live in Pittsburgh, you're probably still familiar with the concept.
Normally, if I witness someone in front of me struggling to figure out the self service kiosk, I will pretend to scan the latest copy of People searching for news of Brangelina's latest offspring. However today I felt it necessary to butt in.
The lady in front of me was attempting to purchase lettuce. She had three types of lettuce with her. Surprise surprise, each was green, leafy, and looked relatively the same as the others. She was completely befuddled by the "produce" option in front of her, where she had to rummage through pictures upon pictures of fruits and vegetables until she found the correct species of lettuce she was looking for. Red leaf? Romaine? Bib? Boston? Iceberg? Who could tell? After a good two or three minutes of struggling, I leaned forward to share a little secret, which I am now sharing with the rest of the world.
In most stores, every item of produce comes with a 4-digit number on the bag, the rubber band, or on a sticker. On the self-service kiosk there's a big button that says, "use keypad". Press it. Then enter the code for your lettuce and press enter. The system will recognize the code, weigh your produce or ask you for a quantity, and tell you to move on. There, you just shaved two minutes off my day. Now get out of my way before my Benn & Jerry's melts.