ORLANDO – ESPN college football analyst Lou Holtz had a distressing morning Thursday, when he found himself repeatedly stymied by a self-checkout machine at a local Publix grocery store.
Carrying a basket full of turnips, Pepsodent, and frozen crab cakes, the 75-year-old endeavored to avoid the long lines at the employee-manned cash registers by embarking on his first ever self-checkout experience.
“What’s this, some sort of automated cashier?” muttered Holtz. “I suppose I could give it a try.”
Putting on his reading glasses to help him see the on-screen instructions, Holtz was immediately baffled by the first prompt, which asked him to select either English or Spanish as his preferred language for the transaction.
“Why, English, of course,” said Holtz, unaware that the machine operated via touchscreen. “English, English, English!”
After he shouted at the machine for several minutes, trying out various commands like “TRANSACTION COMMENCE” and “I WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE MY GROCERIES,” a passing employee explained to him the touchscreen functionality, allowing him to move forward with his purchase.
With a stroke of luck, Holtz was then somehow able to successfully scan the Pepsodent and crab cakes—albeit with painstaking slowness—but ringing up the turnips proved to be far beyond his realm of comprehension.
Unable to locate a barcode, Holtz futilely slid them over the scanner again and again, hoping that the machine would somehow register their cost. A customer at a neighboring self-checkout machine explained to Holtz that he needed to locate the turnips on the produce menu so that they could be weighed, but this only further confused the retired coach, as he accidentally pecked his way into the coupon code entry page, where he for some reason began typing his Social Security number.
After several more minutes of random poking on the touchscreen, Holtz accidentally quadrupled the quantity of his purchase, bringing his total past $80. Flustered and defeated, he folded a hundred-dollar bill into thirds and attempted to jam it into the machine’s coin slot, and then he quickly scuttled away with his groceries, stuffing the turnips into his trousers out of fear that they might trigger some sort of alarm.
Having surveyed the botched transaction on store cameras, a security associate confronted Holtz in the parking lot and questioned him about his purchase. Mortified, Holtz began uncontrollably urinating in his pants, causing the security employee to take pity and let him leave with only a warning.
Holtz then quickly pulled out of the grocery store parking lot, but shortly thereafter he rear-ended a car waiting at a red light.