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Adventures in the Grocery Store - A Real Estate Allegory


For me, there has always been something comforting about the grocery store.  Maybe it's because my first paying job was as a sacker in the Minyard's store in Waxahachie, Texas.  Maybe it's because my grandfather worked for H-E-B Grocery for 38 years until he retired in the early 1970's, not long after I was born.  Whatever the case, I like grocery shopping, unless of course it is with three cranky children in tow. 

Today after church, we needed a handful of items from the store, so I decided to go in and grab them while Pam waited with the kids. 

Two gallons of 1% milk - check.  Rotisserie chicken for my mother-in-law - check.  Blue Bell Ultimate Neopolitan ice cream which will swiftly defeat the purpose of buying 1% milk - check.  Ready to check out.

Here in Austin, almost every big store has gone to a "self checkout" system these days.  I would imagine that this is the case elsewhere, but perhaps I am wrong.  I have noticed this at every grocery store and recently I saw it at Home Depot as well.

They typically limit the self checkout area to 10 or 20 items.

Today, I was happy to use this method, since I only had four items, all of which were clearly marked with UPC codes.  I haven't tried it yet with produce, since there is a complicated-looking book of codes for that.


All four of the registers were being used, and there were only two people waiting.  This will be fast, I thought.  Wrong.

One lady had ONLY fresh vegetables and fruit (see reference to book of codes above), then she proceeded to pay with one dollar bills and coins from a small change purse that she produced.


Another lady made all of us silently roll our eyes, and even caused me to remark, "I guess they don't require an IQ test for this, huh?" to the woman in front of me, who was clearly peeved.  Yes, I really said it.  No, I am not really proud of it, but I was ticked.  Frankly, it wasn't that far off the mark.

Each time this lady scanned an item, she was instructed in a loud computerized voice to "Please place the item in the bag on the carousel."  She did, then she picked it up and put it in her basket.  The system is weight-based.  This means that it is waiting for you to place something on the carousel that weighs the same as the product you just scanned.  It might not be obvious THE FIRST TIME. 



However, this particular woman was instructed at least three times by three different people about how to operate the machine!  Two employees came over, then a well-meaning fellow consumer tried to help.  She would not be dissuaded from her erroneous ways.  She was convinced that her way was correct, although EVERYONE could see that it was simply not the case.  She had about 10-15 items total.  However, I think I was probably not only out of the store before her, but home safely with my family before she defeated the infernal machine.  Clearly, the complexities were beyond her experience and/or abilities.



So, what is my point here?  Sometimes it is simply best to let the professionals handle things.  Buying groceries is not nearly as challenging or complex as selling a home, especially in today's real estate climate. 


This woman reminded me of so many "for sale by owners" that I have seen over the years, who are absolutely determined that their rules are correct, despite all of the indications to the contrary.  It doesn't matter how many agents and/or neighbors try to help them with sound advice.  Their way is going to work eventually.  To an extent, this is true, but how much time is it worth?  In the case of selling a home, it is not simply time, but money that could be lost.  Call someone who does this every day, rather than going it alone.

My comment about the IQ test was harsh, to be sure, but I feel even more strongly about FSBOs who are utterly misguided/deluded with regard to pricing.  Market value is not arbitrary, nor is it determined by what someone feels their home "must" be worth.

If you are looking to sell your home, I would love the opportunity to assist you with your sale. 

I have been selling homes in the general Austin area for over 11 years now, and I have developed a reputation among my peers and past clients as an honest broker/agent.  There are certainly others who have sold more homes than I have, but you would be hard-pressed to find an agent with more integrity than me.  I would rather talk you out of an offer on your home than to assist you in making a bad decision.

Call me anytime at 512-796-7653 or email  I look forward to hearing from you soon!  My Austin real estate website is

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