Sunday, November 21, 2010

Self Serve Checkouts

I noticed that many stores are installing these self serve checkouts now. The purpose is for us to checkout ourselves so they can pay less employees and make more profits. Machines replacing people. I have a problem with these machines for a few reasons, and I am not going to use them. Here’s why:

First of all, I like the cashiers I have met and chatted with over the years. They are wonderful people trying to eek out a meager living and support their families. They are nice, friendly and sometimes very helpful when they point out that the larger package of something you just bought is on sale for less than the smaller one in your cart. These are the faces that I associate with my shopping experience and I have my favorites too. Why would I use a machine that is going to eventually replace these wonderful people? I will not. Besides that, are the people who run these supermarket corporations so obsessed with profits that they don’t realize that these men and women are actually why some customers stay loyal to the store even when they are fed up with many of the store’s problems. They are responsible for humanizing the shopping experience.

Secondly, there always has to be a person to help you use the self serve checkout machines. I won’t use them even if there is an employee to help me. There are many glitches with these machines, they aren’t perfected, they make mistakes and waste our time. It is far more aggravating and time consuming to use these machines. Is that what the corporations are trying to achieve? I thought customer satisfaction was the number one goal, or is that just lip service?

Thirdly, it’s supposed to be faster and more efficient. Well it’s not. They don’t scan items properly and you almost always have to get help. They can be confusing to operate which takes more time and slows down the process.

Finally, if we are going to do all the work, shouldn’t we at least get a discount? I’d say 5 to 10% of our bill should be subtracted from our bill at the end for the extra burden placed on the consumer. Shopping is not something that most people look forward to as it is. Why make it worse? Even with a discount, I would not resort to using these machines. To me it’s not worth knowing that in the end it’s going to mean someone’s job and frankly I value my time and want the process to be faster and less complicated, not the other way around.

I think we should all refuse to use these self serve checkouts. I like having that personal, human touch to my shopping experience; the kind that starts with a friendly hello and ends with have a nice day!

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