I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Self-checkout hell - not for everybody

As someone who works in retail I get to see a lot of customers, some are happy and some are not, some have valid complaints and others are trying to rook the system for as much as they can get out of it.  Because I have cashier training I get to work the register now and then, and also self-checkout.  The latter is far more enlightening when it comes to observing customers.  There are those who have absolutely no problem going through the self-checkout lanes, others skirt around them as if they were radioactive.  I, personally, prefer them over cashiers who always seem to be a little too slow, even though they're moving at a brisk pace.  I don't need time to connect with the person who's going to be taking my money because, well, they're taking my money.  If, now and then, a cashier might say "hey, everything you're buying today is free," I might change my mind, but that's never going to happen.

One of the excuses you hear from people who want to avoid self-checkout is "it's taking some body's job."  Sure, retailers could eliminate self-checkout and hire a lot more cashiers, but then prices would have to go up, and these same people would complain about that.  Payroll is the largest expense for any business, the more employees you hire the less money you make, this is a fact.  There is also a lot of down time for cashiers, not that they get to take breaks, they just have to wait for the next customer.  Nobody wants to pay an associate to stand around and bullshit, but it happens.  Remember, it's all about dollars, those you can bank and those you can't.

The demon self-checkout

In my opinion, most of those who complain about self-checkout do so because they're either unfamiliar or dis-like the technology (even those who piss and moan about the lost jobs).  You see this a lot when there is a line at the cashier, or there is some one going through line with a large order, and the customer has to either use the self-checkout or wait.  Believe me, there are a lot of people out there who really don't know what the hell they're doing.  Scanning a bar code is fairly simple, it's not brain surgery, yet I've seen people wave items, and shake items, zoom them past the scanner and right into the bag and... the item hasn't been scanned.  And then they stand there, and wait, and wait, even though nothings been scanned.  And then they call the attendant because there's something wrong with the scanner.  Or, they scan an item multiple times.  This is fairly common.  Then they complain, "this scanned it twice."  Last night I saw a woman scan a flashlight three times, and then she complained.  Of course it has to be the scanner's problem, the customer never does anything wrong. This, I think, is the main reason those who hate self-check out hate it.  If a cashier makes a mistake they can yell at the cashier, if they do it at self-checkout it's their fault, so they always opt for the cashier.  For these people self-checkout will always be hell and they will never get used to it.

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