Today I’m talking about my aversion to self-checkout registers in stores. I hate them!
What spurred this post was a meme I’d seen on social media where people are up in arms in the comment section about having to self checkout at Walmart with cart loads of stuff, some leaving their carts and walking out. Below, find a few samplings:
“I refuse to self check out. It puts people out of work and contributes nothing to the social security tax base or income tax. It’s Walmart’s way of not paying wages. Plus most folks are part time so Walmart doesn’t have to pay benefits.”
“When I’m in line waiting to pay for my groceries, and the nice assistant manager tells me there’s an opening at the self checkout, I look at them and say, “I’m sorry. I don’t work here.”
“I think we should get a “ I cashiered myself discount “ since they aren’t paying anyone to ring us up”
“Hire the cashiers back!”
I can definitely relate and not a big fan of self-checkout for various reasons besides the complaints noted above. Grocery shopping has never been one of my favorite shopping past times. I go with my list, gather my goods and go to checkout. I’m used to bagging my own things in some supermarkets, but, ringing items through on a self-checkout doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting out faster.
I’ll take my local pharmacy, Shopper’s Drug Mart, as an example here. I’ve developed a habit of going there only on Thursdays. Thursdays are Senior Days. Ya, ya, I’d hardly consider myself a senior, but I’ve been getting that discount for years.
It began about eight years ago at the Shopper’s near where me and my husband lived for years. I’d pick up his prescriptions and do a shop. I asked one of the pharmacy girls if I could get the discount since my husband was a senior. She told me she’d certainly ring up my things with a 20% discount. That was it! Since that time, any other Shopper’s I’d spend money at on a Thursday, I’d ask for the senior’s discount and got it. At the time, I was further away from being a senior and was puzzled that I wasn’t asked for identification. I asked the clerk if she needed proof. I was told then that clerks weren’t allowed to ask for I.D. for this discount and that if we claimed we’re seniors we’d just get the discount. That worked out well through the years. . . until the self-checkout machines came around.
As you can imagine, Thursdays are the busiest days at Shopper’s. The one closest to me is a nightmare to checkout from on Thursdays. With usually only one cashier on (these days) and three self-checkout machines, prepare to spend longer in line. We have Shopper’s points cards where we earn extra points for items we purchase. The cards get scanned at checkout, but Shopper’s has yet to come up with a cure for the missing access to the ‘senior discount’ selection at self-checkout. What currently happens is the ONE cashier on duty has to leave the line of waiting paying customers to go over to the robots and swipe a ‘special’ employee card into the machine to take off the extra 20% for those who braved the robots. So we are in fact waiting on one cashier line and sharing that cashier with all the lost self-checkout customers who can’t get their discounts at the machines. Not to mention, most of the elderly seniors don’t have any concept of digital payment. Sometimes I question if the 20% off is worth my time.
This self-checkout business is a nightmare for many. I detest it more in grocery stores. How many times have you been self-checking out and an item doesn’t scan? Yes, we are at the mercy of computerized everything. And no, they aren’t foolproof. When we checkout with an actual cashier, it’s their business to call a stock person and go check the price of the item if it doesn’t scan. At a self-checkout scanning machine, it’s enough to make me leave the whole lot of stuff and walk out. This isn’t my job. I’m wanting to pay for goods and the robot I’m at isn’t complying and there’s no help. Yes, I am going to leave if there is no help around.
Now, I know that some stores have ‘helpers’ around to help serve shoppers when glitches occur, but that’s not always the case, especially since I’ve noticed less people working in these stores. It isn’t a secret that North America is recognizing a shortage of employees for many businesses. With the advent of Covid and people working from home or leaving their non-essential jobs, which are in fact, very essential to the average citizen, I’ve noticed plenty of closed checkout aisles in many a store.
I’m not sure if all those people ranting over the situation at Walmart aren’t justified in their thinking, but I do feel the same way as many of those commenters. Greed has taken over everywhere with price gauging, giving less and taking more from us from service to pricing, but, I do know it sure would be nice to see people working in stores instead of these damned robots!
What’s your take on self-checkout?