Enough with the Self Checkouts! My Two Cents

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?

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

Sunday Book Review – Vegas and the Mob – Forty Years of Frenzy

My Sunday Book Review for Vegas and the Mob – 40 Years of Frenzy. This book may not be on everyone’s reading list, but if you’re interested in factual information on the beginning of evolution of Sin City – Las Vegas when it was run by mobsters, you will enjoy this book. I’ve always had a deep fascination with mobster memoir, and this is a fascinating read about how much the mob controlled many things beyond Las Vegas. As the blurb states: “His Best Selling work, “Vegas and the Mob” started with nearly 600 pages of FBI documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Specific details and incidents were also verified by old-time gamblers and casinos owners from the era.”

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

Las Vegas was the Mob’s greatest venture and most spectacular success, and through 40 years of frenzy, murder, deceit, scams, and skimming, the FBI listened on phone taps and did virtually nothing to stop the fun. This is the truth about the Mob’s history of control of the casinos in Vegas like you’ve never heard it before, from start to finish. Las Vegas history has never been so fascinating!

“Vegas and the Mob” tells the story of how the Mob began in the 1920’s, how Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky became partners, and how Las Vegas fell to the Mob after two of the nation’s most powerful crime family bosses went to prison in the 1930’s: Al Capone, and Lucky Luciano. Frank Nitti took over the Chicago Outfit, while Frank Costello ran things for the Luciano Family. Both men were influenced by their bosses from prison, and both sent enough gangsters into the streets to influence loan sharking, extortion, union control, and drug sales.

Bugsy Siegel worked for both groups, handling a string of murders and opening up gaming on the west coast, and that included Las Vegas, an oasis of sin in the middle of the desert – and it was legal. Most of it. The FBI watched as the Mob took control of casino after casino, killed off the competition, and stole enough money to bribe their way to respectability back home.

By the 1950’s, nearly every major crime family had a stake in a Las Vegas casino. Some did better than others. Casino owners watched over their profits while competing crime families eyed each other’s success like jealous lovers. Murder often followed.

But that’s not the end of the story! The FBI finally started cracking down on the Mob and casino skim in the 1960’s, and even with car bombings, murder and arson, it was twenty more years before the government was able to say the Mob was out – in the 1980’s. This book tells the whole story!

 

My 5 Star Review:

Like the last line of the blurb states “This book tells the whole story!” And it surely does chronicle all the players, who they were, and what they did to each other to maintain status and territory. As a nonfiction writer and reader, I gravitate to true event stories and their history, and this book does a great job of covering the span of mob corruption from the 1920s to the creation of Las Vegas. The author has done a great job with bringing in so many characters in one book with great character analysis without overwhelming the reader with character confusion. Some may even find humor in some the nicknames earned for the criminals.

Mobsters galore, territorial warfare, and Las Vegas – the perfect spot to siphon and launder money, this book tells all. Even some of the players weren’t exempt from punishment if they became a little to mouthy or complained. It would take nothing for a Pit Boss to signal a bartender to make a ‘special drink’ for such players. No law required those days in the casinos. Mob ruled.

The construction of Las Vegas was a desert allure built to entice players from around the globe with each casino trying to outdo or out-theme the next with Hollywood entertainment, nice accommodations and plenty of freebies to entice. This book will take you to the beginnings of the gambling mecca from the dirt floored downtown casinos to the construction and millions of dollars injected into the casino empires, which changed ownership frequently as every new crime group bought up interest, or for some, outright took over.

Learn about how Bugsy Seigel took advantage of Billy Wilkerson’s bad gambling habit and started the famed Flamingo hotel, which turned out to be the beginning of one of the biggest money-making skimming scheme in America with no oversight as the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover ‘looked away’ and let it continue because of the goods the mob had on him. So many ‘hands in the pots’ had all finally come down to law and order by the 1970s with a ‘legal’ gaming commission.

This book is a treasure trove of information for all mobster buffs and those curious like me who can’t get enough of this sensational era.

©DGKaye

 

Savvy Online Shopping – What to Watch Out For – Just Sayin’

Today I’m back with some of my online shopping and shipping tips. It seem’s every so often there seems to be a kerfuffle when I place an online order. And because it seems I do a lot of online ordering, there’s bound to be mix-ups or snafus every once in awhile. I will add that thankfully, I’m not yet at the stage in life where I must have my groceries delivered, as I much prefer to choose my own produce and make sure I’m not getting any dented cans or ‘almost ready to expire’ products. My latest snag prompted me to write this post so I can share a few handy tips on what to look out for when placing an online order.

 

So what prompted this little informative rant? I was recently  on a hunt for my favorite lipstick, which I sadly discovered is soon being discontinued – once again, as many of my favs have disappeared through the years in Sephora. My first go to site was our big pharma site with a host of beauty products they sell online but not in all their stores as there are a multitude of product lines and only so many a store can carry. I prefer to check out sites in Canada first, as if I have to order from the U.S. I get hit with a multitude of duties on top of outside Canada shipping. When I get that desperate (as I have with other products gone astray), only then will I order from Ulta in the U.S. who, like Sephora, carry all cosmetic lines.

My recent order through Shopper’s Drug Mart required a minimum of $50 spent to get free shipping. As I have currently stockpiled 5 of these lipsticks, I thought I’d order a few more for my collection and of course the order came to $49 and change – pennies short of free shipping, so I decided to add in a bronzing cream I love because my current one is almost empty, but could have waited a month or so for. So my order now was well over $50. A few days after I placed my order I received an email confirmation, “Your order has shipped”, only at the bottom of the email, there was a notice saying – sorry the lipsticks are out of stock. The email had a new total being charged to my card – now well under $50, but they had taken the liberty now to charge me an additional $8 for shipping! No way was I paying shipping on that order!

Here’s the deal online companies, if items are out of stock which weren’t out of stock when I ordered, I think I deserve the courtesy of knowing before hand in a separate email, offering me a chance to add to the order or cancel. But they took the liberty of sending the bronzer cream without the rest of my order and slapping a shipping charge on. I promptly called their customer service number and told them exactly what I wrote here. ‘Please don’t take the liberty to ship half an original order without my consent and adding your shipping charge because YOU couldn’t fulfill the order.’ Yes, it was a bit time consuming, but I don’t appreciate companies taking my money without my consent. And of course, they reversed the shipping charge.

When online shopping, it’s important to check our emailed receipts to make sure we haven’t been wrongly charged, and correct sizes and items are listed to make sure  receive exactly what we ordered – even with that, sometimes wrong things are sent in error, but checking receipts and Visa statements are a first line defense.

I do usually order online from my specific favorite companies and am pretty familiar with their shipping practices. But when I order from an unfamiliar site, the first thing I do before ordering is click on their shipping policies to learn what I’m up against.

 

What to Look at When Ordering Online

First, if you’re unfamiliar with shopping on a certain site, I recommend Googling them up to check out reviews and recommends for that site, which will undoubtedly give you an idea of their customer service, should you require contacting them. I’ve come across a few popular sites over time that majority of complaints from customers was the terrible customer service and policies when it came to returns. That’s enough info for me to send me looking somewhere else to do my business. We should also check for reviews on a product we’re interested in ordering, on the actual site. Reading product reviews gives us a better idea of the product once someone has actually received theirs. Now, this isn’t to say that all reviews are helpful, as many of us readers know, not all book reviews are useful and sometimes irrelevant to a book.

Reviews are supposed to be helpful for others to aid in helping us make our decision to purchase. Sure, it’s okay to state how much you may love a product, but not adding any descriptions, such as sizing issues if it’s a garment or shoe, actual size of a product compared to what’s advertised, shipping issues, etc., isn’t helpful.

Below, I’ve done a little comparison of what to include in a good product review as opposed to what isn’t helpful:

 

Helpful:

  • Size comparisons, such as: “I’m usually a size 6 or small, and I needed to size up in this.”
  • This shoe fit too tight – size up.
  • This blender died after 2 months use – if I see a few of these comments, I’m on to a different brand.
  • The color of the product isn’t the same as what’s displayed on product page.
  • Book reviews that give some insight to fellow readers what the book is about, how they related to plot or characters, pacing, something the reader took from the book, and how the book left them feeling.

 

Not Helpful:

  • I love it!
  • So beautiful, glad I ordered it.
  • Wished I ordered in more colors.
  • Book reviews with no substance and nothing to entice a fellow reader.

 

Just Sayin'

 

 

I know as an online shopper, I rely a lot on other people’s reviews before I venture into making a purchase. Good reviews help others make an informed decision. Yes, it’s okay to share the love for a product we’re happy about, but without adding useful information, a review will serve no purpose other than to high-five the seller.

 

Remember this checklist before making your online purchase:

  • Check reviews on the site you’re ordering from.
  • Check shipping policies and ‘additional’ charges – especially if you are going to order from out of your country.
  • Check reviews under products you’re interested in purchasing, and read both negative and positive comments to help aid your purchase decisions.
  • Check Customer Service and ‘Contact Us’ on the site to make sure their return policy is fair and doesn’t require you to take a hit as penalty for returns, and that there is a contact phone number.
  • MAKE sure when placing an order on a site that isn’t from your country that you click on the right currency for your country, because if you will be paying in foreign dollars, you are looking at an exchange rate plus an additional bank charge on your credit card for the conversion. This will help you decide if paying the additional exchange plus shipping and duties are really worth purchasing the item.
  • Lastly, if you get surprisingly dinged for a shipping charge unjustly added, make sure to contact the company to have the charge removed.

 

Remember: It’s important to always check your receipts, emails, and credit card statements to make sure you haven’t been wrongly charged.

If you would like to add a situation you may have encountered that could help others, please feel free to add to the conversation in comments.

 

Copyright
© D.G. Kaye and DGKayewriter.com, 2014 – 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye

 

 

People Not Doing Their Jobs – Pitfalls of Ordering Online

Yup, this is going to be a rant. When I’ve had my fill of incompetence, I’m going step up here on my soapbox and call out those who just don’t give a shit about their jobs.

We only have one department store left in Canada – The Hudson’s Bay, and I need more than two hands to count on how many errors and run-ins I’ve had with them. And my latest encounter was a double whammy once Purolator got involved.

 

Because I pretty much live attached to my computer, I don’t get out often, so I rely a lot on delivery service. It’s not difficult to see that artificial intelligence is taking over in so many ways, but AI isn’t human and when glitches and errors occur, it’s usually the customer who gets caught up in the time-consuming crossroads of trying to figure out where their orders are. And this isn’t my first rodeo with such issues with both companies.

I frequently order from The Bay, and every so often, when orders get screwed up, it’s because of misinformation, and quite frankly – laziness. On a good day, my order is normally delivered the next day or two days max. But this time I ordered some items, now two weeks ago, which I’ve yet to receive! I began checking on my order Aug 27th when I hadn’t received any notification of the progress of my package. But all it said beside my order was ‘in process’. I let it ride for the rest of the week being a long weekend coming, and expected my package at least by the day after Labor Day – to no avail.

I called up The Bay, got put on hold twenty minutes, only to get my call picked up by an incompetent person who I could barely understand, and was told, they would look into the order, send an email to head office and get back to me. I hung up the phone on her, dialed the number again, placed the phone down for almost another half hour until someone picked up, and then chewed off their ear.

After laying into the agent for their incompetence, he apologized saying that ‘someone’ must have forgot to put the order through. Are you kidding me? I told him, the items are now further reduced on sale, so here’s an idea – CANCEL THE ORDER and redo it now at the lower price. And he did. Then he proceeded to tell me I’ll have it by next week. I retorted with ‘I’m not waiting another week’ because of their screw-up. He then did whatever he did on his computer and informed me, I’d have it by Friday Sept. 5th. I usually get an email telling me my package is on its way stating my package will be delivered by the end of the day from Canada Post. But no notifications came.

On Friday, I went down to my mailbox and found no package. On a hunch, I walked into the lobby of my building and noticed a Purolator notice taped to the door flapping around. Yup, it had my name on it, stating, ‘line was busy’, leaving a pick-up address at about ten miles from where I live. I blew a gasket.

I called Purolator and pitied whomever was going to take my call.

After placing me on hold for another half an hour, I finally got to chew someone out. First, I informed the woman on the other end that NOBODY buzzed up, and NOBODY who lives in the complex hardly ever goes through the lobby, as tenants come in from the underground parking. I proceeded to inform her about the numerous Purolator tags floating around in the lobby as an ongoing event because they’re too damned lazy to deliver a package. They are notoriously the worst for deliveries. The lobby door had even been kept open for several days because of some ongoing repairs. I asked her how the hell are people supposed to know they have a package when they aren’t notified by any means other than a sticky note left randomly in the lobby entrance. She replied that’s their protocol. I replied that they are the worst delivery system next to UPS, and asked her to re-deliver that package and have them bring it up to my door and if I don’t answer to leave it there. She put me on hold another few minutes to inquire on her end if they’re allowed to do that. I told her to just do it!

I’m so sick and tired of incompetence by big corporations hiring incompetent people for jobs, most likely not being paid enough to give a shit about their jobs, and certainly not enough people in these jobs. And I’m sick of having to do the leg work to follow up on missing deliveries due to their incompetence. We are at their mercy because nothing ever changes.

I remember an old saying ‘the customer comes first’, but that is an old saying for sure because it no longer applies. I even asked the Purolator rep if she has any idea how many packages are left unclaimed because of their poor delivery procedures. Of course, she had no idea.

Companies have no qualms sending us a bombardment of emails asking us to complete surveys asking us to tell them how they’re doing, please write a review for your new product etc. and bla bla bla. But when you need to get hold of them for support, good luck! So please, stop invading my inbox with your fake goodwill and do your damned jobs!

And this just in as I get ready to schedule this post. . .it’s now Monday night and still no delivery. Fuming at full steam I called them again.This time I waited 55 minutes for an agent, only to find my parcel was still sitting in some dumpy warehouse because NOBODY BOTHERED SENDING THROUGH THE MESSAGE from last Friday that the lying agent told me was sent. I finally got through to an agent, and as I write this, I’ve now been on hold a total of TWO AND A HALF HOURS!!!! “So sorry Debby, but I now have to wait for a supervisor to send the email to the warehouse to release the box.” Many swear words were expelled from my mouth. I HAVE NO FRIGGIN’ WORDS LEFT!!!!!!!!!

 

incompetent

 

Thanks for listening. I feel so much better now. 🙂

Anyone here have an incompetence beef you’d like to share here? Please be my guest.

 

Copyright
© D.G. Kaye and DGKayewriter.com, 2014 – 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye