February 16, 2011

Checking Out

Note to Self: When I'm in a cashier line at the grocery store and I'm feeling somewhat impatient and think I could probably get my stuff paid for and bagged and be on my way in less time if I went over and used the self-scanners, DON'T DO IT! These scanners are a total disaster. The process never goes smoothly.

Either an item won't scan, the machine stops because it thinks you have not put a scanned item in your bag, it stops because it thinks you have put an item in your bag without scanning it, or it simply decides to stop working for no apparent reason. It is completely maddening. (Just pay humans to do the work; everyone will be happier. Well, except the store owners, who are trying to get rid of as many employees as possible, to boost profits.)

Invariably, I get overheated and frustrated, especially when I realize that I would have been out of the store faster if I had simply stayed in the goddamn line in the first place. (Maybe I should bring a book with me.)

16 comments:

chief said...

Completely agree. Those machines are terrible. Clearly designed by committee.

Dr. Jeff said...

Why bring a book when you can read all of those fascinating magazines in line?

allan said...

They have the magazines somewhere else. ... Did you know Obama is addicted to pills? And some woman is pregnant? And I think Dick Clark is dying soon.

richard said...

I refuse to use these machines when I go to the city (they don't exist in our little town, thank God). I deal with enough machines through the day. I want to smile at the cashier and ask her how her day is going and if her kids are going skiing on the weekend.

Of course, I said the same thing about ATMs when they were first introduced. Sigh!

FenFan said...

Don't get me started with those self-check lines. I had two items one time and had to wait for what seemed like ten minutes while they confirmed the price of an item that has scanned incorrectly (in their favor, of course).

Correction: I had to wait along with my three young children... and it's a test of patience when a six-month-old wants to leave the store NOW!

laura k said...

Ah-ha! Alternative title to this post: I Was Right And You Should Always Listen To Me! :)

Don't use those things. They are designed solely for one purpose.

(Just pay humans to do the work; everyone will be happier. Well, except the store owners, who are trying to get rid of as many employees as possible, to boost profits.)

And that is the purpose: to put low-paid humans out of work.

MacLeodCartoons said...

I thought they were put there by the prison-industrial complex: the machines irritate you to the point where you are forced to act violently, you go to jail, the prison building complex gets richer. Simple, really. Have you ever tried to buy 'obscure' vegetables with them? Like turnips? Good Lord.

allan said...

the machines irritate you to the point where you are forced to act violently, you go to jail, the prison building complex gets richer

Actually, I thought it was the piped-in music that does that. Seriously, there must be a study done somewhere that shows listening to that shit increases the likelihood of committing homicide.

nick said...

laura k said...
[T]hat is the purpose: to put low-paid humans out of work.


I was really tempted to try one the first time I saw one (even knowing this) and my mom (who was visiting) stood firmly on no. I mean c'mon gadgetry--how can I not at least try it? And try it, I did...later.

I vote for humans (and especially humans having jobs).

richard said...

The irony, of course, is that it seems to take nearly as many people to oversee and trouble-shoot the blasted things as it took cashiers to do that job in the first place. Nearly.

laura k said...

I know that the history of human labour is a story of work once performed by humans, now performed by fewer humans using technology. I know there is no stopping this trend and I know there are certain advantages to it. (I do NOT miss typewriters. Or the quill pen. Etc.)

However... some work is just performed better by humans. And I wonder if you factored into the cost of these machines, and maintenance, and oversight (as Richard says), not to mention kickbacks, compared with the measly salaries of cashiers, if there is actually a savings - or if the costs have just been shifted, and now Diebold or somesuch pockets what used to feed the cashier's family.

tim said...

I agree, those machines are shit. Although I've sort of learned how to work them recently so they aren't that bad to me - especially when the cashier takes a minute to scan the rolodex for every 'obscure' piece of produce that I buy that doesn't have a sticker on it (i.e. avocados). Of course, most cashiers know their stuff but there are the odd ones that were just hired or whatever, and don't know their SKUs. Usually they have the longest lines though, so I usually pass by them anyway.

Machines are definitely taking over for cheaper 'labour' and it sucks. But I take full advantage of their "scanning code of practice" here in Ontario (if anything scans incorrectly, their way or yours, its free - or if its more than $10, you get the first $10 off) so I think I've broken even over the years.

As for the tunes in the supermarket, there's one store in Hamilton that I used to shop at (and still occasionally do) that plays great music! I dunno where they get the feed from, but there's always sweet Dead or Stones songs playing whenever I go in there. Not 'top 40' stuff, but actual good songs! So weird, and so great.

richard said...

RE: Muzak/Music

Our Overwaitea store here (yes, that's a real grocery store chain in BC) plays some classic rock station that actually plays classic rock. It's excellent.

Now if they really want to enhance the shopping experience they HAVE to introduce these - http://ow.ly/3XDMq

laura k said...

OMG, I want to do fast-lane shopping! In Tim's supermarket with the good music!

Heather said...

These things suck. They ruin a great shopping trip. Had one gal at a store tell me that I had done it all wrong, when one of my items would not scan. Sick.

Rob said...

One of the last times I used self-checkout the machine wouldn't let me purchase motor oil until a human confirmed I was over 18 years of age.

Last time I checked, there was no law saying you had to be 18 to buy motor oil.