Self-checkout lanes are for idiots. When these technological abominations started appearing in grocery stores, I thought they were a curious novelty and a harmless alternative to clerks who were working in traditional checkout lanes. I originally shunned them because when I shop for groceries, it's the last thing I do in the day and I'm usually exhausted, so I don't want to expend any mental energy thinking about sorting my items to make sure I don't crush my eggs, mix hot and cold food and to remember to put detergent, cleaning supplies and produce in different bags. I'm too important to think about anything other than problems on a global scale.
I want to spend precisely zero minutes per day thinking about this minutia, but now thanks to self-checkout lanes, I have to because now stores are under-staffed, which means longer lines at traditional cashiers, or the alternative: using shitty, un-responsive touch screens while a condescending, pre-recorded message nags you about removing items that the machine mistakenly thinks haven't been scanned yet.
I'm a human being who barely tolerates condescension from other humans. Why do I have to put up with this shit from a glorified vending machine? I know how to scan a barcode, cyber-bitch, don't tell me to remove the last item from the bagging area. Go ahead, call the attendant. I dare you. I will put my fist through your screen. I'll go home bleeding with computer chips lodged into my knuckles completely satisfied. 5/5 stars. Would punch again.
Here are some of the arguments people have made about self-checkout lanes:
||They're not. A grocery store chain in the Northeastern US found that, "after extensive research ... self checkout lanes not only do not save customers time, but usually take them even more time to check out than customers in standard checkout lanes."1
|You don't have to worry about the potential incompetence of the cashier...
||You have to worry about the incompetence of every other person checking out in front of you, the programmers who made the system, UI designers, manufacturers, engineers, and the attendant who'll inevitably be called to assist you every time the machine fails—which is every time.
|They cut down on costs.
||They don't. They increase the prevalence of shoplifting. One study found that almost a third of people have admitted to stealing while putting items through self-checkout kiosks. 2 Another survey in Australia found that nearly 1 in 5 admitted to stealing, and of those, 57% did it because the shitty machines wouldn't scan their items. 3 And yet another study found that theft is up to five times higher. 4
|They increase privacy.
||Unless you don't mind your personal information being breached along with 56 million other customers, as happened when hackers compromised self-checkout machines in Home Depot recently. 5 Also, who gives a shit about what you buy? Everyone buys all the same things all the time; that's why those items are always stocked. You're not special. Nobody cares.
This shit almost never works. And even when it does, you can't buy things like alcohol6
, so you have to stand in line with your tail between your legs, only now the lines are longer because the grocery stores are understaffed. It's a garbage system for garbage people.
If you still like them after reading this article and seeing my video, go to hell.
- MassLive - Big Y to eliminate all self checkout kiosks.
- Daily Mail - Almost a third have admitted to stealing at scanners.
- Money Manager - Shoppers confess to stealing on average $25 worth each of goods every month from self scanners.
- USA Today - Theft is up to five times higher with self checkout than when cashiers are working.
- USA Today - Self-checkout registers hacked.
- SF Gate - Alcohol can't be sold at self-checkout lanes.
177,012 people read this article while they were stuck in a self-checkout line.
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