Self-Service Checkout? Please Wait for Assistance…

I was rather amused by this piece of union meme-whorage popping up on my social network space last month.


As well as the achingly desperate Luddite faggotry lying at the heart of this sorry crusade, the other amusing aspect of this campaign is the fact that these “Pro Labor” nimrods think self-service checkouts works well enough to put anyone out of work.

Since around the time UK supermarket chain Asda merged with much-maligned Stateside chain Walmart, these auto-checkouts have been a regular fixture of my shopping stints. Theoretically, these innovations sound like a sterling idea for a shopper of my mindset: reduced queuing; swift, no-fuss service; zero human interaction.

In practice, these technological marvels prove themselves decidedly unfit for purpose, what with the constant malfunctions, erratic item-acknowledgement, and unaccounted exceptions (Good luck checking out a bottle of Echo Falls without a fuss!). The dreaded drones of “UNEXPECTED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA!” and “PLEASE WAIT FOR ASSISTANCE!” tend to be regular fixtures of my shopping runs, followed by the supposed self-checkout seizing up until a nearby assistant sees fit to register the confounded contraption in her line of sight.

With such unaddressed, possibly deliberate, design flaws often kicking in on several machines at once, there’ll always need to be a shuffle of shop staff around to set right what oft fucks up. Someone to rescan that machine-stalling “unexpected item”; someone to reset the machine when that fails; someone to fetch a laminated barcode for that bag of loose oranges; someone to scan your face for the sufficient signs of age one needs to make off with a bottle of rouge…

“Job-killing self-checkout machines”?

Don’t make me laugh!


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One Response to Self-Service Checkout? Please Wait for Assistance…

  1. Honestly, I tend to view the self-checkout as somewhat of a relief from the teeth-grinding frustration I experience in everyday customer service interactions. I would rather deal with “PLEASE PLACE ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA…EXTERMINATE!” before having to be subjected to another checkout clerk’s slack-jawed stare into the distance, whilst checking my items at a snail’s pace. If a person is being replaced by machines that speak in 1s and 0s, then the job wasn’t exactly skilled labor to begin with. In my opinion, no great loss. As with any emerging technology there will always be flaws at its inception, but do you know what’s great about technology? It improves. Quickly. Unlike the shitty attitudes of today’s occupying “checkout clerks” that are too entitled for such work.

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