Many of you know that I used to be a “Service Associate” (checker/cashier) at a certain store which I may refer to less-than–pleasantly from time to time. In the nine months I worked there I learned many valuable skills–like how to cover the toy department, the electronics department, the jewelry department, the fitting rooms, how to be a stock merchandise, how to assist paramedics, how to almost get diseases from changing people’s shoes, how to fold towels, do go-backs, how to water the plants because they are almost dead and everyone else forgot, and how to make keys. You would think I learned how to bag items, but that I was never officially taught. I was told to simply put things in bags. So I used my own method of packing and it seemed to work pretty well.
I have always been a fairly self-sufficient person, stubbornly doing for myself what others could much more easily do for me.
I also do not like interacting with cashiers at stores. I want to swipe my stuff, give my money, and get gone. You would think I would be the opposite since I used to be one of the best checkers at my store at making fun conversation and making a personal connection with my customers. At work I was good at my job, but as a shopper I despise checkers who like to talk–but I am also offended at terse checkers who are rude and grunt.
I think my ideal checker is someone who kindly greets me, then handles the transaction, and wishes me a good day. No useless chatter in between.
Enter the perfect solution–Self-Check-Out kiosks! Automated, I can handle my own purchases without the inane comments like “looks like somebody’s having spaghetti tonight” or “Ohh good choice” and without the time taken to greet, meet, invest, and then break up with a cashier.
Usually at stores if a customer has the rewards/membership/discount card of their store the kiosk will give them a special greeting like “Welcome Valued Customer.” (Five points to anyone who can name which store that comes from.)
At least, this is the way it should be.
Unfortunately, I find that I often am stranded far longer at the self-checkout kiosks than I would have been had I simply gone to a normal cashier. I find myself waiting around while the kiosk tells me it is contacting the associate for assistance, when I do not need assistance, have not asked for assistance, and do not want any assistance. I am at the self-check-out precisely because I do NOT want to be assisted.
Then the associate pushes a button and I am once more able to proceed, until I have an item that is very light and the scale does not recognize it. I again am forced to wait while the kiosk tells me repeatedly to “place the item in the bagging area” until I am finally reduced to yelling at it “I DID put it in the bagging area” and I once more have to endure the condescending assistance of the lord-overseer of the self-checkout land. By this point I am flustered and embarrassed, and extremely angry because not only have I had to deal with the person twice but the incompetent kiosk has made me appear like a bumbling idiot rather than the skilled and experienced cashier that I really am.
I think this is on purpose.
EMILIE’S SELF-CHECKOUT CONSPIRACY THEORY
Self-checkout machines are designed to irritate and embarrass the customer repeatedly so that eventually the customer will give up checking their own bags and return to the human cashiers, causing the removal of self-checkout kiosks and retaining millions of jobs for inept cashiers everywhere.
Just think about it…
And P.S. To all of you self-checkout machines who are malfunctioning: STOPIT !