Self-CheckOut is Sabotage

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 asย  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.



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 !

8 thoughts on “Self-CheckOut is Sabotage

  1. I too have been seen\heard yelling at computerized check-out kiosks. It didn’t help one bit, but it was a safe release of pent-up anger and frustration. Somehow calling a machine a “stupid piece of crap” was very satisfying. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. self service kiosks are for the independent. Aka men:) or that’s how it is around my house. I prefer to be waited on while my love loves avoiding the sales associate.

    Did you know you could skip the ticket counter at the movies?? I mean seriously speaking into the microphone thing is part of the experience.

    So no. I don’t use them unless the boyfriend insists. And even then its me tapping my foot and complaining while he checks out.

  3. I have a self checkout at my work. Even being a sales associate and out on the floor, last night I got pulled back to the front to stand at self check-out for 2 hours. If the self check out cashier is paying adequate attention, the need of assistance issues don’t come up, because the cashier has already handled it before it happened.
    Most of the time when someone comes over to self check out and it’s empty I offer to check them out at the register I have by the self checkout monitor. Especially when they have one item and it would be ten times faster for me to scan it then for them to go through the self checkout process.
    The most important job, and reason why there is even a person standing there watching, is because at my store that is where a lot of theft takes place. Scanning a cheaper item and putting the expensive one in the bag is a common thing.

    One time I was at self checkout helping customers and someone had forgotten to grab their change, because the cash inconveniently comes out of the bottom. I noticed that instead of four $1 bills they had four $10 bills. Knowing how the machine worked since I had pulled it thousands of times before, I knew that the morning cashier had inserted the 10s box in the 1s slot. Who knows how many customers that day got a lot of change?

    I guess my point is, self checkout can be a really good thing, but you can’t remove the cashier entirely from it. A perfect self checkout, one that operates smoothly, requires a well trained cashier.

    As a final note, dealing with talkative cashiers, I’m not really into having conversations either. My idea when I worked the registers was to greet the customer, asked if they found everything all right (or found what they were looking for) and then thanked them for coming. I would, however, hold a bit of conversation with the customer in the middle of my planned speech if they initiated conversation. Sort of in a don’t speak until spoken to fashion.

    That is all.

  4. There’s a missing response: it depends on the self-checkout. The ones at QFC/Fred Meyer/Kroger are pretty good and quicker for some tasks. The ones at TOP, Albertons and Home Depot are miserable.

  5. Kroger brand stores have that greeting, so for us here in Kansas, it is Dillons. I don’t like comments either. I’ve gotten some really bad ones, but sometimes the self-checkouts don’t work well. At walmart, the self-checkout has overcharged me.

  6. hahahaha you are HILARIOUS! ๐Ÿ™‚ the part about “looks like somebody’s having spaghetti tonight” is soooo true!!

    Tristan personally thinks that the self checkouts are just there to scare people, just like the fandago kiosks… usually they’re open because people are afraid of technology. I kind of agree. ๐Ÿ™‚

    However, I like the self checkout, especially when I’m buying something embarrassing like tampons!

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