Self Checkout Woes


Will somebody out there tell me this is not me just being impatient? Will somebody out there tell me that there isn’t some alien God or force someplace just messing with me, and me only?

I swear to God, all I wanted to do was pay for a bag of chips. a pork shoulder, and some vinegar (what is HE having for dinner?) and be on my way. But no, no, no. It happened again I tell you, it happened again TODAY.

What the hell am I talking about right? What has gotten me up on my hind legs like this? Since you are polite enough to patronize my blog I’m going to tell you.

Self checkout kiosks. Well not the kiosks themselves. The people using them. I don’t know for the life of me what it is about self checkout kiosks in stores that strips people of all basic knowledge rendering them powerless to properly scan their own items, pay, and get the hell out-of-the-way.

Today it was the lady that couldn’t find the UPC code on anything she had. Scan, nothing. Flip the box of tea bags over, scan, nothing. Do this three more times…beeep! and Bingo! Aw naw, not yet. flip box back around, she has to see the upc code! Oh yeah, she’s on her cell phone!. Anyway she stumbles and bumbles through more items , finally getting to the bottom of the basket. I’m thinking I just may get home before the current President leaves office. THEN, the one item that you can lay major Vegas odds will get most newbies at the self checkout came out of her basket. Damn, just daaaaum! Produce. (What’s with the blank stares yall?)

Loose produce has no upc code. Put it on the scanner doubling as a scale press produce on the screen find the picture/ description of what you have,  press the picture and the price is  computed. Right? Not  2day people, not this lady. The apples in the picture didn’t look like her apples. Probably because the apples in the little picture aren’t real. She squints, tells the person on the other end of the phone she doesn’t see her apples, and motions for the attendant to come over and help. More squinting by the both of them. Finally the attendant swipes a card she has around her neck , beep! apples on their way down the conveyor belt.

Time to pay up. I neglected to mention that the self checkout also causes people to forget how to use credit and debit cards. Miss lady fishes a card out of her purse and begins a though rough examination of the checkout unit  in search of the card swipe. She finds it after about a minute or two and swipes the card then squints some more.

She starts to press a selection on the touch screen but stops short, squints some more, starts to touch the screen again, stops, singles time out by motioning the attendant over. They confer in  their huddle as the person in front of me exhales loudly and I am looking around for a brick to bring all of this to a quick resolution.  They break from their huddle and the  attendant points to the screen , Miss Lady follows her direction and touches the screen. The game over sound of the whirring receipt emerging from its chute was a welcome reprieve , a long  time coming.

The man in front of me moves up to ring up his things. Turns looks at  the touch screen, and…………squints. Hell to the no! Whatever sin I’d committed that subjected me to this nonsense  would have to be settled with God when I see him or her or it.

Off I went to a line with a real cashier trained in the fine art scanning and administering payment types for people who suddenly upon entering the doors of retail and grocery establishments,  lose the ability to read, and use cards for payment.

Two minutes and three people in front of me later, I was headed out the door. And you all know that I’m not going to leave you hanging. (What about the guy that was in front of you?) I hear you.

As I was walking out the door, he was talking to the attendant. Still at the kiosk.

Self checkout is not about getting out of the store faster. It can’t be when it relies on untrained cashiers (the you and the me) to  perform the duty of a person three aisles down that has been trained and is experienced in performing the task. Self checkout is about saving the establishment labor cost. And thats good, because controlled labor cost contribute to lower prices for the consumer. 

I question though,  how much are they really saving?  Take into consideration the erroneous omissions by honest customers coupled with the premeditated scan one miss one approach by the criminal minded. That along with the consumer that is going to go to the human cashier anyway. 

However if someone is not familiar with navigating a self checkout unit, I feel it would be proper etiquette to utilize a human cashier, and spare those of us that can efficiently scan our own item and pay our own bill, the frustration of waiting while they go through cashiering 101.

How have your self checkout experiences been?

Hit me back in the comment section.

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Author: Geo Gee

I'm a curious one that finds politics, social issues, and diverse progressive solutions interesting. I believe information and education are the most powerful weapons one can arm himself with. Those two dynamics alone open the doors to opportunities. I also subscribe to each one teach one for a better world for all.

1 thought on “Self Checkout Woes”

  1. I would have walked up to the lady and said, “please, allow me to show you how it’s done.” Then I would have scanned my groceries, explaining patiently to her each time, about barcodes and how they are inconveniently located on products and how companies charge so much for goods even though there are fewer cashiers and wages to pay. I would make sure I put my groceries in a fresh bag and then I would ask the lady to continue with her groceries, giving her all the encouragement she needed. Then I would walk out with my scanned groceries….

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