Thursday, January 20, 2011

Self check-out

I both love and hate the self check-out kiosks that are popping up at more and more stores.

I love not having to deal with anyone when I buy stuff but there is something to be said about looking someone in the eye when you're about to put down money to buy junk food. There is no guilt at the self-checkout. I hate that the machines can be so damned fickle. The touch screens don't always work. The area where you put your items after scanning them is a giant scale so if you rest something against the machine its full weight isn't on the scale which locks up the machine and notifies an attendant to come over, forcing you to deal with people when you clearly don't want to. Sometimes I will ask for help, like when a bar code won't scan for whatever reason but this one time this woman comes over and scans the defective barcode with her hand-held scanner and hands it to me. I put it in the bag and then start to reach for another item which she then scans and hands to me.

"What are you doing?" I ask.

"I'll scan it, you bag it," she says.

"No. The whole point of me using this kiosk is so I don't have to deal with anybody." It wasn't even like the scanner was broken, the barcode on that one item was where the problem was.

I think I might have pissed her off but seriously, self check-out is for people to check out themselves. Maybe she was bored waiting around to help people. Which leads to another reason why I hate the self check-out: how many jobs it costs. And yet, I still use it.