The price of groceries continues to climb, and I’m sure any and all of you reading this have noticed the increase at the cash register. Especially meat.
Now, some of the large corporations claim they’ve made some changes over the years to save money which, they claim, they pass along to us, the consumers.
Case in point was the introduction a number of years ago of “self-checkouts,” a change which I absolutely despise. I refuse, absolutely refuse, to use self-checkouts. It’s annoying that large corporations move further and further away from customer service.
We, the paying public, were told, “You can now do the check-out work yourself, and get out of the store more quickly, all this was done for you, our valued customers, to make your lives and shopping experience better
My experience, admittedly I only used them twice, was not positive. Both times I used the self-checkout “to save myself time,” and discovered each time one of the items I was attempting to purchase was not in the computer’s memory. I sat there scanning in vain as the poor computer struggled to understand what was wrong. It turned out the item was not in the computer memory, and I had to wait for a staff member to help.
Then, another time a few months ago, I watched a fellow beside me enter the self-checkout the same time I entered the regular express checkout (12 items or less for you folks who walk into the express lane with a large cart full of stuff), and I was done and out of there before he was.
Now, Mr. Corporation, you can say self-checkouts were introduced to make paying customers happy. I don’t believe it, but go ahead and say it anyway. I suspect that the self-checkout was introduced to make more money for the big corporations.
Business Bee writer Nick Mann had some great insights into the ubiquitous self-checkout. The pros of self-checkout include efficiency/speed of checkout, lower floor space impact and, obviously, fewer employees to pay. So 33 per cent of the pros are customer-related, 66 per cent corporation-related.
However, Business Bee saw some drawbacks, one of which didn’t even occur to a law-abiding citizen like myself. Shoplifters can exploit the lack of supervision at a self-checkout to more easily steal by swapping UPC stickers etc. Never thought of that, but it certainly is a drawback. Also, that group of customers that lack tech sense are not going to like the self-checkout.
Lastly, and this is more prevalent now than ever before in our corporate society, the self-checkout is the retailers way of saying “Pay for your stuff and get out.”
I would have loved to pay for it and get out. But the damn self-checkout computer wouldn’t let me.
Stu Salkeld is the new editor of The Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.