Saturday, June 10, 2006


I made my first visit to a market with self-checkout today.  There was one conventional checkout line and five self-checkout lines.  The self checkout lines had NO clerks.  You put your purchased goods on a scanner, one item at a time, then into a bag.  Your total is announced and you put your money in a machine, and away you go.

It was awesome, and intimidating.  My first experience and I was hesitant.  One of my two items did not scan and I did not know what to do, so I went to conventional check out... but had mixed feelings about no clerk checking out.

How impersonal service has become.  And yet, I used to hate it when the check out clerks banged my dinner through the scanner and a box boy (box-person) bagged it, and shoved it at me.  I have become used to buying gasoline without an attendant, why not groceries?

But, my, the store itself: Huge, wide wide aisles lined with sparkling products. Lots of room for my scooter. Rack upon rack of goods of all types and descriptions.  The sea-food alone was impressive: great trays of shrimp, all looking exactly alike...looking almost factory made...amid other trays of edibles.   

I hear that this chain ofr stores is closing many of its outlets.  I wonder why.  Practically no clerks to dispense all these goods.  It is automation carried to the next level...and not doing well,   Curious, and poignant.


garnett109 said...

There are days I use the automation line and then there are days I need to tell a joke so I go to the ones with humans in line! Was That A super Wal- mart?

jckfrstross said...

i use the automated lines sometimes but sometimes not


kateh2ocolorart said...

They've had that system in Phoenix for some time, I use them when I go there to visit my son, however, didn't know we had 'em here!  Which chain was that?

chasferris said...

For those of you who asked... it was Albertsons.

plieck30 said...

As children we never thought we would see things like that. I was with my daughter once at I think Home Depot or some similiar store and watched her use the automated check out. They are nice but I would be nervous if people were in line behind me. Paula

elleme2 said...

We have long since become accustomed to (but not happy about) finding an automated response at the other end of a telephone line. It is possible to complete a request for repairs to your gas, electric or phone service, without ever actually talking to another human being.  Now we can get through the entire supermarket experience without human assistance.  Soon we may be able to choose to live out our entire lives without ever making contact with another human being.  I hate it.

mavarin said...

I don't like self serve checkouts.  There's too much potentialfor it to go wrong.  Here the have a clerk watching over four of them in case of trouble.  But who wants the embarrassment of having screwed it up?

No, I go to a Safeway where the clerks know me by name.

monponsett said...

Every time you do that, you should forget to scan like 10 things. If they bust you, fake having dementia. I doubt that anyone is going to strong-arm a war veteran in this political climate.