Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Self checkout at the grocery store

Has this ever happened to you? You're next in line at the automated self checkouts at the grocery store and you watch while the person you'll be replacing at the machine demonstrates why new technology should not be made available to certain people until they've received formal training.

The person you're watching usually deals with the following issues:

☞They don't comprehend how to scan a bar code across the scanning window. There's only a couple of correct ways to do this, but it's beyond amazing how many wrong ways people come up with.
☞They don't understand that as soon as you have successfully scanned an item, the scale your bag is sitting on is expecting an increase in weight similar to the item. There is a finite time period with which you get to do this, after which the machine complains that you haven't put the item in your bag. Sometimes this isn't enough to clue the customer in that they must put the item into the bag and the machine refuses to cooperate any longer until a store clerk comes to over-ride the machine.
☞Related to the above, once you place an item into a bag, you cannot play a game of 'I think I'll re-arrange which items are in which bag'. The scale goes berserk resulting in another call to the clerk.
☞These checkout machines can't hear you. Nor can they speak. So don't ask it for help.
☞When you scan an item without a barcode, such as a piece of fruit, there is usually a numeric code to be entered. If the code is missing, or you're too challenged to locate it, there is a handy menu to choose your item from. This activity should not take 5 minutes per item. If you can't find the 'organic, free range, albino, hot house onions' in the list, 'onion white' should do just fine. I don't think the grocery chain is going to miss the 15 cents.
☞If you're just not getting this space-aged technology, let your kids do it. You'll be done in 1/5 the time.
☞If you came to the store armed with a fistful of coupons, the self checkout line is not for you. No, it's not. Don't make me come over there...
☞One thing that self checkout users learn quickly is that since there's no live person operating the machine, it will patiently wait an almost infinite amount of time between scanned items without flinching. This is not an invitation to send your spouse back to the dairy case to get the best looking gouda. If you're alone, it doesn't mean you get to step away from the checkout to grab a pack of gum from the express aisle either.
☞When it's time to pay, now is not the time to crack open the piggy bank and feed $30 worth of pennies and nickels into the machine if there are people waiting. The checkout isn't your personal coin cash-in service. If nobody is waiting, go for it.
☞Once the items are bagged and the total is paid, get your stuff and move on. Now is not the time to bundle up the 6 layers of winter clothing, crack open the pack of gum, mentally calculate if you still have enough rent money, or anything else you could be doing elsewhere.

P.S.: For those people that use the self checkout because they're embarrassed by what they're buying - I have news for you. Due to the fact that people are waiting behind you for you to complete your journey at the machine, they're likely paying even closer attention to what you're scanning than if you were in a regular lineup.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

additionally, you should remember to take that bag of groceries with you. Do not attempt to put plastic in wrong slot. I do know that at one local chain, there is self serve but the clerks don't like to have anyone use it, takes aways from their job I guess. Retro