A Rant Against Self Check-out at the Supermarket

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“Now, instead of hiring real people, the stores are expecting me to do the work – and for no pay.”

More from an unexpectedly angry source, a Consumer Reports post:

“Put the item in the bag,” the electronic voice says. “Take the item out of the bag.” “Unexpected item in bagging area.” What was it expecting, borscht?

And then there’s the electronic, supermarket equivalent of the death knell: “Call an associate for help.”

At one supermarket where I sometimes shop, the signs above these machines say “Express Yourself.” It’s as if self- checkout is going to be a rewarding experience, like painting a picture of the Grand Canyon or playing a Beethoven sonata on the piano.

But the only thing I’ve been able to express so far is expletives.

I don’t know. I sorta like self check-out, so long as there’s an actual human being ready to jump in when you’re trying to buy some apples and need them to punch in the code. Self check-out seems to work especially well at the stores like Home Depot, where most items are easily scannable, and where the self check-out line is super quick compared to the monster queue waiting for a human cashier. You’ve got to make sure you’re not overcharged during self check-out, but then again, you’ve got watch out for that with a cashier too.