Monday, January 9, 2017

Don't worry, cashiers

I read an article recently about how self-checkout will eliminate cashier jobs, so it's a bad things.  But that seems slightly hard to believe.  First of all, about 80% of the times I've done self-checkout, there's been some error that required someone to come over and assist me. Like I don't put my item in the bag fast enough and the whole thing crashes.  And I'm relatively checkout savvy.

But today I realized that as long as there are old people, cashiers will always have jobs.  Today when I was at the supermarket, there was an elderly woman ahead of me who was attempting to do self-checkout, but completely defeating the purpose of self-checkout.  She needed help with every single item she scanned in.  She didn't know how to scan fruits or vegetables.  She didn't know what to do when she didn't bag her item fast enough.  After three different clerks came over to help her at different points, I went over and helped her through the rest of the scanning process.

Then she was unable to figure out how to pay.

The best thing I can say is that she didn't try to pay with a check or scan in a dozen coupons.  But it was an excellent demonstration of why cashiers are needed.


  1. But as we get a new generation of 'old people' who are more self-checkout savvy then there will be even less need for cashiers.

  2. Self-checkout has been around for many years, and yet there are still plenty of cashiers in every store. I personally don't like to use it-at the prices these stores charge, somebody is going to damn well bag my purchases for me.

  3. And I've seen middle aged people who couldn't figure out how to scan the UPC, or where to put the debit card.
    Sometimes, Fizzy, I swear you have the art of being a doctor down cold.

  4. I don't think all stores hope to totally do away with cashiers, but rather hope to reduce the number they must employ. I say this because at my local big-box store, the self-checkout machines do not have hand-help scanners attached to them. If I've struggled to get a 40-lb something in my cart, no way am I also going to lift it out of the cart and onto the UPC plate. I'm going to a machine with a cashier who also has a hand-held scanner so the thing can stay in the cart. Which leads me to believe the self-checkout machines are for people with only small, easily lifted items, something rare in big-box stores. (Or maybe we'll all supposed to be working out with weights?) In any case, the lack of a hand-held scanner definitely limits the number of customers who will use it.

  5. I am with Susan. Until I get a discount because the store could hire fewer cashiers thanks to the self checkouts, *they*, not me, will be scanning and bagging my stuff. Self checkout is just one more way for corporations to provide less service without reducing prices.