Ghost in the Machine

IMG_1372My local supermarket has had these self check-out things for a while. I don’t usually use them because: a) I like the people who work at the regular check-outs and I want them to keep their jobs, and b) the self check-outs never work the way they’re supposed to.

I  loathe the insipid female computer being who lives in the checkout machine, with her pointy digital breasts and rigid pony tail.  I especially hate her voice,  the way she tells me to “please take my receipt” with a cutsie emphasis on the “t.”

Today, I found myself standing in front of one because there were so many people in line buying great quantities of junk food for tonight’s Superbowl game. (Another rant for another time)

The machines are almost always persnickety, and I annoyed this one immediately by having the audacity to bring my own bag. Even after I clicked on “I’m using my own bag” it still instructed me to “wait for an associate.” An employee came over and got me going again, until I tried to scan the cauliflower, which sent the machine into another funk, necessitating another visit from the employee. This time, she stayed with me until I had competed the scanning and paying process, which made me feel like a dimwit for not being able to use such a simple system.

I can count on the fingers of one hand the times when I have been able to scan my order without needing assistance. Why have self-checkouts if we still need employees to make them work?

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About dirtynailz

Writer, Master Gardener, tree hugger, animal lover,outdoors freak, iconoclast.
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10 Responses to Ghost in the Machine

  1. Anubis Bard says:

    Given what you’ve written, I don’t know whether you’ll find this toy available at Walmart funny or horrifying. Or both.

  2. No matter how many times I use these machines, I always get the prompt “please place the item in the bag”. Because one second between scanning and placing is just too long. Is it just me, or do these machines sound hostile. And impatient? And possibly programmed to publicly state to the world that you’re too stupid to do this. :) Sometimes I find myself talking back…haha…

  3. CJ Wright says:

    Amen, sister! I avoid them, too, for the same reasons you mention.

  4. Lee May says:

    You’re a shopper after my own heart. I don’t like machines taking humans’ jobs. Nor do I want to use a machine that takes more time to do it myself than a human would take to do it for me. And even if the customer gets the thing to work, that means customers doing work that we don’t get paid for.

    • dirtynailz says:

      I do enjoy chatting with the employees. It makes my shopping experience much more pleasant. The machine has the opposite effect.

      • gardenpest says:

        I too am the “preserve local jobs” and human interface….. I’m a technophile but I will never yield on this issue.

      • dirtynailz says:

        Now I feel guilty about using one last weekend. I must stop doing that and just stand in line if necessary. After all, they provide all those great magazines for us to read while we’re waiting…

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