Why I’ll Always Use Self-Checkouts

So I’m in K-Mart today looking for some hangars for my wife.  We had tried to find them at Walmart yesterday but they were out of stock, which is no surprise.  K-Mart has them, I get them, I go to the front and immediately regret being there because the cashiers at K-Mart are the worst.  No, they’re not rude, they’re not overly stupid, they just have a long laundry list of things that they’re supposed to sell you and nothing you do will get them off their script.  They want your phone number so they can track your purchases, they want to sell you credit cards and extended warranties, they want you to give to their charity of the week and no matter how much you tell them to knock it the hell off, they’re going to continue, even if it pisses off the customer to the point of them walking out of the store empty handed.

And while I’m picking on K-Mart as the worst offender, they are not alone.  No store is immune to trying to up-sell at the register these days.  Sorry, if I wanted to buy anything else, I’d have put it in my cart.  I’m done shopping.  Now I want to pay you so I can go the hell home.  I’m not here to play 20 questions with you.

Now I probably wouldn’t mind if they could just pick one thing and try it and if they don’t get a response, give up.  I’m fine with that.  No, I don’t want to give you my phone number.  I even tell them I choose not to be tracked.  I don’t want their stupid rewards.  I just want to pay for my stuff.  But no, they can’t do that, and I know it isn’t their fault, the company is trying to justify paying these people $10 an hour to stand there and scan stuff, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.  In fact, it doesn’t mean I have to put up with it.

That’s why I always use the self-checkout lanes if I can.  I can scan faster than they can, I can bag faster than they can and I don’t try to sell myself anything I don’t have the slightest interest in.  So you know, if those cashiers all lose their jobs because nobody wants to deal with them, I’m really fine with that.  And lots of stores are just doing away with cashiers altogether, at best they have a self-checkout wrangler that solves problems, but doesn’t actually ring anyone up.

But you know, speaking of problems, some of those self-checkout machines are stupid too.  Sometimes, they’re even stupider than the slack-jawed cashiers reading off their scripts.  I mean, I was at Lowes last week and bought a bunch of stuff.  I scanned it, I put it in a bag and it pops up saying “incorrect weight, please wait for assistance”.  If I wanted assistance, I wouldn’t be self-checking, would I?  So I picked the stupid thing up again and the machine goes “something was removed from the bagging area”.  Rolling my eyes, I put it back and now the machine is saying “unexpected item in the bagging area”.  Give me a fucking break!  I went through this a couple of times, putting it down, picking it up, the machine was never happy.  Even the cashier who eventually wandered over to shut the stupid thing up thought it was stupid.  More often than not in some places, I have to wait for some idiot to come by and type in a code, not even caring if there was a problem or not, before I can continue.  What’s the point?  If I was shoplifting, it isn’t like the cashier cares enough to find out when they come over anyhow.  And nobody wants to go to the cashier anyhow, they spend their time looking bored while the self-checkout lines are always full.

You’d think the stores would figure it out.  I think Lowes has, they rarely ever have a cashier to be found, beyond the self-checkout wrangler and someone at contractor services.  Those checkout lanes are all dark because nobody wants to use them.  And I’ve been in at least 6 Lowes in recent months and they’re all the same.  Target has self-checkouts and they are always full, unlike the cashier lanes that rarely have more than a couple of people in them.  I just wish the local Walmart would put self-checkouts in and I’d be a happy boy.  The less I have to deal with someone trying to sell me something that I clearly have no interest in, the better off I am.  I welcome our self-checkout robot overlords and wish more companies would either figure out why people prefer them, or just give up on cashiers altogether.

2 thoughts on “Why I’ll Always Use Self-Checkouts

  1. I'm all for self-checkouts when I don't have more than a few items that are easy to deal with and have clearly marked bar codes. I use them regularly at Target and Lowes and sporadically at Wal-Mart. On the other hand, when I have many items at the grocery store, especially lots of produce, I find that they take me far longer to get through that a regular cashier. At least I don't recall the cashiers at Wal-Mart every trying to sell me anything extra.

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    1. Walmart is one of the few stores that doesn't do it. My local Walmart just, within the past week or so, ripped out most of their regular lanes and put in half a dozen self-checkouts though. They know the future.

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