Expat Magazine

Reasons I Hate Self Checkouts

By Expatmum @tonihargis
A few of the stores round these parts have announced they are phasing out self checkouts. I, for one, was more than a little elated to hear it. Apparently there's too much theft and I'm sure half of it is unintended. I mean, how many times have you scanned something only to hear that it hasn't gone through, you need to get special authorization, or some such crime? Half the things that make it to my car probably haven't been scanned properly - and that includes being scanned twice, so if I have inadvertently nicked something in the past, I've more than paid for it too!
It's very tempting to go for the self checkout line if the "real" ones have ten people waiting. If you have one or to items perhaps it's a good idea - unless it's booze, in which case I have to wait for someone to come and verifying that I'm over 21 - for Pete's sake.
Reasons I Hate Self CheckoutsIs there such a thing as checkout rage? 
What usually happens when I attempt to self checkout though, is -
The machine gets annoyed when I put my own bag down instead of using one of their cheap, un-environmentally friendly plastic bags. Every item that is scanned is then under scrutiny; the question "Are you using your own bag?" comes up every single time. I'm hardly likely to switch back and forth between my own bag and a store bag now am I?
The machine doesn't recognize when things are deposited in the bag. "Please place items in the bagging area" flashes up and won't let me continue until I pick up the item and, in an exaggerated fashion, place it back into the very same bag. How does it know I haven't pocketed said item and picked something else up that was already in the bag? For such a highly strung machine it's not very security-conscious, IMO.
"Wait for assistance" - for no apparent reason. This is when I usually start whisper-cursing and staring  at the cash register I would now be at had I not been so rash in my checkout choice.  Of course, there will be six other self checkouts flashing, shoppers equally pee'd off, and one assistant casually strolling among us, despising us for our inability to buy a bunch of bananas, (which are a bit of a challenge I might add, since they often don't have a bar code.)
The alcohol alert - in the US you have to be 21 to purchase booze and many places ask for ID if you look under 30. Okay, so I don't look anywhere near 30 anymore; no one is going to get fired if you sell me a bottle of Pinot Grigio. The machine could easily ask for my scannable driving license, but no, we have to wait until someone comes over and deems me fit to buy booze. Last time this happened to me, no one came over and I was fit to be tied. I then decided to try to continue with my scanning (just keep scanning the item until the machine gives up and lets it by), only to realize the wine purchase had been approved from afar by someone who could see I was ancient from the other side of the store. Oh.
Paying - you'd think this would be fine wouldn't you? I mean, we swipe at the regular check out so what's the difference. Well, on the self checkouts around here, there are actually two machines asking  how you'd like to pay, and they don't communicate very well. The scanning machine starts, so I punch in "debit card" thank you. Then it tells me to looks at the card swiper, which is also asking me how I'd like to pay. I hit the debit option on the card swiper, which seems to cancel everything out and take me back to square one. We can go round and round like this for quite a while.
It's no wonder they're removing them. Too many irate customers. Or is it just me?

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