Submitted by Compugasm on April 25, 2006 - 16:06
I was at the store tonight, doing my grocery shopping for the week, and the time came for me to check out. Today, I tried the self checkout. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
There are some serious bugs that need to be worked out of the system. The biggest is the human/machine interface. Currently, it assumes you've never seen someone scan UPC codes before and you might just forget your own name if you didn't carry around ID. Must we all suffer so that the lowest common denominator can use this thing?
After decades of watching cashiers rapidly scan and bag my groceries, I felt that I had seen enough to be able to emulate their efficiency. However, the self-checkout system is equipped with some sort of scanning governor. It allows only one item to be scanned, and bagged, before the next item can near UPC-government-laser-mind-controling-grid. So I developed a slightly slower rhythm. No big deal, if only that rhythm wasn't constantly being interrupted by the patronizing pre-recorded voice (Majel Barrett Roddenberry?) telling me to "please place the item in the bag."
My biggest pet peeve of the entire process: checking out produce. This should not be a difficult process since most have a sticker with a four-digit code that can be manually entered while the fruit sits on the combination scanner and scale. I place my bananas on the scale, enter 4011 on the keypad, and asked to "Please Wait." What am I waiting for? Can't it figure out how to multiply two numbers and tell me what my bananas cost?
Incase you need help, there is an island in the middle of all the self-checkouts. If it really does only require one person at Mission Control to run these lanes, why aren't they all open all the time?
It's kinda cool idea, but only if you could just load your cart and walk out. Must we eliminate checkout jobs too? Pretty soon the only retail jobs will be as a greeter. All in all, I can't really tell if this is saving any time for me or creating more aggravation.