Twenty items or fewer

About the only place I ever use the self-checkout lane is at the Homeland store at May and Britton, which I hit about every second or third week despite its manifest deficiencies:

[T]he scanning zone seems to be wildly variable, and it may refuse your can of tomato sauce right in front of its frickin’ laser beam because it’s worried about something it thinks you tried to sneak into a bag without scanning at all.

Contrast and compare with this:

I will say my experience with the self-checkout, once I got to a working stand (more about that in a moment) wasn’t too bad — except the attendant had to come over and tell me, “Don’t push the ‘I’m paying with a credit card’ button before scanning your card even though it tells you to.” (There’s something symbolic about modern technology in that statement).

The machine evidently has a short memory.

The first stand I went to, though, even though its green light was on, it had an error message on the screen. I mentioned it to the attendant and she came over and tried to fix it. And it turned out that someone had scanned a bunch of stuff and not paid. (And while it’s possible they gave up when it wouldn’t accept their credit card and went to a “real” check station, it’s also possible they went through the motions and then walked out with about $25 of groceries. If that keeps up, the self-checkouts may not persist for long.)

I dunno about that last point. $25 will barely pay for a checker for two hours. Then again, you’d think the attendant would have seen someone trying to sneak a couple of bags of stuff off the premises.

1 comment

  1. Tom »

    7 February 2013 · 2:55 pm

    It would be in the interest of attendants and cashiers to monkeywrench this gear, because it is they (them? those guys?) who are being replaced by it.

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