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Self service checkouts November 14, 2009

Posted by faelix in ocity.

I went shopping today. It was a one day only sale of certain items. Very popular items. I made it in time to get what I wanted, and went to pay for my purchases. I planned to pay, put my shopping in the car, and then come back to collect my photos.

Then I looked at the line up. I had the choice of the self service, or the manned checkouts. I went for the manned checkouts. I knew from previous experience that the self service checkouts would be a pain because I was buying bulk items. I went through the checkout, paid, and put my shopping in the car.

I came back, collected my photos, and grabbed two items on my way out – a photo album for $5 and some cellophane for just $1.95. A total of $6.95. I had the cash for that. I figured I’d use the self service, after all, I had cash, only two items, and the line up seemed much shorter than for the manned checkouts.

Boy, was I wrong.

I’d forgotten that a lot of the people who use the self service checkouts aren’t efficient. They want to pay with a credit card which means a shop assistant has to check their signature. Or, they buy something that is on clearance which means it needs to be manually overridden. Or, they buy something that’s bulk which means it needs to be manually checked. (One of the mechanisms the system uses to ensure you are scanning the correct item is to weigh it – it had a spack one time when I bought steel capped shoes “OMG! Shoes aren’t meant to weigh THAT much! Send an alert! They must be stealing something!”)
And then it was -finally- my turn to use the checkout… I already had my money ready, and I didn’t need a bag.
Scan, beep! Scan, beep! “Please insert…” I didn’t need instructions, I inserted my money. And waited… And watched the screen as it -still- said “Please insert your money.” I think the only other slower software I have seen is the Translink Go Card ticketing machine.

It eventually spat out change, and the receipt. I left as it was still saying “Please take your change and receipt”.

Bugger the self service checkouts for a joke. I won’t be using them again for at least another year. Perhaps they’ll have improved by then.



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