Fredericton — As more companies turn to automation to cut labour costs, self-checkout machines are on the rise in retail and grocery stores.
“Ugh, this is exactly what I go to self-checkout to avoid!” cried Sean Allaby, 32, of Hanwell. “It’s bad enough when the greeter says hi or other shoppers get in my way, but now there’s this chatty machine that won’t shut up about how many store-provided bags I’m taking or how I should put my bananas on the scale.”
We spoke with other consumers in the Fredericton area to get their take on self-checkouts.
“Those machines kill jobs,” said Debbie Downer, 54, of Nashwaaksis. “I refuse to use them at all. And it’s much easier to give a cashier making minimum wage a hard time about my expired coupons than to harass the machine. The machine is just too cold and doesn’t seem to have any emotions I can trample during my shopping trip.
“No matter how mean I am, the machine never cries. It’s not worth it for me.”
“You won’t catch me using the self-checkout — I ain’t working unless it counts toward my 600 hours for E.I.,” said Superstore shopper Rex Colburn, 41, of Devon. “No one’s getting my free labour. In fact I don’t even like the idea of selling my labour for a good wage. I suppose you could say I’m anti-labour when it comes down to it.”
Allaby, though, says he’s all for the self-checkouts, so long as he doesn’t get that annoying talkative one — which also happens to be the only one he’s tried.
“I hate when I’m in line for self-checkouts and that’s the one that frees up. It’s like, ‘Of course, this is just what I need on a busy Thursday! A whole conversation,'” he ranted. “It never takes the hint, either.
“Every time it’ll loudly proclaim, ‘Please wait for an attendant.’ Seriously, you gotta call your friend over for backup and waste even more of my time? And it always says, ‘Please take your bags, and your receipt.’ Uh, yeah, I know that; this isn’t my first time getting groceries.
“So annoying. I don’t need to know your whole life story.”