You might think that title is referring to what extremely ripped, vainglorious, macho types do in front of a mirror, but, no. I’m talking about this somewhat new phenomenon of being able to scan and bag your own groceries, toiletries and apparantly home improvement necessities.

I’ve got a love-hate relationship with the self-checkout. On the one hand, I’m thinking, “Oh, this is just beautiful. Yet another job that used to be done by humans is being eliminated. We’re now one step closer to what history will refer to as The Great Robot Takeover of the Middle 21st Century.”

But on the other hand, I love me some self-checkout! It isn’t so much that I enjoy scanning and bagging my own stuff, it’s that for the most part, people are still timid about using them. So, I can be at my trusty local Kroger during their busiest hour and the traditional lines will be backed up past the gossip rags and impulse-buy racks, but three of the four self-checkout stations are as vacant as a Young Republicans meeting in San Francisco. Or, alternately, a Young Democrats meeting in Crawford. All this to say, I never have to wait in line.

Until recently.

Lately, I’ve been noticing that the general population seems to be slowly but surely getting over their fear of trusting themselves to scan and bag. This gradual shift has led to two things: the first is that I’m now as convinced as ever that our increasing reliance upon and trust in the Robots will ultimately lead to their successful coup when the time is right; the second is that I no longer have what amounts to my own personal checkout lane. Admittedly, that second bit is pretty selfish in light of the first, but what’re ya gonna do?

I propose a simple solution. I think if we spread the word that the self-checkout lanes are unreliable they’ll get a bad reputation. Then people will trend back to the good ol’ days of waiting in line for a pro and I can go back to banking on a no-wait trip to the Krog.

2 thoughts on “Self-Checkout”

  1. What I’ve always found amazing, especially in the last couple of years is the fact that you can get more feeling from a machine telling you ‘Thank you, come again’, than you can from most employees who are suppose to give you that oh so gooey feeling of, you bet I’ll come back, ‘Thank you!’

    Perhaps our humanity will come back as machines slowly take over the more menial tasks of humans, such as food service, sanitation, cashier, etc.

    I think such a move to Robotic servants is justifiable in the fact that we will be able to offer better jobs to these people whos jobs are replaced by machines. For one, the money will still be there because machines don’t get paid. Someone will have to maintain the machines which means people will HAVE to educate themselves, as they should, in order to get those better paying jobs. Productivity and quality will increase bringing in still more money because business improves, the list goes on.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, I welcome robots. The only thing we as humans will really have to worry about is education, exploration and morality. If the world can come together on that, Life will be Heavenly. IMHO

    But, there will always be those who disagree. Just as the ‘redneck’ who wouldn’t even attempt to check himself out at automated station and instead, showed his disappointment with the system by standing in front of and ‘evil eyeing’ the one ‘human’ there, impatiently waiting for her to check his sorry butt out. She was in the process of assiting me because I had moulding that had to be measured. I almost and probably would have checked him out if Kari hadn’t been there too. All he had was a clearly barcoded package of screws…Give me a break, I just wanted to slap his sorry arse. Rude so and so.

  2. Sometimes I love the self-checkout sometimes I hate it! The only place in Paris that has them is Home Depot so if your getting small things not a big deal at all! But when your getting big things that you cant scan yourself..such as molding and BIG rugs, then they are not so great. Now if they had that hand held scanner like the cashiers have for the big things…That would make them almost perfect!! But like Joe said there are those who will say “I refuse to use those machines” just because…well who knows why…and will be just rude little things!

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