Self-Checkout Will Ruin a Big Part of Idaho’s Friendly Culture
My preference is a cashier. As the Rolling Stones sang, You can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. Grocery and retail stores are moving at warp speed to install self-checkout stands and eliminate human cashiers. As Mr. Horse said in Ren and Stimpy, No sir, I didn't like it! The move accelerated after the so-called pandemic and the labor shortage that followed. Last week, I read a story that said staff turnover at grocery stores was a whopping 48 percent. Automated cash-outs only need training once.
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If self-checkout can help keep prices more manageable, then it takes some of the bite out of the transaction. Back east, Wegmans plans to return to human beings. People are walking out of stores without paying. Either knowingly or unknowingly. I once got talking with an associate while scanning at Walmart and walked out with my bags and forgot to pay. A block from home, I realized my faux pas and doubled back. A woman at the service desk was aware I hadn't paid and thanked me for coming back. It sure beats being charged for theft!
Self-checkout appears to be the future at most stores. I'm going to miss the personal interactions. I've gotten to know many of the cashiers where I shop, and we talk about our families, vacations, and football. I know a woman at WinCo who likes the Raiders. At Grocery Outlet one of the women has a grandson, and he likes trains. At Smith's, one of my regular cashiers is wild about tennis. These are all important parts of daily life.
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