10 Reasons Why This Self-Checkout Madness Must Stop

1. We are buying our shopping from machines instead of people. They damage society. Anyone who uses one is a misanthrope. These self-checkouts are therefore inherently anti-Christian. They should be banned.

2. They don't sell you cigarettes. Why not? Because they don't have arms or legs. They can't communicate like a human being, even if they do remember to ask whether you've 'swiped your Nectar card' before coughing and spitting out your change in an ejection of metallic phlegm.

3. They remove any remaining feeling of shame about buying condoms. People should be ashamed about buying condoms. When a man buys a packet of condoms he should feel like he is placing his immortal soul in jeopardy. He should feel like a man living life on the edge.

4. If we tolerate these machines taking the place of human beings even in small numbers, Sainsburys and Tescos and other stores owned by Sainsburys and Tescos will make moves towards sacking all their staff and replacing all their checkout staff with machines including the shelf-stackers. Can you imagine the cacophany of irritating, noisy machines? The warmth and humanity that we generally find in supermarkets would disappear overnight.

5. These machines could turn against us and start WWIII, just like in 'Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines' starring Arnold Schwarzeneger, especially if, in future, food becomes more scarce and there are wars over food and spring mineral water, the Brecon Beacons becoming a potential nuclear flashpoint.

6. They are too loud. No human being talks that loud. They don't smile or have an 'off-day' when they just can't be arsed to be friendly. These machines make people aggressive and unnecessarily angry and I don't think it is just me who feels this way.

7. They break. I've seen them fail, only for a human being in an orange fleece have to come over with a key and start playing around with it like its some kind of vintage fruit machine. Human beings can be annoying, but, generally, are more interested in helping you and less likely to break than a machine and more reliable. Human beings may both die and fall critically ill, but rarely while serving you at the checkout.

8. If these self-checkout machines are allowed to continue, unemployment in the retail sector will double or treble. In general, the idea that robots and technology can cause an improvement in the lot of the working man and humanity in general is a huge utopian myth. If robots took over from all human work and endeavour, we wouldn't have street parties and distribute wealth around society. No, we'd sit at home watching Jeremy Kyle, on the dole, being hated by the robots who would regard us as a workshy underclass. If all the machines took over all human work, we would be bored, there would be more crime, more poverty, more unemployment and a proliferation of sin. In other words, the Devil makes work for idle hands.

9. The poor staff who are not machines have to listen to them all day. All day! They banned smoking in pubs partly to protect staff from smoke pollution. Now that noise has been upgraded to a pollutant, we should have mercy on them! It must be a living hell to have to work all day in those awful 'Express' shops installed for the sole purpose of knocking Mr Patel's corner shop out of business, listening to that self-checkout machine talking with that earnest, customer sales representative voice that in human terms does not exist. Nobody talks like that! Nobody!

10. They're not attractive. You cannot fancy them. They can't fancy you. There must be some people who have met their future wives/husbands at the checkout. The retail sector should be ashamed of itself for ever having introduced these things. We should, as a society, be ashamed that we ever tolerated the 'pilot schemes'. Ban them! What next?! All local buses being driven by remote control from a mega-computer grid in Luton?!

Comments

Patricius said…
But half the fun of using them is setting off the "Clearance Needed" alarm!
sanabituranima said…
HAHAHAHAHA!

Yes.

I tend to buy my food at the local market and corner shop rather than the supermarket, but sometimes I leave it so late in the day that only Tesco is open.
Hunoona said…
Lol!!! (get a grip!)

And when are you and George going to be singing 'Sweet Caroline' on the streets of Brighton? I want to hear it live!
Physiocrat said…
No, you are wrong on this.

1. These self-checkouts are therefore inherently anti-Christian. They should be banned.
Hmm.

2. They don't sell you cigarettes.

It's for your own good.

3. They remove any remaining feeling of shame about buying condoms.

Perhaps

4. If we tolerate these machines the warmth and humanity that we generally find in supermarkets would disappear overnight.

What about the effing and blinding of people trying to get the machines to work?

5. These machines could turn against us and start WWIII.

No they would just throw up a Windows error message on their silly screens.

6. They are too loud.

I can't hear what they are saying most of the time.

7. They break. I've seen them fail, only for a human being in an orange fleece have to come over with a key and start playing around with it like its some kind of vintage fruit machine.

Oh yes that is right. They create jobs.

8. If these self-checkout machines are allowed to continue, unemployment in the retail sector will double or treble. In general, the idea that robots and technology can cause an improvement in the lot of the working man and humanity in general is a huge utopian myth.

They will take armies of people, nerdy technician types with thick spectacles, to keep them working. I doubt if they save any jobs at all.

9. The poor staff who are not machines have to listen to them all day.

Try Morrisons, they have the disco music on so loud you can't hear the machines anyway.

10. They're not attractive. You cannot fancy them. They can't fancy you.

But as they are breaking down so much then that is a good icebreaker to chat up the staff who have to sort the wretched things out. Think of them as a social lubricant.
Rusticus said…
I never, ever, use the wretched things.

I was once invited to:

Supermarket Employee (SE), seeing me in a queue with my miserable little basket of goods: "There's the Self Checkout free, sir"

Me: "So I'm supposed to check out my own shopping with that machine?"

SE: "Yes"

Me: "Perhaps your bosses would like me to do some shelf-stacking as well, or perhaps drive one of your delivery lorries when I've got a free moment?"

SE:(look of blank incomprehension)

Me: "Well, if you can't be bothered to serve me properly I can't be bothered to shop with you" (plonks down basket and exits in that lofty vehicle, high dudgeon)
Physiocrat said…
Rusticus - haha. I like the bit about driving the delivery lorry.

How about all the other service things that have disappeared eg bus conductors? And what about those stupid ticket machines at railway stations, that can take 20 minutes to sell you a ticket because of the queues of puzzled people trying to work out how to use them if they have not broken down already?

Now why do you think people are being replaced by very expensive machines?

Yes it's our old friend the tax system. For every £1 a worker gets in take home, the employer must pay over 80p to the government. Same in all so-called advanced countries. The taxes are labelled "income tax" and "National Insurance" and are nominally paid by employees, but really the burden of all of them falls on employers, because they are payroll taxes. The effect is to encourage employers to replace workers with machines or give a worse service, whilst workers, especially the low-skilled, are forced out of jobs.

It is not pretty.
Anonymous said…
Funny article. I think we'll have a different opinion when Self Checkout 2.0 (RFID) is introduced. Whatever you say about checking out. It is a waste of human resources (both cashier & customer). Customer experience will improve once they can pick up their items, walk through a 'transaction chamber'. Then have all their items checked out using the money on one of their debit cards. Nice and simple. It's almost like shop lifting, except you pay for it. :)

Sure jobs will go. Some will be replaced by higher skilled roles. But indeed, its unlikely that all jobs will be replaced. It's the price to pay for productivity gains.

Unemployment isn't in itself a bad thing. It's all too easy to think that the purpose of us humans is akin to worker ants, or slaves. To work, work, work and then die. With a little bit of recreation thrown in. Wake up people.

What the real problem is how the governments (and therefore big corporations) deal with the distribution of wealth.

For instance, less than 1% of the UK population work on farms. If we did a timeshare. Whereby each of us spent 1% of our lives (3 days a year, or 9 months of our entire life) to working on a state owned farm, and then got to enjoy free food for the rest of our lives? Same could be applied to housing. Spend a year building a house, and get to keep that house for life. This is all theoreticaly possible. But in practice our hands are tied by those in power.
Physiocrat said…
Anonymous, there is not a limited amount of work to go round, that has to be shared. Self-checkouts are being brought in because the UK, has managed to achieve the seemingly impossible - low wages and high labour cost simultaneously. This is due to the country's tax system.