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Old Yesterday, 01:58 PM
 
2,012 posts, read 510,658 times
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This is a topic that's been brushed on in several recent threads and I thought I'd break it out on its own. (Anyone who has the slightest idea of what my user name represents can figure out why.)

Please and thank you: Refrain from clogging this topic up with general discussion of self-checkout stores, experiences, preferences, etc. There are several threads that cover those generalities already; Thank you and please.

Besides all the other issues of SCO, one of the things that drives me batscoot about it is how badly the stations are designed... not just bad, not just awful, but about as badly as someone could do while trying to discourage people from using them.

(Side rant/backgrounder: I think this stems from the equally abysmal design of single-lane checkout stands, where you and cart have to go down the same narrow ravine. Safeways in particular seem to love this model, which is one of several reasons I avoid them like torture chambers. There is never any good way to push your cart up to the belt, then swap positions and pull the cart after you while you try to empty it. Even if you are a relatively tall, gibbon-armed person, it's difficult to either unload from behind or reach the top tray from in front. And if you aren't built like Twiggy, it's awkward to shuffle your way past your cart to the front, especially if there are people behind you that can't/won't back up. And without knocking down candy bars and other impulse items crowded in like airbags. Just stupid, inconvenient, ill-thought layout.)

SCO stations are much the same. I've seen a couple of different designs but absolutely none of them have any good way to deal with "outflow" — once you've managed to scan an item and put it in ze bag as directed by Frau B*tchyvoice... there's no place to go with more than a few items. No shelf. No good way to turn and put it in the cart, which often triggers even more stern instructions/warnings/fraud notice shoutings from the system. The only checkout system that's even remotely like this is the one I see at Walmart Groceries, where the checker has to put the scanned item directly in a bag... but at least has a carousel of them to help, the top of the carousel to set large or fragile items (for top-bagging)... and they always expend far too much time trying to check/scan/and then properly bag, making the process as inefficient as possible.

That's the worst design sin, and I suspect it forms the dividing wedge between those who approve or like SCO and those who don't. If all you have is a smallish number of smallish packaged items, the system works fine; you just pick up, scan and put in your one or two bags. But if you have more, if you have to fill several bags, if you have things like a 12-pack of soda or eggs or loaf bread that either can't go in a bag or need to be bagged carefully... the job becomes an unwieldy mess of trying to do several conflicting things at once... all the while Das Guten Frau is urging you nonstop to get on with it.

Add in that you are supposed to do all of this from one basket or cart that MUST be kept on the unpaid side...

So, SCO customers are expected to do all of the following, more or less simultaneously:
  • Position the cart so the goods in it can be reached, but without being in anyone's way, especially not that of the shopper at the next station, which is probably too close. OR
  • Put a basket down on a tiny shelf, if there even is one. AND THEN
  • Scan each item and IMMEDIATELY put it in a bag, of which some stations have one and a few have two. SO
  • You have to make continual decisions about what to pick up and scan next, working from cans and jars to boxes to soft stuff, all the while being hectored by voice prompts when you don't seem to be moving fast enough. AND THEN
  • Figure out what to do when the bag or bags are full, as you're not usually supposed to turn and put it back over in the cart and there is rarely if ever a shelf to set them on.

If they really want us to adopt this process, and it looks like we are stuck with it to an increasing degree no matter how much we protest... we really should be given AT LEAST the ergonomics and work space a regular checkout person has, if not a little more along with a little more "patience" from the endlessly urging voice prompts. As I said, if someone tried to design most of these systems to discourage use and make shoppers give up on it, they couldn't have done a better job.

Those who buy small amounts of packaged items and have memorized their store's process so that they can breeze through are pretty much thanked and excused; this is a topic aimed at those who do significant quantities of shopping, a cart full/several bags' worth, and have noted either the presence of the above problems... or, in miraculous circumstances, their absence with perhaps such a thing as an outbound shelf to hold things prior to bagging.

If they want us to do the job, they should at least enable us to do so.

Last edited by Therblig; Yesterday at 02:17 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Dude...., I'm right here
1,360 posts, read 865,499 times
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I like self checkouts because I can breeze through them. Unless one has a disability or they are old, I don't understand why you think self check-out is complex. I think some people though are just resistance to change.

Self checkout is the future, if high schoolers can work as cashiers, how hard is it?
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Old Yesterday, 02:35 PM
 
80,204 posts, read 78,539,410 times
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I find today I work for everyone from the airlines to the supermarkets....I do the job functions their employees got paid to do
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Old Yesterday, 02:48 PM
 
20,908 posts, read 15,197,848 times
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Our self checkout lanes are designated for express shoppers and this post a limit to th E number of items, is that not the case where you live? The self checkout systems work for me in the 15-20 item total limit and I’ve never found the ergonomics to be an issue
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Old Yesterday, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Dude...., I'm right here
1,360 posts, read 865,499 times
Reputation: 920
Who needs airline staff when you can check-in on your phone and drop off your bag? No wonder the rest of the world thinks Americans are slobs

Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107 View Post
I find today I work for everyone from the airlines to the supermarkets....I do the job functions their employees got paid to do
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Old Yesterday, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Dude...., I'm right here
1,360 posts, read 865,499 times
Reputation: 920
I think this post should be moved to the retirement forum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowexpectations View Post
Our self checkout lanes are designated for express shoppers and this post a limit to th E number of items, is that not the case where you live? The self checkout systems work for me in the 15-20 item total limit and I’ve never found the ergonomics to be an issue
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Old Yesterday, 03:02 PM
 
Location: Fort Payne Alabama
1,596 posts, read 1,807,382 times
Reputation: 2953
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ondoner View Post
I like self checkouts because I can breeze through them. Unless one has a disability or they are old, I don't understand why you think self check-out is complex. I think some people though are just resistance to change.

Self checkout is the future, if high schoolers can work as cashiers, how hard is it?
If Self Checkouts are so great, how come the lines at the cashiers seem to get longer and longer while the self checkout machine stay idle?
Oh and by the way, many high school students are extremely intelligent, when store hire them, they normally get the cream of the crop!
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Old Yesterday, 03:07 PM
 
533 posts, read 232,547 times
Reputation: 1152
Cashiers and cash. Self check out and two percent cash back credit card. To each their own.
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Old Yesterday, 03:07 PM
 
2,012 posts, read 510,658 times
Reputation: 3226
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ondoner View Post
I like self checkouts because I can breeze through them. Unless one has a disability or they are old, I don't understand why you think self check-out is complex. I think some people though are just resistance to change.

Self checkout is the future, if high schoolers can work as cashiers, how hard is it?
Congratulations for skipping to the head of the line and missing the whole point. This is specifically not aimed at people who "breeze through" with a handful of items, which is (1) not much of a problem, no and (2) clearly what (all that) the stations are designed for — some notion of "10 items or less" lanes.

As long as SCO was an option for those in a hurry or with social contact disorders, it was fine. But now we are being forced through them whether we have a few packaged gourmet items for a light din-din or a week's groceries for a family... and past about one hand basket of items, all of the problems I outlined apply.

If they want us to do the job, they need to give us at least the tools they give their "professionals" and not make us do it with everything tucked under our arms.
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Old Yesterday, 03:15 PM
Status: "Daring to hope" (set 27 days ago)
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
63,039 posts, read 59,824,086 times
Reputation: 75974
You do know you can turn off the voice, right? And what's with the Frau? Does your SCO voice speak with a German accent? LOL.
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