Wednesday, March 01, 2006

self-checkout at the grocery store

Yes, I can understand that in a rush hour, when there are lots of us, struggling homemakers, with carts topped to the max, and you only have your can of pop and a bag of crackers, you’ll want to scan it yourself just to get out of the joint. And kudos to you for the initiative.

But now some stores take this self-checkout to a whole new level. At Dominion (a Canadian big chain grocery superstore) if you shop late at night, you’ll find yourself self-scanning even if you buy half their stock.

Which is precisely what happened to me.

There I was with my whiny 10 month old and a cart piled sky high with groceries, approaching an idle cashier.

“Well ma’am, it’s past 12, ma’am. You’ll have to do it yourself over there”. And she showed me one of those contraptions.

Incredulously I looked at her and said, “But surely, I’m the only customer, and you are here, wouldn’t it be faster if you just scan it through?”

“It’s the store policy ma’am.”

She left me there and went to her post. Two feet away. Making sure I don’t stash away a carrot.

Something that would have taken her a minute to go through, took me half an hour. And the condescending manner in which she kept fixing my mistakes on her little computer, made it feel like a cashiering lesson.

How ridiculous of me not to understand that those peppers are not the peppers on the picture! The peppers on the picture are green, I have red ones, so I have to go into a submenu for the produce and type in a special code! It’s so darn obvious! And even though the kiwi is sold by quantity and not by weight, I still have to put it on the scale. Oh, and the 20 identical baby food jars have to be scanned AND bagged INDIVIDUALLY! I got to learn so much! And it only cost me $200.00!

At least the apples were easy. The little codes were already glued on. Fit just perfect with the paraffin coating and the pesticides marinate. All that’s missing now are little robots inside...

9 Comments:

Blogger Kaschief said...

LOL. You shoulda just stashed away that carrot, and have the store clerk come running. Well, on the bright side you got a free lesson in Supermaket Check-out 101. The bad part is...Oh, it wasnt free.

:-)

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Philip said...


How ridiculous of me not to understand that those peppers are not the peppers on the picture! The peppers on the picture are green, I have red ones, so I have to go into a submenu for the produce and type in a special code! It’s so darn obvious! And even though the kiwi is sold by quantity and not by weight, I still have to put it on the scale. Oh, and the 20 identical baby food jars have to be scanned AND bagged INDIVIDUALLY! I got to learn so much! And it only cost me $200.00!


That's the last refuge of poor user interface designers -- blame the end user. If you couldn't figure out how to enter red peppers or kiwi, chances are many others have the same problems -- but it couldn't be the fault of the UI, oh no.

At least the apples were easy. The little codes were already glued on. Fit just perfect with the paraffin coating and the pesticides marinate. All that’s missing now are little robots inside...

Aha! Another application for RFID!

4:49 PM  
Blogger vasilisa said...

Kashchief, I agree. They should've let me have the carrot as a reward for lesson well learned!

Philip, thanks for the link. The robots are closer than I thought :)

10:03 PM  
Blogger G-Man said...

The world is moving quickly and robotically to a new era; one in which the machine may finally rise to a level of power far beyond that enjoyed by oil barons or presidents. What's that you say, Hal?

10:34 PM  
Blogger TheHamburger said...

Nice template...did you steal it from me or something? ha...I enjoy the blog. Keep it up!

11:41 PM  
Anonymous manny said...

Discretion, discretion, discretion.
Sounds to me that the cashier should have used this despite the company rule. I would expecet any cashier seeing a mom late at night with a baby and a full cart of groceries to help but NO that would be against store policy. Does common sense exist in this world today? judging from your experience, I guess not.

1:25 AM  
Anonymous Ed Bacchus said...

That is why I always send the maid to do my shopping.

2:32 AM  
Anonymous dland said...

"Tea, Earl Grey, Hot".....

Well I actually prefer the self-checkout to the clerks at one particular store. I will spare you the details.

At another store, same distance, less variety but same prices, I prefer the clerks who are chatty and efficient. When they look at you, it's as if you are an old friend.

I only go to the "bad" store if they don't carry something at the "good" store or have a particularly good bargain. (Yesterday it was 2 for 1, 4 lb bags of frozen boneless skinless chicken tenderloins) Therefore I usually comply with the 12 item limit for self-checkout.
I have never heard of or seen a clerk send someone to the self-checkout. That is ridiculous.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Joel said...

My experience with self check out occurred when visiting my mother in California...hated it. Every other item wouldn't scan and I had to leave everything to go find someone to help me figure the damn thing out. Hated it!

3:36 PM  

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