Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Two Minute Hate

The State of Checkouts

Self Checkout

I actually like self checkout at stores when it works as it is supposed to...i.e. you have just a couple items and you want to get out quickly. That is how it worked for several years and it was good. Lately though, stores have been cutting back on regular cashiers forcing more and more people to go the self checkout route. This has lead to longer and longer lines with people trying to scan 100 items themselves...this doesn't work. There is no way to work this...the bagging area doesn't have nearly enough room for those items. Plus it takes much longer to scan each piece at a self checkout. Of course, the person in front of me never knows how to use the machine, causing even more delays.

But that is not all that is wrong with self checkout: The self checkout often tells you that the item you just scanned and bagged was the wrong weight. I guess this is supposed to help stop people from scanning a cheaper item and putting a more expensive one in the bag. I've never done this, I have always been honest but yet it seems half my merchandise is the wrong weight...so you pick it up and set it back down once or twice until the scale finally notices it is the right item. Pain in the ass. You also can't scan an item and say you are buying 5 of them. Instead you have to scan, bag, scan, bag, scan, bag, scan, bag, scan, and bag. But even that doesn't work as it sometimes thinks you are scanning the exact same item, so you either have to scan a different item between them or wait about 10 seconds before it thinks it is a different item.

PS - home improvement stores - self checkout works like shit on large items...you can't scan them or place them in the bagging area. It works so much better when you could just leave it in the cart and have the cashier use their hand-held scanner. Yet, you only have open regular register open...even during busy times and the line is already 10 people long. You really are making me question wanting to shop their (in fact, just last night I went to a different store for this exact reason).

Self Bagging

Almost as bad as self checkout is self bagging. Again, I don't mind it in principle, but in reality I can't see how it helps save the store any time. Now instead of a line at the before the cashier, there is a line behind the cashier...an even slower moving line. The cashier can't start on the next person until everything from the previous customer is bagged and taken, but these people aren't experts at bagging and it takes forever. Customers can't get a bag ready when they aren't busy like the cashier could have, they aren't used to the bags that can usually stick together and don't pull off correctly, they don't know how much weight the bags can hold so they end up using more bags than is probably necessary. It seems to me that it is just a waste of every one's time. Now instead of bagging, the cashier just stands there looking slack-jawed. Not a money saver, just something to piss me (and other customers off).

I'm all for speeding things up and the stores saving money (which they will hopefully pass along to customers), but these measures are not working as planned. They MIGHT be saving a little bit of money but it is at the customers expense in both time and frustration. In my opinion it is just bad customer service. It makes me want to do even more online shopping. I can't wait for the day when every item has RFID embedded and I can just push my cart through the doors, having everything scanned automatically and charged to my RFID equipped credit card.

End Hate.

1 comment:

fauschanator said...

MN is big on the self bagging, I hate it too. I usually will by-pass stores that have self bagging.

I wonder why store bagging is big in Iowa but less popular in MN?