I’m torn. I’m really torn.
A local convenience store where I live has set up several self-checkout lines. These self-scanners have become the norm in department stores and grocery stores, but it’s the first that I’ve seen them in a local convenience store.
Big business in today’s world
I’m sure it’s an attempt by the convenience store chain to cut labor costs and save in the number of employees needed to man the register. With fewer customers to wait on, employees can stop focusing so much time on the cash register and can instead focus on stocking shelves, manning the made-to-order kitchen and food stations, and keeping the store tidy.
The advocate for the little guy inside of me hates this move.
Choice A or Choice B?
Saying all that, I had to stop at the store twice recently and found myself quickly choosing the self-checkout line rather than wait for the overworked cashier to come out from the kitchen area or for the long line of customers in front of me to wind down.
In both instances, I was in-and-out with my coffee and Diet Pepsi in no time. In fact, I preferred the self-service line. I didn’t have to wait for the other customers. I didn’t have to wait for the smokers to get their nicotine fix or the lottery card players to buy their scratch-off tickets. I didn’t have to make small talk. I could get my stuff and go.
At first, I thought it just might be my hatred of chit chat, but the numbers seem to back it up. A recent retail industry survey reported that 66% of consumers prefer self-service over interacting with a store employee. Like me, they preferred the speed of scanning and paying for their goods and getting on with their day in much less time.
What’s that say about me? What’s that say about others?
A better option?
I may be a turncoat against the little guy, but I will say this: If the convenience store executives were serious about self-checkout, they would reward you for helping save on their personnel costs. They’d give you a dollar or two each time you scanned your own purchases. They’d mark it down as “services rendered,” because that’s what you’re doing, helping them with their problem.
Hell, if they were really serious, they’d make it true self-checkout by letting you pay with the honor system, meaning you’d pay what you felt was fair, not what they deemed the price to be. Now that would be self-checkout at its finest.
Unfortunately, I’m not counting on the store to go in that direction anytime soon. In the mean time, be sure to check me out at my new part-time job: Self service cashier at my local convenience store!