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(Belfast Telegraph)   One in three customers has walked out of a supermarket because self-scan machines don't work properly. They also steal a lot a of stuff out of frustration "They do not make us autonomous shoppers, they make us needy and furious"   (belfasttelegraph.co.uk) divider line 183
    More: Obvious, self checkout, checkouts, supermarkets  
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1422 clicks; posted to Business » on 27 Mar 2014 at 10:22 AM (39 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



183 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-03-27 08:42:15 AM  
FTA:'The irony is that these machines are supposed to make life easier for us. They were installed in almost all major shops amid claims that they were faster, more efficient and more convenient.'

Bulls**t. They were designed to increase profit at the expense of a human's job. If you believed that tripe, there's a bridge for sale this side of the pond.;b

My small protest: I refuse to shop at stores that use these. If you can't be bothered to pay real people, I refuse to give your job killing ass any money to replicate your business model in another area.

/now I'm off to try and raise sea level with my precious bodily fluids:/
 
2014-03-27 08:44:09 AM  
 fark you, supermarket owners. You don't have self scan machines for my convenience, and you don't have them so you can offer me lower prices. You have them so you can get rid of that kid at the register and that other kid putting the stuff I buy in a bag, and you can keep the money you would pay them yourselves.
Then you have the nerve to call out to me, "Hey stupid! You can do their work yourself! Isn't that great?" No, it's not great, you asshole. You know what's great? Not having to shop at your farking store.
 
2014-03-27 08:55:20 AM  
I use self-checkout when I shop at any store that offers it, and I rarely if ever have any problem with it. I don't know if they're just a lot better here than they are in the UK or if the people trying to use them are just idiots.
 
2014-03-27 09:00:05 AM  

Sybarite: I use self-checkout when I shop at any store that offers it, and I rarely if ever have any problem with it. I don't know if they're just a lot better here than they are in the UK or if the people trying to use them are just idiots.


My mom's grocery uses them and I always check out with them if I'm picking up stuff for her there.  They're quicker and I rarely have a problem.

And while I understand the real reasons they're offered, I appreciate the speed and convenience.  Especially if I'm just picking up a handful of things.
 
2014-03-27 09:18:12 AM  

rumpelstiltskin: fark you, supermarket owners. You don't have self scan machines for my convenience, and you don't have them so you can offer me lower prices. You have them so you can get rid of that kid at the register and that other kid putting the stuff I buy in a bag, and you can keep the money you would pay them yourselves.
Then you have the nerve to call out to me, "Hey stupid! You can do their work yourself! Isn't that great?" No, it's not great, you asshole. You know what's great? Not having to shop at your farking store.


I'm with you. I will not use them.
If you try to buy a bottle of wine or beer you need the kid on the podium that is taxed with over seeing these registers to give approval.
F*ck that and f*ck the store that wants me to pay them to put me to work.
 
2014-03-27 09:47:48 AM  

mutterfark: My small protest: I refuse to shop at stores that use these. If you can't be bothered to pay real people, I refuse to give your job killing ass any money to replicate your business model in another area.


How do you feel about pumping your own gas?
 
2014-03-27 09:54:00 AM  
We've got technology to a point where you don't need special training to operate a grocery store point of sale, so why should stores keep obsolete employees around?  The traditional cashier model is still useful for people with large orders (since you can have somebody bagging stuff and putting it in a new cart while other stuff is still being scanned), but for small orders there's no point.

/ The one caveat here is that the one guy who overlooks the self-checkout lines needs to actually be doing his job.  If I'm trying to buy beer or if the scale gets confused, I shouldn't have to yell at the guy to get his attention.
 
2014-03-27 10:10:43 AM  

Sybarite: I use self-checkout when I shop at any store that offers it, and I rarely if ever have any problem with it. I don't know if they're just a lot better here than they are in the UK or if the people trying to use them are just idiots.


I'm guessing a little bit of both.

I will use them if I have just one or two items and the traditional cashier staffed lines are long-ish, and I've only ever had a problem with very, very light items, or items that can possibly have a weight variance beyond that programmed into the system, but that's actually pretty damned rare.

And I *NEVER* got so frustrated that I resorted to stealing.
 
2014-03-27 10:30:28 AM  
There are a few problems with these:

1.  Pain in the ass.
2.  Shoplifting.
3.  Reduced impulse buys of gum and magazines.

It's really a self-correcting problem.  If you go to the low-low price store, you're going to be more induced to use self-checkout.  For example, my local HD usually has only one register open.  This induces customers to use self-checkout.  My local Lowe's has several registers open most of the time.
 
2014-03-27 10:30:29 AM  
How old are these people? The only people I've ever seen having an issue are the walking dead and it's generally because they don't read the on screen prompts.
 
2014-03-27 10:33:02 AM  
I like the self-serve aisles because the cashiers get all pissy when I ask them to scan the barcode on my ass.
 
2014-03-27 10:33:05 AM  
Usually when I sohp it will be early on the weekends and I will use the self checkout because all the old ladies are lined up at the 2 registers that are open with cart loads of cat food. I have accidentally not paid for something once. A bottle of Gatorade rolled under my reusable bags I had in the cart and I didnt use all my bags so when I got to the car there it was. I wanted to go pay for it but knowing my luck they probably would have called the cops on me.
 
2014-03-27 10:33:16 AM  
I used to work at a POS company.  I was even recruited to work on those machines but the commute would have been lousy.

I like them.  No silly chit chat with the cashier.  If they are in a good mood (ie the scales are working), I can check out faster with them than most cashiers can with their setup.
 
2014-03-27 10:34:04 AM  

Sybarite: I use self-checkout when I shop at any store that offers it, and I rarely if ever have any problem with it. I don't know if they're just a lot better here than they are in the UK or if the people trying to use them are just idiots.


Safeway Grocery doesn't have them and I hate having to wait in a long line because management refuses to staff the checkout properly.  Giant Grocery does and they're great. There's enough competition that any savings from reduced labor costs will show up in prices.  People's jobs get overtaken by technology all the time.
 
2014-03-27 10:34:54 AM  

Sybarite: I use self-checkout when I shop at any store that offers it, and I rarely if ever have any problem with it. I don't know if they're just a lot better here than they are in the UK or if the people trying to use them are just idiots.


I've noticed that there can be a lot of difference in quality between different supermarket chains. The ones at the supermarket close to me work perfectly. Others can be extremely squirrely, for example always saying that I removed an item from the basket although I haven't touched anything, or not recognizing the correct weight for the item.
 
2014-03-27 10:37:38 AM  

Galloping Galoshes: Sybarite: I use self-checkout when I shop at any store that offers it, and I rarely if ever have any problem with it. I don't know if they're just a lot better here than they are in the UK or if the people trying to use them are just idiots.

Safeway Grocery doesn't have them and I hate having to wait in a long line because management refuses to staff the checkout properly.  Giant Grocery does and they're great. There's enough competition that any savings from reduced labor costs will show up in prices.  People's jobs get overtaken by technology all the time.


Where are you? All the Safeway's I've been to have them.
 
2014-03-27 10:41:06 AM  
The only issue I have had in recent memory was with buying a birthday card...as the little scanner down the belt couldn't see it flattened.  Solution: use the card to prop up the envelope flap.  Since then? 0 problems.  I find them convenient for having only a handful of items...but anything past 5 or 6 I'd rather have a clerk.
 
2014-03-27 10:45:11 AM  
I use them all the time, unless I have too much shiat I don't want to bag or if I'm buying alcohol. It's faster and easier. I've never had to steal anything.

Sucks for you if your skillset only consists of being able to run groceries over a scanner. But I'm not going to weep for you, especially since apparently I can do your skill better and faster than you at a self check out.
 
2014-03-27 10:47:59 AM  
I really only ever encounter two problems with self-scan checkouts:

1. They're closed because they're b0rked
2. They're being used by old and/or impatient people who dick them all up and take forever

My single biggest problem in grocery stores, however, remains asswipes who stand around blocking things up while chit-chatting with people.
 
2014-03-27 10:51:32 AM  
I use them when appropriate (less than 10 things, no alcohol) and have never had a problem.  If I have more my grocery has 22 staffed lanes I can use.  I don't think the 4 self checkout lanes are keeping some kid from paying for college.
 
2014-03-27 10:54:42 AM  
Bonus:  I have shopped at my grocery long enough that on the rare chance I'm say, buying a bottle of wine and the staffed lanes are running at full capacity, the self check attendants know me well enough that they don't have to have me come show my license etc.  They just hit the keys and wave me through.

(I'm 30 years past legal drinking age, so it's not like there's a chance in hell they're letting a kid buy without verifying)
 
2014-03-27 10:55:59 AM  
I have no problems with the self-checkout machines. They've had them for years in the grocery stores in my area, and the primary issues I encounter are user errors; most frequent is people who ignore the posted item limit and try to do self-checkout with a full cart, necessitating constant cashier intervention because they keep having to move items on and off the scale.
 
2014-03-27 10:58:44 AM  
It's easy to say that the self checkout registers take away jobs from cashiers and bag boys and such, but let's get real, even without them, stores still wouldn't hire any more of those people and still would keep their stores understaffed. Of the Wal-Marts here that don't have them, they still only have two or maybe three registers open, even at peak business time, and the lines trail towards the back of the store. At least with the self checkout registers, you can get in and out much faster.

They're also an excuse for grocery stores to eliminate union influence. It's a low skilled (relatively) high paying entry level job, so of course the stores are going to do everything in their power to get rid of them,
 
2014-03-27 11:01:05 AM  

Sybarite: I use self-checkout when I shop at any store that offers it, and I rarely if ever have any problem with it. I don't know if they're just a lot better here than they are in the UK or if the people trying to use them are just idiots.


For groceries, they work as advertised.  For DIY stores (Lowes, Home Depot), the suck.  If you are buying large, unwieldy things like garden tools, or small light things like a few fasteners the machines always get confused.
 
2014-03-27 11:01:39 AM  
I use them, and occasionally have problems, but then again, so do clerks.

They don't take up much space, and there are always regular lines open, express and normal, with about the same length of line.

Why do people care so much about having options?
 
2014-03-27 11:07:02 AM  
Unwanted item in bagging area.


Do you wish to continue?


Unwanted item in bagging area.


Please wait for assistance.

img.fark.net
 
2014-03-27 11:08:37 AM  
I kind of wonder how much cost these machines are saving companies...  Sure, you only need one checker for 4 or so check stands, but self-checks don't move people as fast as a moderately good human checker.  Even if you use the machine properly, and it doesn't experience any stupid issues (such as "please wait for assistance" suddenly appearing on the screen for absolutely no apparent reason, forcing you to stand around until that one checker who is staffing the self-check is able to make it over to you to reset whatever nonsensical error just occurred (and for which there is no explanation they are able to offer for why it happened), just the nature of the machine's interface is fairly slow to use, when compared to the interface that is given to a human checker (for example, having to scan each individual item, while a human checker is given the option of simply entering a quantity and scanning only one of the item, when purchasing 20 cans of soup, etc).

I'm sure these companies have done the calculations and found that they save more than they cost, but I am very curious about just how much money they do save...
 
2014-03-27 11:09:12 AM  
I see some Farkers spend spare time on the Consumerist.

Get over your butthurt. I use both. When I just want to grab a few items at the local store it's convenient not to have to sit behind some biatch with 200 groceries and coupons. When I have my young children with me and/or a bunch of stuff I'd much rather go to a human being. Especially when it comes to produce.

What I really can't stand is people who don't know how to use scanners, or are slow-ass bastards, using the self-scanning lines.
 
2014-03-27 11:11:01 AM  

RockofAges: Galloping Galoshes: Sybarite: I use self-checkout when I shop at any store that offers it, and I rarely if ever have any problem with it. I don't know if they're just a lot better here than they are in the UK or if the people trying to use them are just idiots.

Safeway Grocery doesn't have them and I hate having to wait in a long line because management refuses to staff the checkout properly.  Giant Grocery does and they're great. There's enough competition that any savings from reduced labor costs will show up in prices.  People's jobs get overtaken by technology all the time.

I agree. Unemployment isn't a problem right now, and corporate profits are at an all time low. Also, since it's not my job, and minimum wage earners don't really need the money, I can make statements like this with impunity.


Think of the buggy whip manufacturers!
 
2014-03-27 11:11:42 AM  
Yeah, they're problematic for stupid people. Me, I'm unsatisfied that I can't walk in, hand a list to a shop-girl, and have her collect the listed items, bag them, and then run my card for me.
 
2014-03-27 11:11:47 AM  
The biggest thing I like about them is that during off-peak hours stores with them have a lot more checkouts open. A store with them will have the requisite one or two staffed lanes, but also a bunch of self-checkouts. A store without them will have the same one or two staffed lanes.
 
2014-03-27 11:13:31 AM  

RockofAges: Lots of elitist asshats in this thread. Guess what, folks? Your "skillset" is probably worse than the average checkout clerk, you just have the right connections.


Yes, that's the typical loser response. It's not my fault I'm a loser, everyone else has connections! If only I had connections!

What connections does a plumber or an electrician have? They have more valuable skillsets than a grocery bagger, developed through their own efforts. What connections does a coder or IT person have? Yet more valuable than a grocery bagger. In fact, if you've graduated high school, which takes 0 connections, your skillset is equivalent to a grocery clerk so I doubt there's very many people with less skill then the guy who runs groceries over a scanner and has the machine tell him how much it costs.

But you just go on with your victimhood and crying about how everyone else got where they are by pure chance or through "connections". I'm sure it's working out great for you so far.
 
2014-03-27 11:19:47 AM  

RockofAges: Lots of elitist asshats in this thread. Guess what, folks? Your "skillset" is probably worse than the average checkout clerk, you just have the right connections.


I'm sure you don't use light bulbs out of solidarity with all the candle makers their invention put out of business as well, right you sanctimonious twat?
 
2014-03-27 11:20:41 AM  

mutterfark: Bulls**t. They were designed to increase profit at the expense of a human's job. If you believed that tripe, there's a bridge for sale this side of the pond.;b

My small protest: I refuse to shop at stores that use these. If you can't be bothered to pay real people, I refuse to give your job killing ass any money to replicate your business model in another area.

/now I'm off to try and raise sea level with my precious bodily fluids:/


They don't use them to increase profit, they use them to make a profit.  The average supermarket has a profit margin of about 1-3%.

Consumers are very price conscious at supermarkets, food stuffs are getting more expensive, workers are getting more expensive due to a variety of reasons.  (Minimum wage increases, cost of healthcare, cost of workers compensation insurance, lawsuits from employees, unemployment insurance, etc)

The more expensive you make an employee, the more feasible it becomes to replace them with a machine.
 
2014-03-27 11:21:31 AM  

TheGreatGazoo


I used to work at a POS company. I was even recruited to work on those machines but the commute would have been lousy.


Do you mean point-of-sale or piece-of...?

Both? :-)
 
2014-03-27 11:25:10 AM  

RockofAges: Lots of elitist asshats in this thread. Guess what, folks? Your "skillset" is probably worse than the average checkout clerk, you just have the right connections.


I'd bet your average checkout clerk is a teenager in high school still developing a skillset.

But, whatever. I'm sure that the difference between that kid that goes on to graduate, attend college and develop a career is just the connections she made swiping groceries while the guy next to her is still doing it at 50 with no degree solely because the wrong people keep coming through his lines.

There are plenty of reasons plenty of people are stuck without opportunity through no fault of their own, but I doubt you'll actually know any of them. Your take on the problem smacks of pompous self-importance, lack of effort and the notion that it's everybody's fault but your own that you're not going anywhere in life. There's a huge gulf between people who really don't have opportunity and people who expect everyone else to make opportunities happen for them. Based on that comment, I'd bet good money you're on the wrong side of it.
 
2014-03-27 11:27:59 AM  

TV's Vinnie: Unwanted item in bagging area.

Do you wish to continue?

Unwanted item in bagging area.

Please wait for assistance.

[img.fark.net image 576x525]


That.

Also, why in the BLOODY BLUE FARKWAFFLES would you ever close a self-checkout lane? For some reason, a Safeway near me (5th & K, NW DC) always has 2 or 3 out of the 6 closed. I've noticed this in other places with self checkout too, and it seems too common to be software failures (unless they're less reliable than coin-sorting machines, in which case, it's probably cheaper to hire some dead-eyed teenager).
 
2014-03-27 11:31:07 AM  
Wait, you have to PAY at the self check out???

oooopsie!
 
2014-03-27 11:33:54 AM  

TV's Vinnie: Unwanted item in bagging area.


Do you wish to continue?


Unwanted item in bagging area.


Please wait for assistance.

[img.fark.net image 576x525]


Wouldn't be half as bad if the meatbag assigned to supervise the machines was actually at the terminal and not just wandering around gossiping with security or customer service.
 
2014-03-27 11:37:34 AM  

skozlaw: My single biggest problem in grocery stores, however, remains asswipes who stand around blocking things up while chit-chatting with people.


My pet peeve in the grocery is when someone (usually old) parks their cart on one side of the aisle and stands adjacent to it on the other side of the aisle looking for something they can't seem to find.  If you are going to take more than a few seconds to select the item from the shelf, move your damned cart to the same side of the aisle you are standing on so people can go around you.  It's really not a difficult concept!
 
2014-03-27 11:39:01 AM  

bdub77: I see some Farkers spend spare time on the Consumerist.

Get over your butthurt. I use both. When I just want to grab a few items at the local store it's convenient not to have to sit behind some biatch with 200 groceries and coupons. When I have my young children with me and/or a bunch of stuff I'd much rather go to a human being. Especially when it comes to produce.

What I really can't stand is people who don't know how to use scanners, or are slow-ass bastards, using the self-scanning lines.


This. Elderly people using the self-checkout slowly and with much assistance, then paying by check.
 
2014-03-27 11:39:09 AM  

MugzyBrown: mutterfark: Bulls**t. They were designed to increase profit at the expense of a human's job. If you believed that tripe, there's a bridge for sale this side of the pond.;b

My small protest: I refuse to shop at stores that use these. If you can't be bothered to pay real people, I refuse to give your job killing ass any money to replicate your business model in another area.

/now I'm off to try and raise sea level with my precious bodily fluids:/

They don't use them to increase profit, they use them to make a profit.  The average supermarket has a profit margin of about 1-3%.

Consumers are very price conscious at supermarkets, food stuffs are getting more expensive, workers are getting more expensive due to a variety of reasons.  (Minimum wage increases, cost of healthcare, cost of workers compensation insurance, lawsuits from employees, unemployment insurance, etc)

The more expensive you make an employee, the more feasible it becomes to replace them with a machine.


Awwwww. Someone pat Mugzy on the head and scratch his ears. He sticks up for his master, even if he has to throw numbers which are irrelevant without more information together with unsubstantiated speculation at us.
 
2014-03-27 11:39:30 AM  
I just want to know why the scanners in the self check kiosks aren't as good as the ones in the regular lanes.

I used to work as a supermarket checker. I could scan stuff FAST because the scanner could pick out a UPC without any problems (so long as the window was clean). The ones in self check kiosks, not so much... sometimes I have to keep waving the damned item over it because it just isn't picking it up.

I do like the self check lanes when I only have a few items, they just become a real pain if you have more than the express lane 12-15 items. At that point it's better to just use a staffed lane.
 
2014-03-27 11:40:23 AM  

Three Crooked Squirrels: skozlaw: My single biggest problem in grocery stores, however, remains asswipes who stand around blocking things up while chit-chatting with people.

My pet peeve in the grocery is when someone (usually old) parks their cart on one side of the aisle and stands adjacent to it on the other side of the aisle looking for something they can't seem to find.  If you are going to take more than a few seconds to select the item from the shelf, move your damned cart to the same side of the aisle you are standing on so people can go around you.  It's really not a difficult concept!



And the oversized baby carts that can't HELP but take up half an aisle, left 20 feet away with the kid(s) strapped in as mom shops for 90 jars of baby food.


We all have irritants in the stores, our life, the politics tab, wherever.  We can either all order online and never interact with other frail and fallible human beings, or we can suck it up and deal with the fact that none of us are perfect.
 
2014-03-27 11:44:19 AM  
These work amazingly well and have reduced my shopping time with a 30 second checkout experience.

People need to stop being ridiculously bad at existing.
 
2014-03-27 11:45:46 AM  
A self service checkout machine doesn't have to be paid a wage. That is why they are there.
 
2014-03-27 11:48:14 AM  
the most annoying thing about them is how they aren't really conducive to lines and dickweeds like to not even check if the three people standing with a gap to let others walk past are waiting

akula: I just want to know why the scanners in the self check kiosks aren't as good as the ones in the regular lanes.


knowing absolutely nothing about scanners, i would assume they couldn't use as good a laser because shiatlords will stick their eyes in it and sue
 
2014-03-27 11:48:31 AM  
So one in three customers can't follow simple instructions plainly printed on the screen in front of them?  Yeah, sounds about right.

I used to have a generally high opinion of the world, but the older I get the more I realize how many people are irredeemable morons.
 
2014-03-27 11:49:26 AM  

TV's Vinnie: Unwanted item in bagging area.


Do you wish to continue?


Unwanted item in bagging area.


Please wait for assistance.

[img.fark.net image 576x525]


Or the reverse.  Scan your pack of bubble gum and it won't farking proceed because it doesn't recognize it in the bagging area.  Or when it yells at me because I didn't put my items in bags.
 
2014-03-27 11:52:40 AM  
As someone who had to run these for Meijer when they were first installed and train users how to use them, I have to say that these devices actually work incredibly well.  It's the people who are using them (the customers) and poor performing employees running them that can make them an inconvenience.

If customers simply wait for the item they just scanned to be weighed by the scale before trying to scan another item, they'd be fine 99% of the time.  Unfortunately, the common population doesn't understand that's how these machines work, thus they introduce all sorts of errors into the system as they try and use the machine.  Then you get poor operation from employees who just override everything that comes up on their screen instead of trying to figure out why it came up in the first place.

One instance I was using the self-scanner just fine and was trying to move the two bags on the two bag racks over to the open area on the scale so I could start bagging two more bags.  When I lifted just one of the bags slightly off the scale, the machine beeped at me (like it's supposed to) telling me items had been removed.  Before I had a change to put the items back down on the scale in a different place, the operator had already overridden my error message, so when I put the bags back down on the scale, I get another error and have to wait for the operator to override it again.  If the operator had simply not intervened, I never would have had a problem and wouldn't have had to wait on them.

As for people claiming these aren't for convenience, but to take away the expense of paying a cashier...it's way more expensive for the store to run those things that it is for them to hire cashiers.  Not only do they still need cashiers to run the machines, but they need to purchase and maintain all that (more expensive than a regular or express lane) equipment and hire someone way more qualified than a cashier for when things go wrong.

Maybe your stores are different than mine, but when's the last time you saw every single lane open in the first place and not during a holiday?  One cashier can effectively run four lanes now.  Since most stores don't have enough cashiers to open all the lanes all the time anyways (nor is it economical to do so), the self-serve stations are a great thing.
 
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