How many times can we do something about things we really don’t like?
more Technically incorrect
Yes, we can avoid going to companies that let us down, but technology forces us into certain behaviors and just won’t let us go.
When, for example, did we ever agree that Square would continue to recognize us until we died, as soon as we were forced to use the service only once?
This brings me to the glorious subject of self-service checkout in supermarkets.
I thought it was just me, but I realize now that there are many people all over the world who find this deeply offensive. Especially since the technology doesn’t always seem to work so well. And especially since many supermarkets post staff to watch over your shoulder while you do it, like ghoulish supervisors at your first job.
Also: This supermarket doesn’t trust self-checkouts, so it installed this
These are sentiments shared by Megan Cotter.
When she performed the self-checkout tango and then had her receipt reviewed by a store employee, she was not happy.
“I was just working for free,” she said. told the Providence Journal.
Yes, but what can a buyer do? If you’re in a rush and the lines are long, the lure of self-checkout may be too great.
Still, Cotter decided she was tired of this naked tech takeover. Luckily, for her at least, she’s Democratic state Rep. Megan Cotter.
So she found two Republican senators who would support her quest. (It really does seem like self-checkout is a beautifully bipartisan issue.)
They created a bill that would prevent any store in Rhode Island from having more than eight automatic checkout lanes open at the same time.
Also: The #1 Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Grocery
That doesn’t seem like much, does it? Only very large stores will be affected, surely. However, there is another provision of the bill that is steeped in a certain gluttony.
Cotter and the other two state senators want Walmart to give shoppers a 10% discount if they scan 10 or more items at the self-checkout.
“Self-checkout is a way for grocery stores to avoid paying their employees by incentivizing customers to do the cashier job for free. It seems fair that if they take the cashier job, the customer gets something in return,” Cotter said. explained to the Journal.
You can see the intent behind that, of course. One can also see the potential for ramifications which can be a little unedifying.
If a shopper knows they’ll get a 10% discount for completing self-checkout tasks, won’t that turn every shopper into a self-checkout worshipper?
Americans will surely channel their best Black Friday muscle training and rush to self-service machines — which can, in fact, cause congestion and leave human cashiers a little idle.
Also: Get the most out of your groceries: how to avoid food wastee
Cotter thinks self-checkouts also discriminate against older people who may not be so good at using technology, so it’s a deeply worthy cause.
She admits, however, that her bill may not pass as currently worded.
You will be amazed to examine the symptoms of severe trauma yourself when I tell you that supermarket lobbyists are already gathering to fight Cotter. They protest that “the state will tell you how to run your business or leave”.
Isn’t that what more or less all states do? Yes, even in Florida.
However, I like to dream. Cotter’s bill passed as presented. Supermarket accountants and data analysts organize a cabal in a private room – in a nightclub – and discover that self-checkout might actually cost them money.
Then more lobbyists get involved and the brouhaha becomes more complex. They won’t know whether to limit their queues and lose money or fight to the end.
But then a savvy accountant will wonder, “Hey, we can make self-checkouts automatically increase the price of things by 10% when scanned. I bet the technology is simple. I mean, who knows how much do most groceries cost these days?”
And everyone will applaud.