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Self Checkout, Sticky hands, Evil eyes and Why Job Loss is kinda Your Fault

by Danielle Ford on

It’s interesting how I always hear people complaining about the economy and how there aren’t enough jobs, yet I am seeing longer and longer lines forming at the self check out everyday.

True story from NYE 2011:

My b/f and I go to CVS across from The Hard Rock Hotel, where we were staying, because we were going out that night and I had forgotten my curling iron. Once I’d picked out a curling iron, a ring pop and some of those awesome sticky hands that you can fling onto walls, we were ready to make our purchase. We get to the front of the store and come to find that there are about 6 self check outs ready to be used (all being operated by 1 employee) and no one working the regular check out. I ask the guy nicely if he wouldn’t mind ringing my items up in the regular check out, to which he answers with a blank stare like I’m a complete f*cking moron to not want to use the self checkout with only my 3 small items. He tells me he’ll help me use the self check out, then I tell him that I’d really prefer him to just use the regular one, and then he picks up his phone and calls someone to come to the front. 5 minutes later, a woman appears and starts to ring up my stuff. The scowl on her face and the evil eyes she’s darting at me inform me that she’s annoyed that I interrupted whatever she was doing (probably eating a Hot Pocket and reading US Weekly). “I’m not trying to be a pain in the ass, I just really hate self check outs because they’re killing jobs so.. you’re welcome.” I say to her. She stops what she’s doing, looks straight at me and says, “Actually, since we went to all self check out, this store has gotten much busier and we’ve had to hire more people to stock the shelves, so it’s actually creating jobs.” Me: “Did your boss tell you that?” Her: “Those are just the facts.” Conversation ends because I’m not about to waste my time arguing with 1 sheepish CVS employee.

It just baffles me how someone can be so ignorant misinformed dumb. There are literally 6+ checkouts and 1 checkout employee and she’s not only OK with this, but arguing for it.

Math isn’t my strongest attribute but let’s crunch some hypothetical numbers:

Let’s assume that throughout a 24 hour period, the store needs 4 check out employees at a time at a rate of $14 per hour. 14 x 4= $56 p/hr x 24 hours p/day= That’s $1344 a day CVS would spend on checker payroll if there were no self check out.

With self check out, you only need 1 person there at a time so $14 x 24 hours p/day= $336. So CVS is saving $978 p/day, plus the cost of worker’s comp and insurance, and there are now 5+ people out of a job.

Because the new self checkout is making lines go quicker, more people are shopping and CVS needs to hire 2 more shelf stockers. The pay is about 1/2 of that of a checker so hiring 2 stockers is about the same as paying 1 of the checkers that they lost.

CVS is happy because they’re increasing their profits by 50% and they somehow were able to convince their associates that this is a win-win situation for all.

CVS gets praised and I get the stink eye for asking an employee to please ring up my sticky hands. What a joke.

Self checkout is only one of the many ways that jobs are being replaced by robots. Hello, ATMs.. Everyone loves those new kiosks at the DMV, right? And the new gaming systems.. you can play poker, black jack, even roulette without dealing with a live person. As far as I see it, everyone has 2 options.. stop bitching about job loss and accept it, or start standing in line until you get served by a real person.

self checkout

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