Sunday, January 25, 2009

Check Yourself Out Baby!

I swung by Ralph's to pick up a PBA free sippy cup after Ezra's disappeared on our last trip to Eilings Park. Sick and grouchy, I avoided the lines and went straight to the new "check yourself out" (ooh baby!) self scanning systems. I was out of there in less than a minute. Cool. Simple. No "have a nice day" schtick.

Later, I went to the library to pick up a book I had on hold, which was in a self retrieve hold section. I approached the friendly staff at the library counter to check out the book, but could not miss the large signs directing me to the new self check-out system. I'd already checked myself out once today, but twice? First times a charm, but checking my self out the second time around had lost its magic. It wasn't my butt, or a bad hair day. It was the lack of human interaction and what this automated approach bodes for the future of the supermarket employees and library staff. Were the friendly folks there to assist me should I have any trouble scanning my sippy cup or book, credit card or library card thinking the same thing?
Please. Ask me a question. SHOW THE SYSTEM that I'm still needed here!
I sometimes avoid conversations in line, based on my mood or the mood of the potential chat mate, but other times, I'm the one to start up a friendly exchange. And they have value. I'm not saying chatting with strangers in line is the bread and butter of community cohesiveness, but they are like a dash of salt to a tomato, or a dab of color that adds interest to a snowy landscape.

Am I sentimental and resisting the positive advances of technology, or is my simple desire for human interaction a quality that corporations simply undervalue?

Share your story of checking yourself out. (That butt is not so bad, is it?) How did it make you feel? How DOES automation bode for the future of our employment stats in a down economy?

Have a super great day!


Trekking Left said...

The Trekking Left automated voice system says, "I enjoyed your post."

Kristin Anderson said...

Thank you! Glad to know it is occasionally read! Have you tried any of these self check outs yet?

Trekking Left said...

No, I haven't. For some strange reason, they scare me a little ... like maybe I'll rip myself off :)