The other edge of the technology sword…

Went to the Quick Chek in Florida, NY to get some breakfast today and was immediately thrown off by the presence of not 1 but 4-5 self-checkout stations where the registers used to be.  Now to be clear – I absolutely love the self-check.  Never really any lines to them, and it allows me to get in and out of the store very quick.  Still, it makes me wonder about the cashiers.  At a supermarket, you’ll generally have at least 10 checkout lines PLUS at least 4 self-check stations.  One person is watching the self check, while each checkout line has its own cashier.  In a small store like Quick Chek, we’ve now got 1 person watching the self checks (two this morning, one of which wasn’t wearing the traditional uniform) – where most mornings there were 3 cashiers present.  So yes, I get my fast convenience, but what happened to the other 2 cashiers?

For the business, its likely a financial win as the cost of implementation and maintenance of these advanced POS (Point Of Sale) systems likely costs much less than what they’d spend hiring and employing an equivalent number of human beings, but you lose that personal experience as well as the jobs in an economy that really needs them right now.

I can see the good in it, but the human factor just rubs me wrong.  That’s the price of progress I guess.

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