Re: Self-service checkouts
I can't stand them. I avoid them, and their ilk, in every shop I go in. They are nonsensical and wasteful. It takes me longer to get my shopping through (time yourself... you can't be as quick with all the junk they put in your way like the bagging area scales, stupid touchscreen messages etc.), causes more inconvenience if something is missing a label / barcode / whatever, doesn't allow me to buy certain things (without one of the compulsory 2-3 members of staff who watch over the machines authorising it for you anyway), and stops me doing convenient things like topping up a Tesco International Calling Card, buying stamps at the checkout, etc. etc. etc. Why on earth would anyone touch them unless they have literally one or two items (in which case I would tend to go to a smaller and nearer newsagent or equivalent for those items anyway rather than bother with a huge superstore that takes me ten minutes to park and walk through to buy the one item I need). And let's not forget - 99% of the time, there is a QUEUE to use those checkouts. WHY!?!??!?!?! I love playing the "beat-ya" game of pushing my trolley / basket down to a proper, human cashier and coming out the other end quicker than those with less items trying to use the automated systems. And don't even get me started on the old granny / stupid idiot phenomenon that can treble your time at those things.
I have the same problems with those machines in WHSmith, banks, and everywhere else. I don't see the advantage for any of them. I'm hard-pressed to think of a place that would benefit from them enough to justify the cost and hassle. Seriously, if you have to employ someone to encourage people to use them and help them use them, couldn't you just have put that person behind a till? I honestly don't see that it scales for the companies that use them. If it did, we could have done it decades ago and every shop would have them now and there'd be no such thing as a cashier.
And what happens when the store is busy? They put on more cashiers. They don't trundle out more automated checkouts. It's very telling.
And, besides all those measurable and provable consequences, give me a human. Because I'm not a robot and you really don't want me thinking of your company and staff as faceless corporate drones. Self-service checkouts are like automated telephone systems. I'll tolerate them if it gives me an advantage. I've yet to see an advantage for me, and thus I avoid them wherever possible and "just press 9 to talk to a 'bag of mostly water' instead".