The Albertson’s grocery store chain, which does business in the south and west, is eliminating self-checkout lanes in its stores because the stores want “the opportunity to talk to customers more.” According to the article, other chains are considering following suit.
I’m opposed to getting rid of self-checkout lanes. They are irritating, of course, with the female voice that constantly tells you to “place the item in the bag” and asks “do you have any coupons?” But I’m willing to put up with the irritation in order to avoid waiting in line behind someone who has a huge cartload.
I’m curious, however, about what the Albertsons chain thinks cashiers are going to talk to the customers about. It’s as if they envision a return to the days of Sam Drucker behind the counter at the Hooterville General Store, where a customer and Sam could sit down by the cracker barrel and trade gossip about the crazy doings of the Douglases at their Green Acres farm. It makes me wonder if anyone in management at Albertsons has actually been through a grocery store check-out lane recently.
I’m not sure what I would do if one of the local Kroger or Giant Eagle cashiers tried to engage me in conversation. The harried cashiers quickly swiping items typically don’t even make eye contact, much less engage in deep discussions. And even if the cashiers were riveting conversationalists, I’m confident that the people waiting in line aren’t going to be happy about the cashier and the customer chewing the fact instead of moving as quickly as they can.
Long live self-checkout lanes!