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Self-checkout? No thanks! And, stop bullying me into it!

In this week's Everything King, Wendy thinks self-service seems more like no service.
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This new obsession with self- service and do-it-yourself(ness) is beginning to get on my nerves.

I started to make a list of businesses/retailers that now want us to do it everything ourselves.

The cable company insists I run through steps 1 through 8 in the manual before I even attempt to contact a technician.

Nobody wants to actually talk to me anymore. Just push “1” and listen to all the robotic prompts.

The most recent is the big push to use those self-service kiosks at the grocery store. 

I call them no-service.

I swear it feels like bullying. They have workers there just to urge you to use the self-checkout. 

Recently, after I said I didn’t really want to, the clerk actually grabbed my cart and dragged it and me to one of them with a promise to show me. I didn’t really want to be shown. 

I assume it is just another way to cut back on giving real people jobs. Considering there are like 25 checkout lanes and only three open at any given time leads me to believe the corporation is saving plenty.

I didn’t want to use it. I kicked myself later for not speaking up.

I know employees are likely told to recruit us to the “new and exciting” way of doing things and likely reprimanded if they don’t pressure the customer.

What I should have said was:

“I really don’t want to use these because I think they will eventually mean the loss of your job and those of many of your colleagues. I imagine you need the job and I want you to keep it so I respectfully decline to use these but thanks, anyway.”

I know of one instance where a friend did just that and the cashier silently mouthed “thank you.”

On a much more selfish note, I don’t want to learn it. 

I don’t want to be the loser holding up the line because I can’t find the dumb bar code to scan. I don’t want to bag my own groceries. I suck at it. 

When the conveyor belt is moving and the next person’s order is getting perilously close to catching up with mine, I have such angst. Already, I feel guilt for still wanting a plastic bag. There is such a big rush. 

I literally toss the cat food on top of the bread under the bananas that are escaping out the top of the bag while I hurry to toss it in the cart yelling:


We’ve already been trained to pump our own gas, use the ATM for cash and a slew of other things.

Some restaurants think it's posh to have customers pick out a cut of meat and then cook it ourselves. They call that classy. I call that every frigging night of my life.

We even take our own pictures now.

The selfie. Also, stupid. We crowd into one frame and the person closest to the frame looks like they have a giant head, one nostril and a crazy eye because they are staring at the button not the camera. 

Never mind the three chins you have if you don’t have an arm the length of an orangutan to shoot yourself from a high enough vantage point.

But I digress.

At the end of the day we do need people. We need people who know their jobs and do them. We should appreciate those who have trained for an occupation.

We need social interaction even if that comes in the form of a quick exchange with a cashier.

We need to look out for each other in a world where we are often no more than a number on a bottom line.

In this instance I am saying no to DIY.


About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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