Check It Out

Steep learning curve

On the fifth day on our journey from Loganville, GA to Seabeck, WA, we went to the Opry in Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN. We loved the show – the singing, dancing, set changes, the trapeze artist and the juggler-ventriloquist-comedian. We loved it all.

We needed a few things from the grocery store for the next morning, so we swung by Kroger. By now it was almost 11:00PM. From all indications, we weren’t the only ones who needed a few things from the store. The self -check lines were ten deep. The manager opened another self-check station. As it turns out, there were no cashiers on duty. All purchases of groceries were self-check with the help of the “self-checkout assistant.”

We quickly headed over to the new open area and I began to self-check our groceries. I was on a steep learning curve. I’ve done this before at Home Depot for one or two items, but this was a grocery cart full. Donna Lee was happy to watch. I proceeded to checkout; dutifully scanning each item placing it in the plastic grocery bags as directed. I had to have the help of the “assistant self-checker” several times, which required chasing her down, but eventually we got it all rung up and paid for. I chalked this up as a personal world’s record (the first time I’ve ever done it) a learning experience. It’s not an experience I look forward to having again any time soon, but if it’s more practical sometime in the future, I’ll be better prepared to handle the assignment.

The Home Depot in Loganville usually requires me to walk to the distant sides of the store to get the help of a cashier, and no matter how much I have, or how inconvenient the walk, that’s what I’ve always done. I take the extra steps and time to get in line, and have the help of a cashier. I am better prepared for self-checking in the future. I am certain that self-checking is the wave of the future. We can all be certain that as the pressure to raise the minimum wage continues, retailers will use self-check to help offset their labor costs. We can only imagine the many other tasks, now performed by entry-level employees, like placing our orders at McDonald’s, will be performed by robots.

So if you, like my wife, look forward to the exchange with cashiers and others in restaurants and retail stores, prepare yourself: change is coming.

“It is not the strongest of leaders that survive,
 nor the most intelligent; instead, it is the ones 
that are most responsive to change.” 
 – Charles Darwin


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