The number of times I have seen

Just a girl

standing here in front of the groceries scanner

screaming "there is no unexpected item in the bagging area"!

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Until they come to their senses I will continue to shoplift an item equal to the value of my labour every time I check out. To be fair I am only shop lifting my normal charge out rate and not my consultancy fee.

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I spent several years of my misspent youth as a checkout operator at my local supermarket, in the good old days when self checkouts were as much a sci fi pipe dream as living on the moon. This has resulted in me spending the rest of my life judging other checkout operators harshly for their inability to scan and bag my items to my exactingly high standards, since I'VE BEEN THERE, I've done their job and done it better than them, and even though it's been 25 odd years since I was a checkout operator I know I would do it better than them EVEN NOW.

This has led me to the sobering realisation that I'm the one customer that prefers self serve checkouts because I can bag my groceries MY way and to MY standards, and provided the machine behaves itself I can check myself out faster than any human manned checkout could. I swear the machines sense that I am a former cashier and remain on their best behaviour in the face of my checkout hyper competence, since apart from the occasional double scanning mishap or a machine getting confused as to how many bags it just asked me to place on the bagging area, I've experienced none of the horror stories y'all have just outlined.

Of course I share the rage and dismay about the eternal ratcheting of capitalist greed on these jobs and us as customers, which renders my embrace of self checkout as a means to avoid sub standard grocery bagging and human interactions hypocrisy of the highest order. It would be different if they made the self checkouts optional for tech savvy misandrists like me, and left adequate manned checkouts available for everyone else.

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They'll keep them here in Australia, we love rules. Our corporate overlords have told us that self checkout is the future, so we'll contort ourselves to comply.

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Nov 10·edited Nov 10

Whenever I see my raddled, fast-ageing, thrice-chinned pensioner visage in the monitor video, I think "Christ, that's hideous", followed by, "Since you clearly don't trust me, why should I trust you?", which leads inexorably to a shouty mental headline, BIG TWO SUPERMARKETS POST RECORD PROFITS DURING WORST COST-OF-LIVING CRISIS IN AUSTRALIAN HISTORY.

Kunz, all of them.

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I quite like the concept of ‘friendly, efficient, self-service’ … like picking the individual mushrooms you want and putting them in the specially-provided brown paper bags that nicely shroud whether you’re buying a bog standard white button or a lovely lovely Swiss brown or something even more exotic.

As I do my Saturday morning shop I sometimes like to think about doing the duopoly enough financial harm that they need to invest squillions into the kind of tech that will follow my fat arse around the supermarket from the fruit and veg section where I’ve been filmed stuffing a kilo of exotic fungii into a brown bag for the next half hour, including the obligatory ‘double-back’ because I’ve forgotten the imported butter that goes so well with my mushrooms, all the way to the checkout to make sure I’m keying-in what I’ve actually taken from the shelf. And how different a variety of mushroom one could plausibly claim to have mistaken for a white button if and when the ruse is discovered. A Swiss brown maybe, an oyster or a shiitake probably not.

But then I figure the lack of competition means they can probably just pass on the cost of all this tech to us anyway. And if the tech they help to sponsor starts popping up everywhere else I figure I’d indirectly be helping to sponsor the creation of a real life Cyberdyne Systems.

So I go back to whistling along with the 80s music being blasted over the speakers and hope that they haven’t come up with a way to read my dark, dark thoughts.

‘Think happy thoughts, Abe,’ I force my inner monologue to say. ‘Make them think you’re not a threat.’

‘Thassrite. I’m not thief but a lover and a real fun guy.’

‘Not a thief and lover of real fungi.’

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Time for a Butlerian Jihad!

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My heavy canvas shopping bag always freaks out the local shop-dalek, requiring the assistant to come and reassure the machine that everything is OK, even before I've scanned anything. So I mostly shop at a different store that has human cashiers.

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i got this for the first time this week then looked up and thought "great another camera taking pictures of not only my face but my receding hairline and possibly baldspot on my crown" and then had to get the beleaguered shopping assistant back 4 times to sort out stuff i was obviously doing wrong. And then she proceeded to give the toddler next to me a sticker and looked at me and said i wasnt getting one and i promised to do better next time . . . . . lol

I wonder if they have calculated in for an adjustment period for customers to get used to the new system and what kind of metrics they allow for stuff ups once it gets past that point and then the time spent fixing problems vs customer satisfaction and whether it will drive them to go somewhere else and what the point is where that happens. And if they'll follow the US trend about a year after and scrap it because it is impinging on the bottom line. I also hate the guilty feeling they try and lay on you to mug you . . . i mean, round your bill up to the nearest dollar, and that 79cents then goes to a charity. You know that because you cant claim that against your tax that Woolies then adds all those little bits up and donates them to charity and uses that lump sum as an offset against their own tax? Which i wouldnt mind so much if they matched the donation but they still get a massive benefit out of screwing us over even more. But you cant complain because wont somebody think of the children. You just know some executive somewhere who thought it up has his picture on the arsehole wall of fame and got to add a shiny new toy to his garage because of it. Scam artists.

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I forgot. Don't you have caring children who might stock the fridge and pantry with the basics shortly before your arrival home?

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I don't usually have an issue while holding multiple items, but if you put something in the bag and it's a bit dark in there, the camera can't check that the scanned item is what you put in the bag, mainly with vegetables in bags.

Also, recently, I selected two items because there was a two for one thing, "scanned" the first one, got a slight wobble from the robot but it seemed happy, scanned the second and other items, and then it had its hissy fit, so a disinterested child came to my rescue, checked nothing, and fixed the problem. It was only afterwards I realised I had shoplifted the first item.

They aren't going anywhere for a while yet.

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I'm late to this one, but I am in two minds about it. Scanning items and bagging them is drudge work. Not unskilled, just boring and unfulfilling for most. I want people to have good, fulfilling jobs. This isn't your corner store where you can have a chat. There is always pressure as people line up to keep it moving fast.

However, I like scanning my own items and minimising interactions with people because I am full of social anxiety.

What pisses me off is the lack of space for a trolley. It's fine if you've got a basket with a few items, but if you've got a trolley full of stuff, it's a fucking joke.

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Does anyone else get an overwhelming urge to see what the AI makes of a red onion with an elderly dick lying next to it? Yep, one day I'm gonna get tased...

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I have often wondered what would happen if I place one hand over the camera window that faces you.

Might have to try it out….

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Can't stand self checkout thingies - I prefer a human who gets paid to total up my purchases. And the big retailers don't pay my enough to do the work myself.

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