As I stand patiently in line, I watch the chaos around me ensue.¬†I¬†figure the¬†couple in front of me must have been in line for a very long time. I saw them in line 10 minutes ago… when I had first entered the store. There is a lot of sighing… head-shaking… and staring. People look confused and are craning their necks, trying to catch a glimpse of the activity ahead … maybe it’s a celebrity?¬†But there is no rock star… just¬†the¬†hum of computerized machinery; sounds and lights of modern technology-¬† the SELF SERVICE CHECK OUT KIOSK.¬† beep beep beep!
There seem to be 4 self service kiosks but the line isn’t moving. Either the customers are¬†conducting¬†a tutorial on the machines or the machines have crashed. It’s a mystery at this point. There seems to be only 1 live person manning the 4 kiosks… and she can only deal with 1 customer at a time. While the customers at the kiosks¬†are¬†frantically looking for human assistance the customers in line are getting more and more impatient. Meanwhile the 1 regular check out line with¬†the real person is moving along smoothly.
Hmmm, what’s wrong with this picture? The stores have obviously implemented these machines in order to be more efficient. They hire¬†less manpower and are able to put in more kiosks in place of full check out stands. Now, it stands to reason that there should be less of a line-up. This proves not to be the case when customers are “stuck” at the kiosks. The outcome? Frustrated customers and longer lines.
These self service kiosks exist in other cities.¬†But seemingly the same problems do not persist there. In fact, it’s been observed that customers¬†elsewhere actually prefer scanning there own items.¬†But why? Why is there such a divergence in opinions?¬†
I’m all for efficiency but sometimes I wonder if we are ready this type of technology. Maybe these kiosks aren’t ready for us humans.
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