So I was at the Walmart over the weekend. I needed a string of Christmas lights and and something to help put them in my window. That's it. So I used the self check out lanes and it was easy. Normally, however, I hate using the self check out lanes with a passion. Many of us do, but not for the reason that gets a lot of social media play.

A lot of times people cite supporting the checkers at the registers as a reason for not using self check out. A close second, the idea that an employee of the store should do the work, not the person buying the goods.

That's all good, especially for the jobs you hope you're potentially saving by waiting 15 minutes behind three other folks with a cart load of groceries. However, I tend to believe if the big companies in America want to eliminate jobs, they'll do it regardless of whether we like self checkouts, ordering kiosks, or any other automated process that might eliminate jobs. Heck I think if a company can fatten the bottom line with less human resources they'll do it, regardless if technology helps them or they just make those who still work there work harder.

No I don't use self checkouts very often because they're a pain in the ass. The more things I'm checking out, the more of a chance the self checker will screw up and I'll have to wait for some employee to come over, fix the problem, override the machine, or make sure I'm of age to buy whatever it is I want to purchase. Then there's accidentally ringing something up twice. The machine not recognizing that yes, I have placed the Snickers bar in the bag. And frankly, it's a pain in the ass to scan and bag eight bottles of soda.

That's also why a lot of people don't like self checkouts as well. Dalhouise University in Halifix did a study that suggested the reason people don't like using self checkouts: Bad technology. Sylvain Charlebois, a professor at Dalhousie University specializing in food distribution and policy told that stores are "going to have to do a better job in getting the right technology in place if they want to capitalize on self-checkout."

I think that's about right. Sure, if I'm stopping in for one, two, three items that are easily scanned and bagged. I'll go for the self checkout. Add in items priced by weight. Items that are heavy and hard to bag. Or more items than will comfortably fit in the small space they give you to bag. Forget it. I'll go wait in one of three checkouts the store has opened. Or better yet, take advantage of the pick up service. They'll load everything in my car, ask for a digital signature and I'm done. That might really be the direction retail is heading towards. Click, click, done.


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