Automatic Cashiers versus Human Cashiers

Cashier - A cashier
Canada
February 20, 2007 6:01pm CST
Many grocery stores around Montreal started replacing cashiers with machines. For those who are not familiar with the concept, these are machines that allow you to scan the items you bought, yourself, then you put your items in bags, pay and leave. The store where I generally do my grocery has 4 of these machines. I tend to prefer the automatic cashiers to their human counterparts. Why so, you might ask At the beginning it was out of curiosity and because of the thrill of using a new technology. Then, I kept using these machines because I feel that the waiting times are smaller in front of automatic cashiers compared to human cashiers. Go figure out why? Or maybe this is just a false impression. Also, the machines are generally friendlier than the girls at the cash machines, and I am not joking here. This is understandable, as these girls have tough working conditions. On the other hand, the automatic cashier will always utter the welcome message and the thank you for shopping message, no matter what happens. Do you have automatic cashiers in your area? If so, since when? Do you prefer using an automatic cashier or the services of a human being?
10 people like this
26 responses
• Philippines
21 Feb 07
Here in my third world country, we do not have it yet. I took a peek into your topic for discussion out of curiosity, too. Remember you said that you used the automated cashier machine out of curiosity, right? Anyway, the way you presented it, is appealing. Most probably, everyone will accept it just as the ATM has found its way towards worldwide acceptance.
• Canada
21 Feb 07
This kind of technology generally finds its way very quickly all over the world. As you said, ATMs are everywhere now, so it would not be surprising to see these machines used in many countries in the coming years.
2 people like this
@mememama (3077)
• United States
21 Feb 07
I prefer humans. First, I'm lazy lol. Second, I have a kid who will hit buttons, any buttons that are near him. It's hard to go near these things with him without breaking a machine, he knows how to unbuckle himself in the cart and I swear it just takes seconds for him to do this. Plus, they are fairly new where I live and they haven't figured out all the kinks yet, so it seems like everytime I use one, the machine pages a human to help me, which takes more time so I should have gone into a human cashier line anyways.
5 people like this
• Canada
21 Feb 07
It is true, kids get easily excited in front of keyboards. When we first had those machines, most people needed assistance all the time. Now, clients need assistance when they want to scan fruits or vegetables and they are not able to find the items on the menu.
• United States
21 Feb 07
I'll stick with human cashiers. I went to a large discount store recently with my son. It took twice as long for him to check through because the machine wasn't working properly, and a helper had to keep coming over to get it going. If they have to keep someone standing around ready to help out, then you know the kinks haven't been worked out yet.
4 people like this
• Canada
21 Feb 07
Generally they keep one person per 4 machines. The first reason is to help people when they need it. The second and untold reason is to make sure that people are scanning properly their items and not cheating, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Feb 07
I by far prefer the automatic cashiers to the human ones, mostly because i can get in and out of the store faster. You can just scan your groceries and get the heck out of the store.
3 people like this
@sunnypub (2130)
• United States
21 Feb 07
Those machines started popping up here about 2 years ago. Now you can find them just about everywhere. I tend to use them more often simply because the lines seem to be shorter. If I have a large amount of groceries I will go to the human cahsier because the machines aren't really set up for a ton of things, and when I did try it, the machine kept complining that I was removing a bag, but I needed to remove the bag in order to finish bagging the rest of my stuff. I learned my lesson and now won't use the machine if I have a large amount of items. I actaully really like the machines. I can scan the items in the order I want, and I can bag them myself, and I bag better than most cashiers. I like to keep all my freezer items in one bag and cabinet items in bag etc. That way when I get home it is easier to put things away. The human cashiers just throw things in willy nilly and I have to wrok a lillte harder when putting them away at home. OVerall I think they are a great addition. I wouldn't want them to completely replace the human cashiers but it is a nice option.
@suedarr (2382)
• Canada
21 Feb 07
Wow! I live in Toronto, which as you know is a fairly large city, yet I have never come across an automatic cashier at the grocery store before.In fact this is the first time I've even heard of this technology! I must lead a sheltered shopping life. LOL! Sounds like a great idea with many advantages as you've listed. Cheers!
2 people like this
• Canada
21 Feb 07
I am really surprised that you don' t have them in Toronto. Many stores in Montreal are in fact managed by companies Toronto. One of these stores is called Loblaws. I think they go by a different name in Ontario, though.
2 people like this
@suedarr (2382)
• Canada
21 Feb 07
We have Loblaws here too, but I tend to shop at No Frills. We may have them here, I've just never seen or heard of them before. Cheers!
1 person likes this
• Ireland
21 Feb 07
Ye, tesco here in Ireland have introduced them here over the past year or so. I prefer them when I only have a hand full of grocerys to get through, however, somethings you get on the queue and the person in front of you hasnt got a clue what to do and they take for ever. OMG!
• United States
21 Feb 07
Yes we have them at the grocery stores and at Wal-Mart. I try and use them because they are usually faster. If I have acoupon or bottle slip then I need someone to come over to scan it. They seem to be faster and yes sometimes freindlier. When they first came out if you used them you got a free 2 litter bottle of pop. Another good thing about them is most of the time you get to bag your own groceries. Then the eggs won't get put under a gallon of milk.
2 people like this
• Canada
22 Feb 07
Unfortunately we did not get anything when we started using those machines here.
• Bulgaria
11 Sep 07
I also hate when all the fragile things are put under the heaviest stuff I have bought. Now I see a downside of having people to help you package your shopping. :)
@sigma77 (5385)
• United States
21 Feb 07
Where I grocery shop, they have had these things for over 10 years. I use them once in a while. But I don't mind going to a regular cashier. Machines are so impersonal and dull. And they sometimes don't work right. I think the move to all machines will be a mistake.
2 people like this
• Canada
21 Feb 07
I did not know that this technology was that old. We will sure always need human beings. Actually, I had the idea of this post because I learned yesterday in the news that those machines have been introduced into a French grocery store and that this decision entailed all sorts of protestations from the employees there. Again, unions in France are much more influent than they are in North America.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Feb 07
I use the automatic checkout all the time. If I have alot of groceries I scan while my kids bag. It seems to be working well in my small area of the world and I just love that voice demanding that I "move my bananas to the belt!" I know-simple thrills for simple people.
@leonarda (92)
• Bulgaria
11 Sep 07
We don't have automated cashiers in my country - or at least not in the supermarkets I shop at - but I think that unless their software is really buggy and they are unusable, I will choose them over a rude human cashier. I think I am quite tolerant but I sometimes make remarks when cashiers almost throw the things I have purchased or when they rush me to collect my things as soon as possible because the queue is waiting. I once had an argument with a manager if it is my responsibility to rush or their to provide people who can help me pack my shopping. :) And the manager was very surprised at my suggestion! I told him that big supermarkets all over the world have people who do this on Fridays/Saturdays or whenever there are many people who do their shopping.
1 person likes this
• Canada
11 Sep 07
Hi Leonarda, The software seems to be quite dependable. Sometimes the machines have problems, but there is always somebody around to monitor them and help customers. Human cashiers are sometimes rude, especially at the end of the day. Though, I never had a cashier yelling at me or rushing me to pack my items. Their job is very demanding too. Some stores hire teenagers to help customers pack their goods. Not always the best option though. Once one of these guys put all my items in a single tiny bag, result the items started falling down the bag before me even leaving the store.
• Bulgaria
14 Sep 07
I guess it is the management that tells them to rush customers who don't pack at the speed of light. :) Maybe it is better that the supermarket where I shop most often doesn't hire teenagers to "help". :) But still, if I had the choice between an automatic cashier and a human one, I think I will go for the automatic one.
@flpoolbum (2959)
• United States
22 Jul 07
I personally prefer the Automatic cashiers. The first part I like is that the lines aren't long there because most people don't like them. I also like watching the prices as you scan the items. I scan them at my own pace (so that I can double check the prices-it's still faster than having someone else do it)and in the order that I want them bagged. I like bagging my own stuff, my way.
1 person likes this
• Canada
26 Jul 07
Agreed, it is much better to bag your items yourself. I recall one of my visits to a grocery story when the boy put all my numerous items in a single bag. I had to repack the items myself.
@gbaben (509)
• Russian Federation
23 Mar 07
This is not yet in my state,but i will be very happy to be a living withness of this latest technology.
• Canada
29 Mar 07
You will very probably enjoy it, it is very convenient.
@wmg2006 (5383)
• United States
23 Feb 07
Yes we have had them for many years and I do like them much more than humans. I can make sure I am being charged correctly and I can make sure my groceries get bagged right. The only problem I have had lately is they tend to mess up a lot and will not always scan things and then I have to wait for some lazy cashier to drag themself over and reset everything. I do not have to watch someone with an attitude wait on me either.
1 person likes this
• Canada
23 Feb 07
The machines have been reliable so far. I had a problem with them only once. I used my credit card, then the machine asked me to sign with a special pen on a screen. Though, my signature never showed up on the screen. The cashier came and made me sign a paper receipt, like in the olden days. The cashier was very nice and polite though.
• United States
21 Feb 07
I used to work in a grocery store and I wouldn't mind them except for the possibility that it may eventually take away the cashier jobs from the people that need them. But it's cheaper for businesses to pay for a machine then employees I guess.
1 person likes this
• Canada
21 Feb 07
I think on the long term, there will be just one or two actual cashiers at the store who will be supervising these machines and assisting clients. Look at the tellers in banks. They still exist, but the majority have been replaced by ATMs. Unfortunately, companies are there to make profit not to create jobs.
@linda345 (2661)
• Canada
21 Feb 07
I not sure exactly how long they have been here in London, Ontario but it has to be close to 2 years. I have only seen them at Loblaws and the Super Walmart but they could be at other stores. I have used them at Loblaws when I run in just to pick up a few things. When I do my entire families grocery shopping at the Super Walmart I stick with the human cashier because there is so much to be scanned. If I go to walmart to do non grocery shopping I use the sutomatic cashiers. It is easier to keep an eye if the items are coming up at the right price.
1 person likes this
• Canada
21 Feb 07
I usually shop at Loblaws too. Only Loblaws and its affiliates Provigo and Maxi' s actually have these machines in Montreal.
@twoey68 (13651)
• United States
20 Mar 08
Our Walmart had them put in a few years ago and I've tried them a time or two. I prefer the old fashioned ppl checkers. I figure I'm spending money to shop there, they can earn their pay by ringing me up. I also got a chance to talk to a Walmart worker who was supervising the machines. She said they were put in so in order to cut the cost of hiring checkers. She monitors four auto checkers...where as if ppl worked those for registers the store would have to pay four salaries. It's a cost cutting step on Walmart's part. She said alot of the time ppl mess it up and she has to step in and fix it...which means more time for the customer. I'll stick with the old way and be happy with it. !!HAPPY EASTER!! **AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~
1 person likes this
@flpoolbum (2959)
• United States
12 Sep 07
I just LOVE those automatic cashiers!! They are very efficient and fast. One of the best things is that most people don't like them so there is usually one (I have never seen more than 4 in any store) available. I also love being able to use my credit and debt cards at the gas pumps. It is just so quick and easy. The only problem is that most banks usually still charge you to use an ATM if it isn't one of their machines. That is why I love Credit Unions. They are much better than banks. Their fee's are lower and they have better services because we own small shares of them. My credit union will give loan holders a discount on the amount of their loan interest for the year out of their profits.
1 person likes this
• Canada
21 Feb 07
We have them at a couple of the bigger stores. I do not mind them, but if it was all automated, what would happen if something went wrong? My girlfriend does not like them. I don't think she trusts them. I like going to a real person because I am a friendly guy and get along with most people. I think we may be getting set up for a time when we all have an ID chip with RFID tags inserted in our bodies and we can just walk past the scanner and money is taken from our bank account. If they can id a dog, they can do it to a human. It would make things alot faster, but at what price? In the long run I prefer the human.
1 person likes this
@lisado (1230)
• United States
21 Feb 07
Yeah, we have them here, too. I seldom use them, though, unless I have just a few items and plan to pay via credit card or debit card. I've found that sometimes, when using a coupon or paying cash, the machines don't always accept them and then I have to wait for the lady that is watching these machines to come over and help, which is sometimes a wait since she is often helping someone else or chatting away with someone. If I want to get in and out, and only have a couple of things, I'll use them. My husband thinks they are faster, too, and prefers to use them, but I don't care for them as much.
1 person likes this
@bonbon664 (3470)
• Canada
21 Feb 07
I go for the automatic cashiers because the majority of people don't seem to use them, so, there is never anybody there.
1 person likes this