Once upon a time corporate greed decided that it would replace some of its cashiers with machines in order to save costs on manpower.
“The rationale was economics based and not focused on the customer,” Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, told CNN. “From the get-go, customers detested them.”
Companies can save as much as 66 percent by replacing a human cashier with a machine. However, this attempt to cheat customers of proper service and employees of fair-paying jobs has pretty much resulted in a massive failure, as lots of these endeavors do. According to CNN, a 67 percent of shoppers have found that the kiosks don’t work. They often require the supervision of a human employee anyway to solve problems.
The machines are expensive to install, often break down leading to fewer purchases by customers, and, even more hilariously, increase shoplifting. The first self-checkout was created by Piggly Wiggly in the 1900s. However, in exchange for customers putting in the work to check themselves out, Piggly Wiggly offered lower prices. Anyone who’s recently been to the grocery stores knows that this certainly isn’t the case these days. Yet, despite the failure of self-checkout corporations are doubling down.
One lawyer says companies are even criminalizing good-paying customers and accusing. Lawyer Carrie Jernigan took to TikTok to tell her 1.2 million followers that one of the top three things she would avoid doing after working as a lawyer is using self-checkout. Jernigan says that those who intentionally steal during self-checkout have gotten really good at it. As a result, big box stores are showing no mercy to shoppers who accidentally stole something, by forgetting something in their cart or not scanning it correctly.
Even worse, they are going after customers who actually did pay for an item. “Big-box businesses aren’t going to spend their time and resources trying to figure out if you did it on purpose,” Jernigan said. And those who actually did pay might face charges if the store’s asset protection department finds out they’re short when performing inventory counts. “So they will begin watching hours of video to see the last person who checked out with the Mario Lego set because they’re two short. And, for some reason, they pinpoint that they think you did it,” Jernigan added. “And because of who these big box stores are, they usually have to present very little evidence to get an affidavit for warrant signed, the charges that could land you up to a year in jail get filed, and then you are fighting for your life trying to determine what day you were at Walmart, what all you bought.”
Even if you get your charges dismissed, you could end up wasting lots of time and lots of money fighting the case. “My mom accidentally left a tiny $3 lemon oil in her cart after buying $300 in groceries. She was charged with theft and had to do community service,” wrote one commenter on TikTok. “Took me 7 months and cost me $6,000 to clear my name after I was falsely accused and the evidence should have exonerated me immediately,” @catladykaren claimed.
Thankfully, the solution is simple since consumers actually wield the power. Just don’t go along with it. Just don’t use self-checkout machines. ou might have to wait on line, but you’ll be ensuring that a human is being paid a wage. And if these companies are having trouble filling positions, there’s a simple solution to that too. They can just offer their employees better wages and benefits. With the average CEO making 351 times more than the average employee (a rise of 1,322% since 1978 for CEO and just 18% for employees) … it’s not like they can’t afford it. Another alternative is to stop shopping at big chains altogether.
Watch the video below: