Next Customer Please

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I know a lot of us have gritted our teeth after standing in a long line to pay for our purchases at a supermarket or at our favourite clothing store only to be greeted – if we’re lucky – by a sullen face that looks and acts like it skipped the training session about customer service when it applied for this particular job. And I know I have personally wished that this prediction that’s been making the rounds (and got confirmed as a definite trend at last week’s Flux Trends session) would come true.

As much as most cashiers grate me and often rub me the wrong way, when a slide of a sad – in my opinion – woman who was checking herself out of a supermarket/grocery store came on-screen I flinched. According to Flux Trends self-service tills are a growing trend. What kind of a world would that be? Granted, there will be no one to give you grief while shopping – let’s face it, our cashiers rarely enhance retail experiences – but that would be such an empty life! It wouldn’t feel like retail therapy to me anymore, the therapeutic part is usually when there’s that one shopper who stomps her stilettos and demands to see the manager.

You know what I particularly like? When a difficult shopper leaves and the cashier and I have the “can you believe that Drama Queen?” skinner. It lightens the mood and gives us common ground. I will admit, in my bad days when I am in no mood to deal with anybody else’s moodiness I have probably provided that common ground for somebody else.

My selfish reasons aside, I find self-catering tills to be counter-productive. We need to be creating more jobs not industrialising the little we do have. My mother was also a cashier while she did her Bcom, she spent three years interacting with customers and stayed at her till another two months after graduating and then applied for an internal position with the retail giant. Now she is a senior member of the team. These jobs are needed and I believe cashiers are as much a part of our social and national identity as taxi drivers are.

Imagine having no petrol attendants or car guards! <<Insert gasp here>>

I love being on the cutting edge and I love technology, but I will admit that this is an advancement I’m not looking forward to. Is anyone working on the sheets that can make the bed every morning technology? Now there’s something worth looking into.

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