Why is the self-checkout machine at the grocery store so bossy?

I don’t like the self-checkout at the store.

I don’t mind the idea of it, but the ones at my stores often seem to cause me extra problems.

For example, the one at the local CVS is so loud that everyone in the store can hear the price of everything I purchase.

“HELLO VALUED CUSTOMER!” it screams at me when I put in my CVS number. (Fun fact, my CVS number thinks my name is Wick Claussen. Every time I receive an email from CVS it begins “Dear Wick” and it makes me laugh.)

“5.99 Did everyone hear what Wick is paying for junk food today! 4.99!”

And if the one next to it is also screaming out prices and instructions, it can get confusing for me and everyone else in the store.

Here are a few other problems I have with self-checkout lanes.

  • They always think I need help – I don’t want help. I don’t want the person watching the machines to come over to see me. I don’t need help scanning the groceries, and I really did put my groceries in the bag. Why does the machine think I need help?
  • They are too bossy – “PLACE YOUR ITEMS IN THE BAG! INSERT COUPONS! SCAN YOUR ITEM” Can’t they say please? I don’t like to be rushed. I thought I was doing this to help the store. Why is the store yelling at me and telling me what to do? Is it going to give me advice next? “You know you shouldn’t be buying that Nick! Go back and get the healthier choice!”
  • The ones with the video screens that show me on camera just distract me – If it shows me in the screen, I end up watching myself trying to scan my groceries instead of just scanning my groceries. They must do this because they are worried  I will steal something. But if they don’t trust me to check out my own groceries, why are they asking me to check out my own groceries?
  • You have to put the scanned groceries in just the right place – Sometimes if you put scanned groceries in your cart, the machine yells at you. Sometimes it thinks the groceries you just scanned aren’t heavy enough. Sometimes there isn’t enough room to put the groceries. Why can’t they make the lanes bigger or make that part easier?
  • The self-checkout machines don’t like my friendly conversation or witty comments – To be honest, the human checkout people often don’t fully appreciate my witty comments either.
  • There’s no good excuse to buy candy or read magazines while waiting in line.
  • I never know how to scan or weigh produce and it takes me too long – I know this is easy for other people, but I am always nervous about this.
  • I often worry they will think I am stealing something – I’m not stealing anything, but I wonder if they are watching me suspiciously to see if I am really scanning everything. It makes me feel guilty, but also a little bit dangerous. That’s me, bad boy Wick Claussen.
  • I should point out that many people love the self-checkout – My daughter will only use the self-checkout, no matter how many groceries she has.
  • I wonder where this will all lead – Today we have self -checkouts, what’s next, self-doctor’s offices? Self-serve-surgery? What about self-cooking at the local restaurant? It’s clear from this column that self-writing is a terrible idea!

I know that the self-checkouts are not going away, and eventually I will get more used to them. For now, though, I will most likely complain about them when I am at the store. Of course, no one around me will hear me because that crazy machine will be screaming out instructions and prices. “PLEASE INSERT YOUR CARD! 3.97! SCAN YOUR NEXT ITEM! STAND UP STRAIGHT! 5.55! DON” T FORGET TO CALL YOUR MOM!”

8 thoughts on “Why is the self-checkout machine at the grocery store so bossy?

  1. Don’t even get me started on the issues caused by trying to buy alcohol in a self-checkout. I feel 19 again, trying to buy a bottle of cheap booze with a fake ID. Not that I ever did that. Or had a fake ID. Oh way to go Wick, now you’ve made me look bad!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I only use them when I have a few items and never with a full grocery cart. The whole premise of putting people out of work disturbs me. And Hell… if I’m going to ring up my own things and bag them myself? Basically doing the work of two employees, I want a flipping discount!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, that’s funny! I’m sorry I am so late to reply, too! I won’t use them if I have a full cart, but my kids will. It takes me so long to use them if I have many items. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s funny! And sorry I have taken so long to reply. I may have exaggerated a little, but the ones at the CVS are so loud. I can’t believe how loud they are. It makes no sense. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. U-scan (As we are fond of calling it) is sort of a social life raft for me. There are times when I have to go to the store even when it’s not all that good an idea. I can deal with the bossy machine better than my fellow humans at these times, especially since they replaced the buzzer with a chime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kenny, and sorry about taking so long to reply. It is nice sometimes to not have to deal with any people, I like your point about that. Have a great weekend!


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