“I was amazed yesterday that there was no crazy lines or confusion.”

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A reader reports:

“Just wanted to mentioned that Target has installed self-checkout registers. I was amazed yesterday that there was no crazy lines or confusion. It worked out well and people came in and out of the store quickly happily.”

31 Comment

  • The liberal in me hates self-checkout (takes jobs away from low-wage workers). The consumer in me applauds them for their efficiency. The introvert in me who hates having to make small talk with cashiers sees this as a saving grace.

    • “The liberal in me” ?? You lost me on that one. I am a liberal and wholeheartedly support this. Are you suggesting that any automation or technological progress that results in a loss of low-income jobs should be opposed? That is not a liberal position, that is a Luddite position. Even progressives don’t live with their head in the sand. The better approach is to fight for job training and re-training so that workers, including low-income workers, can get jobs in the present and future eras, not the past.

      • You sound like someone who thinks they’re a liberal when they really aren’t. Lots of those around here.

      • I missed this comment yesterday, and apparently you missed the other two thirds of my comment. I do like self-checkouts and do absolutely use them in probably nine out of ten circumstances. However, it is an absolute truth that if you take 10 lanes that formerly needed a cashier in order to be open and replace them with 10 self-checkouts that need one person to watch over them and trouble shoot, then you are potentially losing jobs, or at least cutting the hours needed. This may not, in fact, be happening as these workers may be shuffled to other areas – I don’t know. But it is a risk that is taken with automation.
        Now, let’s talk about your accusation that I am a “liberal who lives with their head in the sand.” You sound exactly like the type of liberal who is happy to sit in their ivory tower – i.e. your expensive condo that a real working class person could never dream of affording – while solving all the worlds’ problems for us poor, working class people, who couldn’t possibly do it ourselves. You may call me short-sighted, but your vision is far too long -sighted. It’s all well and good to create better job training programs for future careers, but people have to eat NOW. Children need clothing NOW. The rent is due NOW. I am a working class single mother. My job is good, it pays the bills, but I could definitely benefit from better training, more education. You know what stops me? Money. Time. Life Priorities. My bills are due now, not in the two years it would take me to finish my bachelors. My children need to be fed now, not in the 6 months it might take me to finish a certification course that may or may not lead to a better job. Last I checked, my landlord doesn’t accept an IOU with “doing my job training, I’ll get you caught up when I’m done.” I am not unique in my situation, far from it. This is why these issues matter. This is why it is not just a simple solution like you seem to think it is. The present matters more than the future when you are working paycheck to paycheck.
        I may have my “head in the sand” but at least that way my ear is to the ground, aware of what is going on in the actual world, rather than having my head in the clouds and only seeing a distorted world view.

        • Wow, you just tagged on a whole lot of assumptions to his statement. Retailers such as Target can offer job training while paying the employee for their time. They can take an employee that would otherwise be on a register, and train them in a number of new skillsets such as computer security (Target obviously needs some help there), which would ultimately make them more valuable. Making the world more efficient while making people more valuable is a progressive stance.

          • Do you really think that Target’s current cashiers at stores around the country are in a position to be trained to handle website security (I’m assuming this is what you meant) for Target nationally?
            .
            I don’t know what Target’s arrangements for its website security, but I doubt it’s the kind of thing that could be managed piecemeal at individual stores by former cashiers, even if they had those skills to begin with or could be trained to that level.

          • I Dont Get It

            What textdoc said.

          • Actually, now that I think about it, maybe Anon meant not just website security, but the security of Target’s records from transactions that took place on its website or in its stores.
            .
            (Sorry; my thinking is a bit muddled. Need caffeine.)

          • But the point still stands.

          • Slow clap for you, Anon. So how exactly are you going to persuade these corporations to offer such programs, on their own dime, when now a days it takes a Master’s to break into the exact type of career you think a cashier with a high school diploma can get into?

          • First off, I used computer security as ONE example. I am in the information security field, and can say definitively, you do not need a master’s degree, there are many aspects to computer security that these poster’s obviously don’t quite understand, and I’m sure many of the Target cashier’s can pursue these jobs with the proper instruction. I have worked with many people that did not hold college degrees, and were doing very well for themselves. Also, I don’t need to persuade these corporations to invest in training for their own employees, cause many of them already do. When companies educate and promote from within, it ends up helping their bottomline.

    • I hadn’t thought of the jobs aspect.
      .
      I prefer bagging my own groceries, etc. (at least when I’m driving home) because I like to keep the frozen items together, the refrigerated items together, etc.

      • Me either. Self checkout is so convenient

      • Has anyone ever said no when you asked to bag your own groceries? Or failing that, when you asked to have them separated?

        • Ah, the annoying PoPville question of “So what happened when [you did something I’m pretty sure you didn’t actually do and I want to mock you for not doing it]?” Like “So what happened when you reported ____ to the police?”, when you don’t think the other party did in fact report ___ to the police.
          .
          In a cashier-bagged line, I get around the problem by grouping my frozen items, refrigerated items, etc. together on the conveyor belt.
          .
          I find that it’s inefficient to self-bag your groceries in a line that’s cashier-operated (whether it’s usually cashier-bagged or self-bagged) — you always end up scrambling to bag your stuff as the next person’s items start entering the space. For me, if I have to bag my own stuff anyway, it’s easier for me to also ring them up.

  • Woo $15 minimum wage!

  • The DC USA Target has been understaffing their checkout lines for at least a year now, so this isn’t going to take away any jobs. If anything, it will speed up the long wait lines.

    • Absolutely – I stopped going for precisely this reason. Even when you think you’re going for a just a few things, it’s easy to go above the 15 item limit, which means you’re in the one or two regular lines they ever have open anymore.

  • And it still looks like at least half of them are closed.

  • And it still looks like at least half of the lanes are closed.

  • This place is nuts on nights and weekends — can only help.

    • Yep. I drive out into the Virginia suburbs to shop at the Targets out there. I’ll do anything to avoid this CF Target.

      • Similar here. (Do you go to the Potomac Yard one?)

        • I usually hit the Skyline Target. I have a good friend that lives in the Shirlington, not far from there, and we often shop together. I also do a majority of my grocery shopping in the suburbs too – DC just doesn’t do stores well. I live in DC but shop in VA.

  • I used it yesterday and was blown away by how well it worked and how helpful the staff was. Maybe we can have nice things in Columbia Heights.

  • I can’t stand self-checkout. Are they going to give me a discount for checking myself out?

  • I’m not amazed there were no crazy lines or confusion. Self checkout is incredibly easy and fast of you have just a hand cart’s worth of items. I prefer it 100% of the time I don’t have a mega cart full of stuff.

  • Yes, but did they have to use the bathroom with a transgender person? (Right wing is currently boycotting Target because they treat trans people as human beings. )

  • Can’t understand a City of Liberals would have these… having a past in retail… scheduling , budgeting, GP’s, POS’s, Payrolls….SELF CHECK OUTS TAKE JOBS…PERIOD!! The large box LOVE them!! I’m a Conservative who Can’t stand these … BECAUSE THEY TAKE JOBS!!! But hypocrisy Irks me more!!! I DO NOT USE them… and I’m a Progressive Conservative……hmmmm

    • I don’t think political party affiliation applies to self checkout lanes. As technology progresses many low skilled jobs will be replaced be robots/computers. Its happening everywhere. If it saves a company money and its legal they are going to implement it. Its going to happen so there is no use protesting it because it takes jobs.

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