The Customer is NOT Always Right
Misadventures in Retail

Self Checkout (is not) For Dummies

It’s a wonder how many people come through our self checkout (probably true for any retail place with such a machine) and think that IT is the problem when things don’t go smoothly.  Case in point, how many times do I have to explain that the bagging area is actually a scale that weighs the item to make sure you put on it what you scanned. That way you can’t scan a candy bar and put a drill in the bag.

Here is what I deal with:

Computer: Item removed from bagging area.

Customer: (Looking at me like they just don’t understand what happened, they have put their bag in their cart.) Excuse me, can you help me?

Me: (Putting the bag back on the scale as I explain) The machine has a scale on it. You have to put the bag back before it will quit saying that.

(2 seconds pass)

Computer: Item removed from bagging area.

(Customer has taken the bag again.  They see the screen asking the bag to be put back and they do so.  After the screen goes away they pick it back up.)

Computer: Item removed from bagging area.

Customer: Forget it, I’m not dealing with this stupid thing. It’s not working right.

(They leave the items there and storm out).

PLAIN. GENIUS.  Another favorite of mine (please note heavy sarcasm) is when they know there is a scale.  So they take their bags too early, leave them in the cart and then push on the scale with their hand.  What the hell?  Surely they can’t think the machine will be fooled by 40 or so pounds of pressure when the items only weighed about 10, or that if it does work, it will continue to work when they take their hand off.

Next time I should say something like “Sir you have to leave your hand there until you are finished or it’s not going to go any further.  What? You need it to pay?  Well, you should have thought about that first.  Do you have a cell?  Here, let me call one of your friends or a family member to come help you.  Hey, hold still a second, I need a picture of you to put on our wall.”

That or just tell them they messed it up and they have to go to a regular register.

I like the first idea.

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One Response to “Self Checkout (is not) For Dummies”

  1. “Please wait for assistance. Please wait for assistance. Please wait for assistance.”

    Even better when the people at the self-scans start to get irate because you’re in a lengthy sale and it’s just plain rude to up and leave the current sale to go help them.

    And it’s not like it’ll start up again that way as soon as you leave. =P


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