Technology appears to be winning at every turn.

For example, human road toll collectors will soon be extinct.

As of late, you see more and more self checkout lines at grocery and big box stores.

The local Sam’s Wholesale Club that I have been a member since 1992, now has only two checkout lines staffed by humans.

All other checkout lines are self checkout. I’m not adverse to the self checkout, except it always seems as though at least one or more items don’t properly scan.

This causes delays and aggravation. I prefer the human touch. I also enjoy the social interaction, as you get to know employees over the years.

You may have noticed at the Sam’s Wholesale Club in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey also has a robot vehicle that automatically cleans the floors.

It rides around Sam’s Club during normal hours of operation. This used to be a job held by a human being. It represents another job(s) lost due to emerging advancements in technology and artificial intelligence.

Here it is:

Harry Hurley photo.
Harry Hurley photo.

The Atlantic had a great article about this titled, “Self-Checkout Is a Failed Experiment.”

The article began with this hopeful declarative statement:

When self-checkout kiosks began to pop up in American grocery stores, the sales pitch to shoppers was impressive: Scan your stuff, plunk it in a bag, and you're done. Long checkout lines would disappear. Waits would dwindle. Small talk with cashiers would be a thing of the past. Need help? Store associates, freed from the drudgery of scanning barcodes, would be close at hand to answer your questions.

In theory, it sounds perfect. In practice, not so much. I like the idea, yet, recently I waited in a long line at Sam’s Club to make a major purchase.

I wanted to make sure that I had the correct receipt, in case I need it in the future. Also, if there was an additional warranty available, I wanted the opportunity to talk to a live human about it.

If you have used a self service checkout kiosk, you’ve heard all of the beeps and robot chatter, if you don’t place the item exactly where it says.

I just don’t like it.

Do you?

SOURCE: The Atlantic.

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