The County Chronicle

The online newspaper for Loudoun County High School

The County Chronicle

The County Chronicle

Self checkouts: the venom infecting consumer America

Anna Claire Mitchum | Raider Staff

At the Target grocery store, regular cash register stands are steadily being replaced by self-checkout machines. These machines are slowly chipping away at the goodwill human beings possess. Raider Staff Photographer: Anna Claire Mitchum

It resides in stores such as Target, Walmart, Food Lion, and many others. It requires the consumer to perform manual labor that would have originally been done by the worker. It watches your every move. It enables the youth to commit crimes. I am talking about the poison slowly killing humanity: self-checkout.

Cashiers hold the most common job for people without a college degree, according to the Sacramento Bee. However, with the rise of self-checkout, the rate of cashiers employed has dropped and is projected to continue to drop, even though retail stores are on the rise.

The biggest percent of grocery store spending is to the wages of its workers. With one worker monitoring several self-checkouts, the store is able to cut down the number of workers it needs, saving money by having the consumers pay them to work.

A set of four self-checkout stations costs about $120,000 to install, but over time that cost is less than what the store would pay cashiers.

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Since many students at Loudoun County High School work at stores, the self-checkout stations would take away jobs from students who need them to support their family and pay for college.

For many, self-checkout is a way to avoid the awkward interaction with a cashier when purchasing personal products. Still, according to Cardfellow, 43 percent of consumers still wanted a worker to be there to help with issues.

“I use self-checkout because sometimes I just don’t want to talk to the cashiers,” senior Kat Parker said.

With many people using their phone as a form of communication, Jessie Green, a school counselor, believes that some young people have become increasingly more uncomfortable in face to face interactions. Green says that the use of an electronic device to communicate has afforded students the time to think before providing a response. Unlike texting, conversations happen face to face, and you have to be able to think on your feet. Are these satanic machines enabling young people to further dehumanize the shopping experience?

However, others use self-checkout as a way to shoplift. If there is only one worker watching 15 self-checkouts, they cannot watch everyone scan everything. It is easier to steal from something that’s not human, than someone you talked with.

In Florida, a woman was caught putting clearance tags over the barcodes of expensive electronics. She paid $3.70 for what should have been $1,800 purchase. The theft rate has more than doubled for stores using self-checkout.

The future of humanity is changing. We will no longer be able to ask someone to direct us to the paper towels, no longer will we interact with human workers, no longer will we be able to enjoy the kindness that comes from humans. What will our future look like?

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Self checkouts: the venom infecting consumer America