Self-Serve Sorrows

Slinking away from the hardware store the unspoken words hung over me, ‘You dirty sell out!’

Folks, the guilt is killing me so I’m coming clean; I’ve been using self-serve checkouts.

Honestly, I don’t know where to hide my face.

Especially after years of loudly declaring that I’d never, cross my heart, ever use ‘Electronic Checkout Chicks’ (ECC’s). “Give me the personal touch!” I’d declare, “Plus they’re taking jobs away from Australian workers!”

Now, I’m not trying to justify my decision (actually, I am) but we happily use, and buy, lots of things which are dropkicking Aussie workers onto the scrapheap nowadays. We can’t stop progress, even when it takes us backwards.

But let the record show, that my choice to use self-serve checkouts was heavily assisted by unofficial store policy i.e.: ‘Only one checkout shall be open and the queue must stretch to the horizon.’

So one bleak afternoon I stared glumly at the mile long line of frustrated shoppers, then sidled over to a vacant ECC. After scanning and packing my goodies I crept past the store greeter who chirpily beamed, “Have a great day mate!”

I idly wondered how long it will be before we’re expected to do his job as well.

The day probably isn’t far away when we’ll all be forced to use ECC’s. Or, if the corporations really want to save money, they could stop building megastores which need to be air-conditioned, stocked, staffed and cleaned, and just get us to queue in giant parking lots and take our chances with whatever gets tossed off the trucks.

Perhaps they’ll bypass that option and simply force us to shop online?

Not me though! I’ll never, ever shop online!  No way!  Well, not unless the queues get too long in front of the Electronic Checkout Chicks.

About Greg Bray

The scribbler behind the 'On a Lighter Note' column.
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