Evil Blinky Self Serve

So a couple of months ago I tried out the new self – serve checkouts at Home Despot. You know, the ones where you scan your own stuff. They even have evil blinky green lights to try and get your attention. Not like lately you don’t have plenty of time to ponder other things while waiting to get through a till in Calgary.

Now, Home Despot had four of these things, often empty or with one person using them during slow times. The ONE till they had open was lined up with people each buying half a house. So I was bound to try one of these things the first time I only had one or two items to scan. Since then I’ve used them a few times.

They work pretty good – a few things need improvement. 1) Better descriptions so you know what you just scanned. 2) A very obvious beep when you scan something, so I don’t scan things twice. 3) An undo, for when I still manage to screw up. Right now an accociate has to do the undo for you. 4) The interface kinda sucks. They put the signature pad way the hell over to the right, so you have to sign your credit card auth. and take two steps to the left to see if your scrawl is something you’d recognise as your own if it ever came down to a dispute. I don’t even what to think about signature forging with this thing.

Other than that, I love them and I hate them. I love the fact that I can get through the tills quickly especially if I have only one or two items. I hate the fact that shopping has gotten yet more impersonal. On the other had, I love the fact that shopping has gotten more impersonal because sometimes I just want to kill the person that is trying to serve me.

Fast forward to today. “I am trying to find Season 3 of Corner Gas” I tell the Wallrat employee. “You want season 3,” he burbles back, in a voice and manner I can only describe as a carbon copy of Peter Sellers from “The Party” (Think goofy Indian accent if you havn’t seen this movie). “Yes, Season 3”. He grabs something else that was season 3 yes, but not “Corner Gas”. “No, I want Season 3, *Corner* *Gas*” He goes to ask someone if they have this. I hear him get an explanation from the more senior Wallrat in the next isle that it will be with the TV shows, in the “C” shows, between the “B” shows and the “D” shows.

Okay. I’m guessing they’re out at this point, me having checked this already. But now I have to wait for Buddy to figure this out for himself, which is rather amusing to watch him recite his ABCD’s. He then proceeds to offer me CSI:Season 3. Deep breath. Look at shelves myself, this time checking the labels. “Look, it has spots Corner Gas here for Seasons 1 and 2, which are empty so you must be out of season 3 as well”, I explain to him. “Oh yes, we must be all out, bad luck for you then”. Right, birdy num-num, bad luck for me, good luck for you that I didn’t loose my cool.

Did I mention Wallrat is evil? Not only do they sucker me into buying stuff sometimes because it’s so cheap (Futurama, Season 1 $18) but then they make me put up with not being able to find shit because they can’t keep they’re stock in reasonable order (not the only store in town with this problem by far). Then I have to line up forever to give them my money.

You see where this is going don’t you? There I am waiting in line, and these blinky green lights get my attention. Oh no, Wallrat has installed self-serve tills as well. Do I go try them? Hmmm. I have a lot of stuff. Clothes. Might have problems finding / scanning the tags. Can’t see if there is a line or not, with the 15 tills between me and the self-serves. Plus I’ve got this bitch’n spot in line – only two people in front of me, with full shopping carts, but only two of ’em! I decide to give them a pass this time, however, I do check them out on the way out the door, so see what the lineups are like. Great. The self-serve tills are lined up too. I doubt I would’ve saved more than a minute of my five in line.
Well, now I just hate self-serve tills.

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4 Responses to Evil Blinky Self Serve

  1. Trever says:

    The interface kinda sucks. They put the signature pad way the hell over to the right, so you have to sign your credit card auth. and take two steps to the left to see if your scrawl is something you’d recognise as your own if it ever came down to a dispute. I don’t even what to think about signature forging with this thing

    I’ve used them at home depot a couple times. First time, I was buying some garden hose washers or something. That’s it. Didn’t want to wait in line at a till-with-person for < $0.50 So.. there I was ... yes bad experience. Had trouble with the scanner. It wouldn't take my card, tried a few times, finally got it to go. Saw where the signing pad was vs the screen, got pissed off and put a very large X on the signing pad. People behind in line pointed, laughed. I didn't care. I've put the big X on it another time I think, since then. Again for not very much $$ value, so who the hell cares. Yes, I used a credit card for low $ at the till. Suppose there's some stupid extra fee for that. Should look for that on the bills....

  2. ralph says:

    Most credit cards don’t charge you anything since they charge the merchant a set charge like 15cents, plus a percentage for the transaction. That’s why a lot of small businesses don’t like you pulling out your credit card for a pack of gum.

    On another note of paying – I would never use cash on these things – I don’t trust them enough to start with and having the thing spit crappy $20’s back at me would really piss me off.

    Also another thing – what happens when you “forget” to scan an item and they catch you on it?

  3. fried flinstone says:

    yep home despot hires a dummy to man the self serve check outs? cause without them there would be total confusion. your right they are not truly user friendly though could be useful if they were tweeked a bit…i’ve seen more people use them as time goes on but certainly lots of people avoid them…what they truly need is a register open for customers that have only a few items…say less than a whole house, seems to work at grocery stores…..i find home despot both a good and sometimes ugly experience…they never have enough staff anywhere and sometimes you have to pull teeth to get help and some of the support staff make you feel like you are hassling them…aren’t they somewhat in the service industry….don’t they realize that the customer comes first…oops sorry big box stores don’t give a rats ass and the training of their staff sure show this…..as far as the united nations of monopolozed cookie cutter cheap products and low brow mind numbing quantity vs quality WalFart is a machine…an evil machine that is inhospitable and makes me feel like i’m entering a colony that has a severe case of the plague…i wouldn’t be suprised to see zombies working there or walking and wading through the endless aisles of stuff destined for the land fills in six months..guaranteed if you get into one of the many long lines of zombies either 6 of their 2000 items does not have a bar code tag or the zombie scanning it can’t make it scan and has to ask another zombie 35 tills away what the manual code is in order to ring up another triple seven roll of the slot machine miracle that WalFart has become…..

  4. ralph says:

    Excellent idea – although when they only have ONE till open an express till don’t work so good. I was watching an interview with a Crappy Tire manager and he was saying that it’s to the point of never mind having people on the floor to provide “customer service”, they don’t have enough people to get stock on the shelves. I wouldn’t want to be the one hiring these people.

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