Popped into Kmart the other day for a T-shirt for my husband.
Made a quick selection and proceeded to the big ‘PLEASE PAY HERE’ sign. All of the eight register points were closed, with an airport-like barrier set up to prevent customers from entering the area.
So, it’s ‘self-checkout’ only now. I AM SO ANGRY!
A similar thing happened in Target a few months ago. But at least they still have two registers where people like me can front up and expect a ‘service person’ to manage the transaction.
(I do this, not because I am unable to master the do-it-yourself register, but I refuse to not give an employee something to do).
But, not so Kmart. It’s do-it-yourself only.
At first, I thought I would just dump the T-shirt on the nearest shelf and walk out, but then I told myself that this is the ‘progress’ I have to tolerate.
So, I joined the queue.
Yes, there was a bloody queue to serve yourself.
Let me repeat that: There was a queue to wait in before being able to serve yourself!
Efficient? I think not!
After waiting for a while in said queue, a woman waiting behind me pointed to a newly vacated register. I made my way over to it, only to find a sign declaring, ‘CARD ONLY’.
The T-shirt I was buying cost $3.75. I was damned if I would use my EFTPOS card for that amount, especially as I had $4 cash in my hand at the ready.
So, back to the queue to wait for a vacant machine that actually accepted CASH.
Yes, I know, cash is only used by old decrepit people unused to modern technology.
As I fumed, I looked back at the eight deserted registers and wondered what happened to the salespeople who, not so long ago, worked there.
Are they all on ‘New Start’ now? (Paid by the taxpayers).
I know that having to pay only $3.75 for a man’s T-shirt is amazing. It is so very much cheaper than (equivalent) I would have paid 30 years ago. I suppose we are supposed to feel lucky that clothes cost so little. (It’s called ‘fast fashion’ apparently).
But, if that T-shirt had cost twice as much — even four times as much, which would still have been cheap—would that have possibly allowed Kmart to employ more staff, without affecting their ever-important profits?
(And with an added bonus of making people think twice before buying clothing items en masse that end up in landfill).
Don’t be fooled by the words, ‘progress’, ‘efficiency’, ‘convenience’ or ‘time-saving’.
We, the public are being ripped off. Not only do we have to do the ‘work’ of checking out our own purchases, but we, the public are left paying (via our government) for every person denied a job in this greedy and heartless retail sector.
As an aside: Things can only get worse/better, with some Woolworths stores now trialling a ‘scan-and-go system, where customers scan the goods on their iPhone as they select them off the shelves…and bingo! Shopping done, with never a queue – or an interaction with another human being. Wow. How good is progress?
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.