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14 June 2007 @ 10:41 am
There's Always a Formula  
Much as I try to avoid it, I end up at a Wal-Mart from time to time. Usually this would be the one right next to where I work, or the one close to home. Coincidentally, these are both fairly new stores, built at almost the same time.

I can't help but notice that the Wal-Mart by home is flush with 'U-Scan-It' (customer-operated) checkout lanes, while the one by work has not a single one. I got to pondering; somewhere, in some corporate database, there's a policy and a formula for determination of whether a new store gets customer-operated checkout lanes.

I would love to see it!

Edit: I meant to add, the one by home is in a fairly rural 'village', while the one by work is in a small city. So the areas are different across almost any demographic you can name!
 
 
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B-Rock The Islamic Shock Hussein SuperAllah Obamabrianblackberry on June 14th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
They have them at the Super Walmart in Racine, but I do not use them and instead use the cashier, helps them keep their jobs.
The noble and untamable wildaltonwings on June 14th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
Supposedly it's due to roll out nationwide, but they aren't the only ones. Our local Harris Teater (a supermarket) has 8 of them too--excellent if you're buying just a few items and want to run in/run out.

The down side happens when people (who inevitably think them computers is mighty spooky) try using them, and take 10 times as long as it would have been to stand in line at a cashier.
Brendan: Brazil Phone Madnessroho on June 14th, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the Jewel Osco where we do most of our grocery shopping has 'em. I'll sometimes use them if the other lanes are crowded, and I've just got one or two items, but yes...you run the risk of getting stuck behind some charmingly-befuddled elderly chap repeatedly trying to barcode-scan a lime ;)
Araquan Skytraceraraquan on June 14th, 2007 04:17 pm (UTC)
The one near me (I can see it from the balcony, seasonally, when the trees' leaves are gone) has about six such registers by each entrance. I never use them. I tried it once and it kept yakking at me for not scanning/massing the items fast enough. And I was not being slow- or any slower than simply finding the damn barcodes on a random pile of items would imply. Eventually it sounded it's little "idiot alert" alarm to drag the minder over- for which I had to wait. This was early in the system's life so maybe they still had some bugs to work out, but... I didn't care for the experience, at all.

I wish I could say that I had noble motivations about keeping the cashiers in their jobs, but the real reason I hate the things is that it I don't see why I should be doing someone else's job, not get paid for it, get criticized for my performance in said job, all for someone who wants to get my money without having to pay for a warm hand to take it.
Brendan: Brazil Phone Madnessroho on June 14th, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC)
Hee...I've got in arguments with the things, too. Usually something like as follows:
*BEEP* *places item in the bagging area*
"UNEXPECTED ITEM IN BAGGING AREA. REMOVE IT!"
*Shift the item off the bagging area*
"ITEM REMOVED FROM BAGGING AREA. REPLACE IT!"
*Replace item in bag*
"UNEXPECTED ITEM IN BAGGING AREA. REMOVE IT!"
*Repeat until madness*
Araquan Skytraceraraquan on June 14th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
Yeah, mine was bitching about masses also- but in my case it was like:
*BEEP* (quarter second delay) PLACE ITEM IN BAGGING AREA. PLACE ITEM IN BAGGING AREA.
*places item in bag- before he can even let go of said item, cometh next...*
UNEXPECTED ITEM IN BAGGING AREA. PLEASE WAIT FOR ASSISTANCE.

And I'm like, "Dude, WTF?"

To say nothing of the fact that the one other time I tried using one at Wal-Mart (I was in a rush and out of state) the thing had like three different places where it would take cards, bills, and coins- that weren't particularly close to each other nor terribly well labeled. I wonder if Microsoft designed these things...
nyuni on June 14th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
Enough of the stores around here have the things that I've come to develop preferences for certain machines.

The NCR touch screen type used by Wal-Mart and Home Depot are the best and the easiest to use, with a low incidence of random problems.

The Fujitsu system used by many grocery stores around here is like the aforementioned... continuous false "Place item in the bag!" and such. I avoid using these whenever possible because they're such a gigantic pain in the ass.
gypsypetgypsypet on June 14th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
Our harris teeter ones are pretty darn spiffy, but you do have to well-time the placing of items in bags. Oh, and also do not lean any random body part like a knee or anything against the little baggage corral, because then it thinks you have placed non-scanned items in the bag.

We were initially perked to see the non-human check-out counters at our wal-mart, but they soon looked really beat up, they didn't work well EVERY SINGLE TIME we used it (and this was after we had been using them regularly over at HT for at least a year), the sloooooooooooooooooow cashier minder always had to be called over there at least once, and at least once she had to give up and send us over to stand in a long line for a human cashier because no one could get the non-human one to work. I've been extremely unimpressed with the wal-mart ones. But, then again, that only fits with my wal-mart experiences in general.
Giachetta Rigogliosa "Magnavixen" Rucio: Flexmagnavixen on June 15th, 2007 07:43 am (UTC)
Is one a Wal-Mart, and another a Super Wal-Mart (the one with the grocery store?) The two nearest to me, the former lacks no-cashier lines, thelatter has it.

I almost never use the machines at Wal-mart or such. At the grocery store if I'm just buying a few things, but that's rare enough. It's like using an ATM was about 10, 15 years ago.. it feels impersonal and like too mcuh work on my part, though I'll get used to it in time I'm sure for basic stuff and save cashier time for 'big stuff'.

--G.R.R.