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Do you use self service checkouts?

I don’t. It’s not that I don’t think that they offer any benefit to me, it’s more about the harm that they do to the store’s local economy.

The primary function of a self service checkout is to reduce the cost of having staff at a store. The more customers that use them, the less staff the store needs to employ to work at traditional checkouts. The savings of which are usually passed on to investors as dividends than to the customers as lower prices.

A store that employs real people to perform their checkout function will usually pay a local person to perform this job. That person will in turn spend a proportion of their earnings locally, which will have the knock on effect of providing employment for someone else in their community that serves them.

Conversely, a store that uses self service checkouts provides fewer local jobs, potentially increasing the number of unemployed people locally by denying them this work. For those that are in work and paying taxes, self service checkouts contribute to the burden of unemployment benefit payments locally.

So, if you are a tax payer and use self service checkouts, you only have yourself to blame for increasing the unemployment burden on your tax contributions. The next time you go to a store that has self service checkouts and you get shuffled into using one by ‘helpful’ staff, politely decline by saying “I would rather give a local person the opportunity to be paid for serving me”.

Sometimes using a human operated checkout can take longer than a self service checkout, particularly if you have to queue to be served. It is worth taking the time to queue. I usually make a point of using the checkout nearest to the self service machines and letting the person at the checkout know that I chose to spend the time waiting to be served so that they had a reason to keep their job. If there are people using the self service checkouts I will often comment “The people that use those self service checkouts are causing more unemployment in this town”. It makes some people stop and think.

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