By Sahid Fawaz

If there is one thing that everyone can agree on it's that self-checkout machines are evil.

No one asked for these machines. Instead, greedy corporate executives who want yet another yacht decided to force them on to us.

Here are three reasons why these machines are bad for the customers, workers, and the country as a whole.

1. They kill jobs, resulting in a race to the bottom

Working class Americans have faced a tough struggle the last few decades as jobs have become more scarce. Using self-checkout machines reduces the number of jobs, which increases the supply of workers who are desperate for any job. This puts downward pressure on the wages of existing jobs as the available unemployed labor pool increases.

2. Self-checkout machines don't pay taxes

Each job killed is a reduction in taxes paid by a potential employee. It's also a reduction in taxes paid by the employer. This decrease in taxes paid means less revenue for government and, consequently, less services that it can provide to those in need.

3. Customers hate these machines

Want to anger your customers? Put in a self-checkout machine. It's a guaranteed way to increase checkout times and frustration as customers wait for an employee to help them with the constant computer errors and misunderstandings. 

Sign our petition vowing not to use self-checkout machines during Ethical Consumer Week (ECW), April 10-14.


0 #37 Richard 2017-08-07 14:03
Quoting chris:
I can't wait until the day when a computer replaces ppl that write shitty articles.
Believe it or not, they already have bots to write fake news.
-1 #36 chris 2017-08-06 06:19
You better not be an adult and relying on a cashiers job, if you are, YOU SCREWED UP! Jobs have been getting mechanized for decades, where have you been? I don't know about you but when I want to buy 1 item, I don't want to be stuck on a line with ppl with many items. I can't wait until the day when a computer replaces ppl that write shitty articles.
+5 #35 Leslie Ermert 2017-08-05 16:14
Self check outs are here to stay. Just like most technology they reduce costs which reduces prices which makes everyone's dollar go further. For the foreseeable future there will be some need for human cashiers as some will be slow to embrace change. Cashier jobs aren't full time and they haven't been for a generation. Fighting to keep obsolete jobs is foolish in the face of technology. It's like fighting to keep blacksmiths, we just don't need them any more.
+3 #34 Bonart 2017-08-05 10:51
Self checkouts appeared when minimum wage hike was eminent. Companies laid off full time people and kept part time workers to avoid paying insurance for them. Part time workers didn't last. Self checkouts don't need raises or insurance or vacations. The higher minimum wage goes the more self checkouts/robotics you will see. I prefer self checkouts. They always greet me and thank me for shopping and I can bag my items the way I want it done.
+2 #33 Edward Wrighr 2017-08-05 10:31
By the same logic, you should never open a door for yourself, because you're taking a job away from a doorman. But if you hire someone to open doors for you, you've just spent that money and can't use it for something else. Which means, you've "taken a job away" from another person at some other time. And that might be a job that's actually productive and grows the economy, rather than a makework job opening doors.
+2 #32 Randy 2017-08-05 08:24
They do kill jobs but that's inevitable. As automation, robotics and AI develop faster and faster we cannot and we should not stop it for the sake of wage slave labor. Labor needs to start preparing and support iniatives like guaranteed income or even better, an existence where technology provides for us all equally with equal access for all. It's going to be a bumpy transition but less so if ppl wise up and stop trying to swim against the current. I like the automated checkouts myself. What a waste of human potential to be beeping crap through all day. I also love shopping from home with Amazon et al instead of driving and parking contributing to all the negatives of a car culture. Ultimately, saving a job to support consumerism is destroying our life support system. We need a new economic model and I see automation, etc providing that with ultimate freedom for humanity.
0 #31 John Matheson 2017-08-05 06:13
I never thought about the labour consequences but now they make 100% sense to me!

As I am getting older, I am getting absent-minded. I went to one of those auto-checkouts, and forgot 3 items. I had to go back to the store the next day at and stand in a customer service line for 20 minutes before they would let me get my items (which had been restocked)

I use my own buggy. Only two days ago I packed it after going through the checkout staffed by a nice person and I forgot one item. As I was trundling away she called out "Sir you forgot something" and I got my item (only one this time :lol: )

Now imagine I am not the only person who forgets items and multiply it by the thousands of checkout machines there are out there. The stores must be making out like bandits on getting paid for forgotten merchandise!
+1 #30 Gordon Powrie 2017-08-05 05:17
Quoting Victoria colman:
Nice opinion piece, too bad not everyone has the same opinion! There is still a clerk posted near the self checkout to ensure the customers are scanning every item, and assist those who have issues, so no job loss, therefore, no tax loss. Also not everyone hates them! I prefer to use self checkout over dealing with snotty miserable cashiers anyday!

So you've got six self-checking machines; that's six people not working, not paying taxes, and not spending as much money to drive the economy along. If we're going to give folks more leisure time due to not working, we have to provide some means for them to have some sort of a life, not just an existence.
+1 #29 Mick 2017-08-04 13:27
I have never used them for the sole reason of reason 1 and 2 and I tell my children not to use them also.the more people working the more money will be spent on other services, it's a knock on effect.
+4 #28 Richard Haven 2017-08-04 09:55
How do you feel about self-serve has pumps?

What about markets where customers get their own items of the shelf, and push a cart around ?

What about phone sanitizers?

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