Self Serve.

I decided we should probably check out the Wal*mart that’s just around the corner from our new home. From the outside it looks like a fairly new location. It’s not overly huge as it has only set of doors instead of two like found on the former “Supercenters”.

I’m not a huge fan of Wal*mart in general, but I am a fan of their use of technology. Anecdotes from employees indicate you can go an entire work shift at the store without ever talking to your supervisor or even another employee. The registers have been expanded to provide guidance on all aspects of the employment experience at Wal*mart and they are supplemented by apps on smartphones and the like. Plus, I’m pretty sure the chain runs on Linux.

Back to our local store. As expected, customer mask use is not as prevalent as seen in other stores in the Tucson area. I was not surprised by this and honestly I’m thankful to be fully vaccinated. The store is rather crowded and the selection of clothing in the Men’s Department was limited. Maybe I’m just the standard size of man in the Tucson population. I was able to find a couple of t-shirts for a decent price and my husband selected a couple of tank tops. We went to the front of the store to head through the checkouts.

This Wal*mart has a total of four checkout lanes. Four. The old Ames store in my hometown in Upstate New York had four registers for the first year of its existence when they realized the shopping population of the village of 2500 or so overwhelmed the number of registers in the store, so they added several more on the ends of the existing checkstands.

Zero of the four registers at this Wal*mart were populated by a store employee. All customers had to checkout through a self-checkout area, which was this large corral of self-service cash register being managed by two employees. Because this full service Wal*mart has groceries in addition to typical discount department store fare, there were carts everywhere, people using motorized buggies trying to navigate through this corral of relatively tightly packed shoppers trying to get through the self checkout process.

I am thankful for my vaccinated state.

Now, I’m torn when it comes to self-serve checkouts. On one hand, I like not having to interact with a cashier and being able to do things myself. On the other hand, I’m not paid by the corporation to do the work, I don’t see a drop in prices or an applied discount for doing the work myself, and I really don’t like the idea of taking a job away from someone trying to make ends meet by working at Wal*mart. I’m fine with self-serve checkouts when there’s a choice. It seems that Wal*mart is taking away the choice. I’m not a fan of that.

Overall I’m pleased that we experienced the Wal*mart closest to our home but I don’t feel the need to go back there again. If we’re in the mood for a Wal*mart experience there’s a Wal*mart Neighborhood Market down the way where we can buy snack food or something.

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