Sam’s Has a Stupid Idea

So instead of cashiers checking out items, Sam’s Club wants to introduce a model where you scan each item with your phone as you pick it up and then pay with the phone, as well. Which will make it impossible to shop with kids because while your nose is stuck in your phone, your toddler is galloping across the maze-like store, making you freak out every five seconds that you won’t be able to locate her before she pitches a mega tantrum, tears into a pack of candy, or collapses a stack of doll houses on herself.

About the worst thing you can do while you shop at Sam’s is take your eyes off your kid for longer than a second. The other day I saw a mom of three, and every one of her kids sprinted in a different direction the moment they came in. The last thing she wanted to be doing was futz with her phone. I only shop with one kid but I need to train for it like a marathoner.

Thank you so much for coming up with a way to make my shopping even harder, Sam’s.

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14 thoughts on “Sam’s Has a Stupid Idea”

  1. If you don’t have a kid in tow, it’s much more convenient to go through an automated check-out lane than deal with a human attendant. Also, you don’t have to fake it and smile and say “Thank You” when you’re in a crummy mood, anyway.

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  2. So instead of cashiers checking out items, Sam’s Club wants to introduce a model where you scan each item with your phone as you pick it up and then pay with the phone, as well

    But just think of the savings they’ll pass onto you by not even having a self-checkout machine anymore!

    I hate, hate going into Sam’s Club or Walmart. It’s always a zoo, there are never enough cashiers and the self-checkout blows.

    I’d be more for this kind of checkout system if it were integrated with a reliable and accurate inventory information system. But it never is.

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    1. I hate Walmart because, as you say, it’s a zoo. But our local Sam’s is nice and peaceful. Always empty when I go. But I have to be vigilant because Klara runs really fast.

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  3. And what about customers who don’t have a smartphone? Or when a phone is out of battery? Or if a coupon or sale doesn’t apply correctly? The reality is that they won’t able to use this to completely replace checkout stations. Just to help reduce lines and wait times.

    Right now it looks like it’s just optional, anyway. They want customers to use it, but there’s no practical way for them to force it without hampering sales.

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    1. “making customers do the work previously done by paid employees”

      It’s called socializing expenses, one of the foundations of neoliberalism. Closing mental institutions was another early example (as is turning airport employees in Europe into de facto border guards)

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      1. Absolutely. The cashier at our grocery store lives in the house just like mine two doors down the street. What’s she going to do when her job is automated out of existence?

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        1. \ The cashier at our grocery store lives in the house just like mine two doors down the street. What’s she going to do when her job is automated out of existence?

          It is already irreversible process which is happening in Israel too. In 10 years or so, there will be no cashiers.

          Another going away profession is driving:

          Intel, Mobileye, Volkswagen Team on Israeli Self-Driving Taxi Venture
          The project, destined to roll out in early 2019, is supported by the Israeli government
          https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3748733,00.html

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  4. Relax. Stores like Walmart and Target aren’t going to switch to totally automated-only checkout with no cashiers available for a long time. (And yes, “10 or so years” is a long time.)

    In the stores in my neighborhood, the few automated check-out lanes move much more quickly than the cashier lanes because most people simply don’t use them. My local supermarket removed all of its automatic lanes after a couple of years to make room for a deli stand, and a Walmart food store cashier told me that everyday they temporarily turn off the automatic lanes in the late afternoon after high school glasses are over, because the students have figured out how to sneak items through the automated lanes without setting off any alarms.

    “Tomorrowland” isn’t here just yet, no fears.

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