Technology has come a long way over the last 30 years. Think back to how we lived our lives in 1993, that really brings things into perspective. 

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Back in the 80’s we would hear of a “Computer” on TV shows or movies, and it seemed unlikely that there would ever be anything like that in your home, despite what The Jetson’s said.  

Now we can do darn near anything from the 4-inch computer in our pockets or purses we call our cell phone. The other night my wife wanted Ice Cream from a nearby fast-food restaurant, I ordered and paid for it from my phone. (and yes the ice cream machine was working)

It some respects the technology has done what it’s set out to do which is make our lives easier or help us be more productive.  

There is one area we’ve gotten used to over the last several years that could be changing. 

I’m talking about stores who rely on self-checkout registers. Published reports this week say that companies are beginning to take a strong, hard look at the use of these registers versus staffing areas with human beings again.  

The stores would love for us to believe they started using self-checkouts for our benefit, to cut down on time spent standing in a line behind someone who was buying two of everything they had. 

But the truth of the matter is that stores went to this business model to try to save themselves money from having to pay someone to do what we could do for ourselves. When we go through a self-checkout, the store doesn’t have to pay taxes for us being on their payroll (although we should get some sort of kickback, right?) 

 The reason stores are reconsidering this feature is because they’re losing money. Either from customers accidentally not ringing up items or just flat out stealing them. (How many times have you gone through a self-checkout and the employee charged with working that station is too busy swiping right to notice what you’re doing) 

Reports state that companies that use or rely more on the Self-Checkouts or Apps where the customer does their own bagging had nearly double the “shrinkage” or loss that stores who did not.  

It’s not always the customer doing something wrong, some products have more than one bar code on them, or the codes don’t work well with the scanner.  

Stores have also added additional expenses by taking extra precautions to help reduce the “shrinkage”, but those measures haven’t made the difference that was needed according to some in the industry.  

Some stores are testing the idea of eliminating self-checkouts or apps where customers do their own bagging. There hasn’t been an announced timeline yet for a widespread reduction in self-checkouts, but it appears something will likely be different with our shopping in the not-so-distant future.  

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