Businesses still fret over these issues, and against a tight labor market, more companies are making self-checkouts the norm. But the machines failed to live up to their promises. This week, Walmart’s CEO said that thefts “are higher than what they’ve historically been”, which many staff and customers link to self-checkouts. On top of that, the machines have made things harder for the workers who they were supposed to replace.
That includes 25-year-old James, head cashier at a large Washington state store, where he’s worked for four years. He says running the self-checkout has become one of the most tiring parts of his job, which pays just a little more than minimum wage.
Customers often take out their frustrations on him. “This should be your fucking job, not mine,” he recalls a man snapping at him recently. “I said, ‘Sir, no one’s forcing you to come to self-checkout. If you want a cashier you can go to register three.’”
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