February 18, 2014

Walmart Fails

In my opinion, Walmart, one of the largest and most frequent stores around, is wonderful in the fact that you can buy practically anything you can think of without having to search for a specialized store.  Unfortunately, Walmart has its downfalls too.  Some of which I have experienced in other stores, and some of which remain entirely Walmart.
Walmart Peeve Numero Uno (I'm sure I'll think of more later.):  One of the most irritating things at Walmart is the 'self checkout' lanes.  Because they're not really self check out.  If they were self check out, you would go to a register, scan your items, bag them however the heck you want, pay, and leave.  This is not how Walmart self checkout works.  You go to a register, click 'start,' and casually begin scanning your items.  Now, lets say you have only a few items to purchase, and that's why you chose self checkout.  It will not make your life move any faster.  Guaranteed.  First of all, if you don't put that item in the stupid 'bagging area' the right way, the register gets really confused.  Now, I would have thought computer systems would be smarter than this by now, but apparently not.  Depending on the problem it thinks is happening which is really not, it will show you several different error messages:
"Item was not placed in bagging area.  Please wait for assistance."
"Unexpected item in the bagging area.  Please wait for assistance."

Now, I can understand the unexpected item in the bagging area being a problem, because people can steal things.  But seriously, it would take one really dumb crook to put something he didn't intend to buy on a Walmart register in the first place.  The one about it not being placed in the bagging area, well, that's just plain useless.  What if we're a bunch of tree huggers trying to save the environment by not using plastic bags? TOO BAD.  USE THAT BAG, OR I WILL NEED ASSISTANCE.  Heaven forbid you wanting to just put the item in your cart and go home.

This honestly reminds me of 2001 Space Odyssey:

Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL. 
HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that. 
Dave Bowman: What's the problem? 
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do. 
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL? 
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it. 

I honestly think that the "Please place item in bagging area" message is for the purpose of hiring those 'assistants.' You know, those Walmart employees always hawking over everyone's shoulder at the supposed 'self' checkout.  I understand that if they just implemented a bunch of machines to replace their employees, many people would lose their jobs.  I respect that.  But what's the point of calling it 'self checkout' if you can't do it without the 'assistance' of someone else?  Something needs to change about this system.

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