The Machines Take Over


Don’t even consider thinking.

It would appear that independent thought has been abolished at my local supermarket. I’ve just popped down the town to buy a couple of bits and bobs. Total came to £3.54. Not having the exact change I gave the assistant a fiver then said “would you like the odd 4 pence?” “Sorry can’t do that, I’ve already rung it in.” So, staff have been ordered to avoid doing mental arithmetic have they? What earthly difference would it make if she just took the odd 4 pence and gave me £1.50 in change? The till would still add up. But no, she’s rung up £5.00 so the change has to be £1.46. Sod the extra coins wearing a hole in my pocket.

The machine is in charge. Deviate from the ‘amount displayed‘ at your peril.

I wonder if Mr Chalk is allowed to teach independent thinking?

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3 Responses to The Machines Take Over

  1. Vicki Bradley says:

    I take offense at this remark. I personally work for a well known supermarket chain, quite happily I will add despite having GCSEs, A levels, and having turned down two places at university. The whole point of the “I’m sorry I can’t do that comment, I’ve already rung it in.” is not so that checkout operators do not have to do mental arithmetic, (most of my operators are very intelligent people, and are perfectly capable of doing so) it is due to company policies. This is designed to stop unsavoury members of the public then trying to obtain more money from the operators than they are entitled to. This also applies to the “I’m sorry I cannot change money for you at this till, you will have to go to Customer Services” comments you may also receive.

    Just because you may have been to university, and believe that you do a more worthwhile job, do not belittle those whom have not and choose to sit behind a checkout and scan and pack items for a living. At the end of the day its a job that they are trained to do. You could give them the right money in the first place instead of as an after thought. Or if you prefer use a self scanning checkout.

  2. Carmelo says:

    O for heavens sake calm down Vicki, he most obviously wasn’t making a dig about the hieracy of proffesions. I too have worked (and still do) occaisonally in the “service market”, and you’re right some people who work are smart, but on the other hand you cannot deny some simply rely on the till to do the numeracy for them. I know this because occasionally I do it too. However, whereever possible if a situation arises like that I do try and help out, as it helps out the customer and shows that you are an individual capable of providing good service, and are willing to go the extra mile to help somebody. Using the “its company policy” excuse is silly and a cop-out, if everybody followed the rules to the letter nothing would ever be accomplished.

  3. Craig says:

    I’ll plow in here with another side to the story. As an impoverished student I have to turn my hand to the retail game far too much and toil in a supermarket.

    As I work on a butchers counter my brain stays on, but the second I sit down to work a checkout as relief staff, it switches right off only monitoring what the time is in relation to when I finish.

    Personally (as a dispatcher of terrible customer service) I couldn’t care less if the customer already has the change and wants rid of it, take it to a bank or give it to me straight away. I have a til filled with loose change, a spare change drawer filled with more and a cash office laden with even more of the horrible stuff. Anyway, coins give you something to jangle as you walk…

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