If self-checkout is the only option, just say so

05Apr11

A few days ago, I needed to replenish a mundane product that my local CVS has apparently stopped carrying. So, I walked to the next-closest store, in the hopes that they might have a few left. The inventory turned out to be rather lacking, but I found a close substitute item, and then headed to the checkout area.

When I arrived at the cash registers, I was greeted with a rather strange layout. There was only one person working near the checkout area, and he wasn’t even manning an actual cash register. All of the credit card terminals were turned off. And the other customers were lining up at the self-checkout terminals, which I don’t remember seeing there during previous visits.

From what I could tell, the store had gone to a self-checkout only arrangement. That’s all fine and good, but they owe it to customers to make the transition as easy as possible. In particular, they should add a sign at each of the old cash registers to explain the new checkout arrangement, and where to go if you need assistance using the new machines. That way, customers won’t be confused when they try to queue up by the former checkout area, only to find out that there’s nobody there to assist them.