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Taylor Purefoy, a cashier at Eddie's of Mt. Vernon, bags food in plastic bags for customers at the store.
Taylor Purefoy, a cashier at Eddie's of Mt. Vernon, bags food in plastic bags for customers at the store. (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun)

For many years, I've had a saying that my friends and family have rolled their eyes about: "When the grocery store begins to reimburse me as a temporary employee of their store, that's when I'll start ringing up my own groceries. When the store starts lowering the price of its food to reflect the cost savings it enjoys by firing cashiers, that's when I'll start ringing up my own groceries."

Once again, the chickens are coming home to roost, in this case on the heads of an impatient pubic that didn't want to wait three minutes to purchase one or two items and failed to realize that their welcoming of self-checkout kiosks would someday lead to all of us needing to tabulate our own grocery bill whether we had one item or 100 (“The future of work: Being a cashier is Maryland’s most common occupation, but it’s likely vanishing,” May 30).

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As the primary shopper for a family of four who almost always has a cart full of groceries and is not trained as a cashier, the self-checkout machine does not represent increased convenience. Furthermore, I resent the fact that my wait time for a live cashier has substantially increased over the years because this bit of technology that increases the consumer's workload has replaced a human being who reduced it. Since when did we all willingly and without pay start working for technology (and the grocery store) rather than it working for us?

Just yesterday, a family member groused about having to drive much further to find an athletic store ever since the Towson Sports Authority went out of business. What he failed to acknowledge was the role that consumers have played in the demise of brick and mortar stores by choosing to shop online instead. He's also one of those people who prefers the self-checkout kiosk. I wonder what complaints he'll have in a few years when he has no option but to ring up a cart full of groceries because his deliberate consumer choices have once again led to an erosion of service.

Brigitte Jacobson, Baltimore

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