Recently, our neighborhood Smith’s doubled the number of self-check lines as part of a new program called Scan, Bag, Go. The new system allows a customer to carry a scanner through the store, scanning items as they pick them up. At self-check, the scanner can total the selections, “sparing” the customer the need to scan there.
I’m not opposed to this program, per se. If a customer likes this redistribution of labor, fine.
I’m opposed to the abrupt reduction in the number of cashiers working at any given time. I’ve seen only one or two cashiers at the regular checkout while lines grow.
Self-check was originally sold as reducing checkout time. To force more of us to do the labor of scanning and bagging, Kroger (the parent of Smith’s) has cut back on people in favor of machines.
Many people don’t realize that supermarket cashiers are usually union workers. These people work hard and endure standing and repetitive stress for hours in exchange for decent wages and benefits (I hope). These are our neighbors, families, and friends, taking care of us, and bargaining collectively. Unions are our last, dwindling hope for standing up to corporate profiteers.
This new program takes money out of our community and sends it out-of-state. Now, I’m a shareholder in Kroger and I like dividends and profits. However, I will not see my community impoverished for corporate profit. Kroger — all corporations — must support the communities and workers who support them or there will be hell to pay.