I’ve just returned from the Church of Suburbia. You may know it as Home Depot.
On the weekends this place packs the house, almost as bad as IKEA just down the road. The checkout lines are always super long with people buying house plants, a sheet of plywood, bathroom sinks, and duct tape. To just pop in and buy a screw driver could take twenty minutes.
In effort to get people in and out faster Home Depot has installed self-serve check out stands. As if it wasn’t bad enough, waiting for a human to say hello, scan products, order a price check (know and then) take money, and then say, “have a nice day”.
Now we have to wait for untrained consumers to figure out how to scan a toilet or where the UPC code can be found on a palette of sod.
Self service has worked very well for the gas stations, airlines, and movie theaters but when it comes to the bulky, heavy, and sometimes awkward merchandise found in a home repair store, well I can’t tell you how stupid this idea is.
More importantly, what’s going to happen to all the jobs Home Depot is seeking to replace with machines? Hasn’t the home repair warehouse been listening to the news? We need more jobs, not less.
In Alaska, retail is the third largest industry behind oil and tourism. Walmart and friends are among the states highest employers year after year. And I know the 49th state isn’t alone in the need for middle income jobs from the retail sector.
I’m sure this cry was heard when gas stations opened the first “self serve” islands but it seems to me that this is not the time to save a few grand by cutting jobs.
And it’s certainly not a good idea to let Dick and Jane hold up check out line on a Saturday afternoon because they can’t make the computer work.