Soon we will be forced to accept that the days of interaction in a retail environment will be over. I for one am fed up with being told to use self service the results of which are sinister on many levels. But will it affect more than just retail ?
I visited my local post office just yesterday because I had two letters that needed to be sent recorded and next day am delivery. Our local post office usually has six cashiers but I was surprised to find that only a couple of weeks away from Christmas, one of Royal Mails busiest times, there were just two cashiers working. As I joined the lengthy queue I then heard that now familiar voice rattling over the airwaves ‘you can use self service now, would you like me to show you?’ So bloody irritating.. by the time she got to me, saw my two letters she asked enthusiastically ‘Are you just posting letters dear?’ well there are two things that really bug me, the first is being asked what I am doing when it is so bloody obvious and the second is being called ‘Dear’. I informed the lovely lady that I would prefer to speak with a cashier and please not to call me dear. She looked hurt but continued on picking victims out of the queue. You can now post, purchase stamps, order currency just about anything that a human used to do.
Reminds me of last week in my local supermarket when I had one full basket of shopping and was waiting to be served by Madge on checkout 23. A woman in green overalls came up to me and grabbed the handle of my basket saying that I could use self service, I pulled back and told her that I didn’t want to use bloody self service, ‘it’s easy’ she said
‘I don’t care’ I replied ‘now let go of my basket!’ I tugged it from her grasp and she then shouted across the store ‘Anyone else doesn’t feel confident in using self service, let me show you how’ GGGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR !!!!!!!!!
This is happening everywhere, in the bank, in the book store at the filling station..
This morning I saw that after trialling it’s smaller stores, Amazon will be opening it’s first major supermarket in the UK in 2017 where there will be no need for cashiers, you will simply swipe your phone on entry and do your shopping. Everything you pick up will be coded and charged to your bill via an app.
It’s another way of collecting and manipulating personal data but more sinister than this, it is no longer going to provide work for people that so desperately need it. Mums looking for part time hours, people that simply are not educated well enough to find employment other than simple cashier work. It also removes interaction from our daily lives and adds to this insular world we are creating, quite frankly it scares the shit out of me and if it doesn’t scare you then I pity you because you are probably living in a vacuum already.
We have a society where millions spend time doing what they think is socialising but it’s actually not it’s hiding behind a protective wall and creating internet persona. It’s a scary world that is being created all around us and where will it stop. I for one do not want to grow old in a society that does not communicate and relies instead on data and speed and ignorance. I will be looking for shores anew where value is derived from human interaction and surprise and fun and that won’t be in an Amazon Supermarket I can assure you.