Sounding Off on Self-Checkouts

Before I was old enough to drive, self-serve gas stations became popular. The days of attendants filling up your tank, checking your oil, and cleaning your windshield were fading into history. One summer, I briefly worked at a gas station that wasn’t self-serve. Despite being by the freeway, few customers stopped for gas because the prices were higher than at convenience stores. Full-service stations are now almost non-existent. Oregon recently lifted a ban on self-service stations. New Jersey is now the only state where customers cannot pump fuel for themself.

It wouldn’t surprise me if similar laws get passed concerning self-checkouts at stores like Walmart. They have become more common during the last few years. As a result, I regularly see complaints about them on social media. Many gripe, “I don’t work there!” So? Didn’t these customers put their groceries in the shopping cart instead of an employee doing that? Whether or not a human cashier is available, they still have to take their stuff out of the cart to get scanned and then carry them out the door.

Others argue self-checkouts take away jobs. As technology advances, some jobs disappear, but new ones are needed. Many tasks still require humans. One cannot buy alcohol or cigarettes at a self-checkout because their age needs to be verified. Cashiers usually are required by their employers to perform other duties. 

If you prefer a human being to do transactions with, that’s your prerogative. I like self-checkouts since they help me get out of the store faster. It’s similar to using an ATM instead of waiting for a bank teller, using an E-ZPass instead of lining up to pay a toll collector, or buying something from a vending machine. Occasionally, I’ll seek out a live cashier when needing to return an item, wanting a particular combination of change back from my purchase, or feel led to share the gospel with someone.

If you don’t like using machines to checkout at the store, you could shop someplace else. Regarding eternity, there won’t be a self-checkin aisle at the Pearly Gates. Everyone still needs to go through Jesus to be saved. You cannot buy a stairway to heaven.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” - John 14:1


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