I went to the movies tonight and spent a good fifteen minutes in line to get my ticket. Do not think that this was because of a long line for tickets, but rather there was a long line for popcorn and junk food, and now at my local theatre, it is at the concession stand that we get our tickets on weekdays. As I mumbled my way to my seat I passed the manager. I gave her a quick piece of my mind and she didn’t hesitate to tell me that soon they won’t even have ticket-sellers out front – even on the weekends. I was in too much of a hurry to hear her explanation for this.
I shop so much at Lowes, I know most everyone who works there. I’m starting to know their children and where they’ve gone on vacation. And everyone there knows that I will NOT use the self-service check-out line. “It’s someone’s job,” I tell the lady who tries to round me into that area. “I won’t make it easy on Lowes to fire another person and earn more money,” I usually say to the cashier when checking out. Am I the only one who realizes the immutable fact that each of these little steps into the future of retail is taking away jobs. OK, lousy jobs, but jobs none-the-less.
Our local JC Pennys has two cashiers on each floor. Just two. The scanning equipment is new and fandangled, but again you usually have to wait in long lines, and often are waiting while the cashier asks and tries hard to get each person to sign up for a credit card for a ten percent discount on today’s purchases. Yes, that really speeds things up.
I remember when I first started to pump my own gas. And there isn’t a woman reading this who doesn’t remember when two people checked you out in the grocery line; one to tap in that price, and the other to bag your groceries. Then, and I’m not making this up, there was a line of young boys waiting to carry your groceries to your car, often past a large sign saying “No Tipping.” But we tipped anyhow.
Wasn’t there a Seinfeld episode of Kramer’s idea to have a “make your own pizza” place? It wouldn’t surprise me if that came to fruition. And Europe is rife with little boxes on the tables where you place your own order. Perhaps this is here too, but I live in a small town and haven’t eaten in a big city lately. I imagine we’ll be scanning our own library books with our magnetic strip library cards, then going through metal detectors to assure we did it right. And that’s if there are any libraries left, as I am watching while hours of operation get smaller and smaller.
We drive to car washes and then wash our own cars. We use ATM’s to do our banking, and even that will go away when everyone has committed to the iPhone method of transferring funds, paying for purchases, and making deposits. Is someone going to hand us a pair of scissors while one hairdresser monitors five customers cutting their own hair? OK. Perhaps that is a little far-fetched, but we’re working harder, if we have a job, for less money, and now have to work harder just to spend that money. And each year, maybe even each month, I run across yet another self-service venue that exists for no other reason than to widen the disparity between the haves and the have-nots. I can’t imagine where this is going to end, but it can’t be good for the unemployment statistics, and it certainly isn’t making my life any easier. Agree?