In recent years, self-service machines have completely revolutionized the shopping experience in supermarkets and retail stores. The convenience of scanning and paying for our own products has gained ground, but at what cost? It certainly seems that speed is the new currency in the era of automated shopping.
The Rise of self-service transactions is an unstoppable phenomenon that has reached our favorite stores, including Aldi. In addition to the discussion about eliminating job and its current terms, there is another issue: Are we ready for the extreme speed that some of these machines impose?
Critiquing Speed at Aldi
A viral TikTok video with over 1.2 million views uploaded by user @mr.cilantro makes us reflect on this issue. In the funny video, Andrés Pérez —real name of the user— approaches a self-service machine at Aldi, and what follows is a comical interpretation of the urgency that some of these machines seem to convey. Products slide over the scanners at lightning speed, with some even falling in the process.
The comments on Pérez’s post reflect the experiences of many users. Aldi’s self-service machines appear insistent that customers complete their purchases quickly. One user jokingly imitates the machine’s sounds, saying, “Please, scan a product! Choose another option! or finish and pay!” Others share similar stories of feeling rushed by these automatic machines. Pretty much all the customers have the same unpleasant experience.
The Reason Behind Extreme Speed
But what is the reason behind this extreme speed? It turns out that cashiers at Aldi are timed during each purchase.
Employees must meet specific time targets both between customers and during the payment process. Even whether you insert your card into the POS machine or not is closely monitored.
A Reddit user confirms this fact: “I’m a current Aldi cashier, and I can confirm this. When a customer asks me to slow down, I simply tell them, ‘Unfortunately, I’m timed, and I have to go at this speed, or I could lose my job“.
What do the workers think? Some former employees claim that the scanning-per-minute statistics they must maintain are astonishing. One of them, who also served as a shift manager at Aldi, points out that “Everything is timed and calculated to be as fast as possible“.
The Future of Automated Shopping
The Rise of Self-Service Transactions In 2020, according to CNN, 29% of food store transactions were conducted through self-service, a 23% increase from the previous year.
So, it seems like the self-service machine revolution is here to stay, but as demonstrated by this viral video, not everyone is willing to be rushed by automation.
Are we ready to give up personalized service in the name of speed? That is the question we face as we move towards an increasingly automated future in our favorite stores.