Letter: Could self check-outs be eliminating jobs?

To the editor:

I’m a hard-working, average all-American employee. I just read on the Yahoo news feed about Macy’s closing stores which, in turn, will result in 3,900 people losing their jobs.

Yes, I realize this is in part because more of us are taking advantage of online shopping experiences. And that makes sense because we’re usually getting a better price or wider variety of merchandise to select from.

But have you in fact thought of the jobs that are being lost at your local big-box grocery check-out?

Consider the self check-outs at Meijer and Krogers. Have you ever compared the time savings by using a self check-out? I have, and I’ve never once saved any time checking out! In fact, my self study reveals that it actually takes more time, unless I’m only purchasing a very small amount.

My real concern is since there’s no time saving, why are we all rushing to the self check-outs? There is no discount incentive for us to use these lines, so what we’re really doing is allowing big business to eliminate our neighbors’ job security!

During my last experience at Meijer on State Road 135, not only have they now added a “save time at the check-out” in the produce section, where now it’s my option to weigh and tag my produce selection, but when I went to check out at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, there was only one live sales clerk to assist me with my grocery order.

Oh yes, they did have all six self check-outs open. The one sales clerk had six people in line and the six self check-outs were also backed up. Now thankfully, Manager Jason offered to open a check-out just for me, but the ladies in front of me had already waited in line for 10 minutes and were just as exhausted after a full day at work as I was, so I had to ask, “What about these ladies?!” So Jason invited to them to check out with him. By now his line is also backed up with tired shoppers and he’s not even officially open!

Here’s my concern, neighbors: Why are we accepting less service for the same price? All we are doing by quietly accepting less service that none of us are happy with is lining the pockets of the rich while we blue-collar workers (and Manager Jason) struggle to balance our budgets and time with our families.

Do you remember the time when our grocery business was important enough that the stores provided service to your car? Now we’re allowing these stores to take away our neighbors’ jobs because we’re willing to provide them with free labor! There is no incentive to us, the consumer! Every time you use a self check-out, the store saves the former employee’s hourly wage and benefits!

So I will now think twice before traveling 40 minutes to purchase groceries from a big-box chain that is daily eliminating my neighbors’ jobs! Here’s one more reason to support your independent business. Spend your money where YOU matter!

And yes, you can bet I’m sending this letter to Meijer and Kroger’s corporate offices!

Will you back me and share your opinion with big business? As President Donald Trump says, “Let’s make America great again!”

Karen Brock, Bean Blossom

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