Surprising Item in the Bagging Area

Rob Perry
Director | Gathering Momentum Ltd
10th March 2019
Member roleChamber member

This statement, above all digitally triggered articulation, gets me heading for a long line of grocery laden consumers with a human being at the end every time. I don’t mind the wait for an age-verifying assistant when purchasing alcohol. I can handle the complex ‘loose grocery’ and payment menu options (to be fair my teenage daughters have no problems here). But this loud, histrionic bellyache bugs me for the following 3 reasons…

Confusion – What does it mean? What have I done? I never once heard a checkout person use this phrase. I never once placed anything on a supermarket conveyor belt I didn’t intend to.

Exposure – For the benefit of everyone within a 10 metre radius, this is the guy who can’t use the self-scanning checkouts.

Guilt – This poor machine has no idea what’s going on and is struggling to make itself understood. An unsettled store-clerk will have to come along and calm it down so it can continue to transact with this clumsy human.

In the crusade for efficient automation and artificial intelligence, it’s important to remember what we really crave is culturally and emotionally aware interaction. Compare “SIITBA” with the dulcet and charming character of the Post Office’s “Cashier Number # Please”. Not only is this a gratifying and calming reward for waiting your turn in the queue, but every time I hear it, I’m happily reminded of that Roger Moore stand-up routine by Jack Dee (Not Included). Roger Moore Post Office UK TV Commercial

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