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Saturday, 28 May 2011

March of the machines

Readers of the blog will know that I'm no fan of the automated self service tills in stores, but for those who thought my 'the end is nigh' forewarnings were unwarranted then check this out.

McDonald's restaurants in Europe will soon be swapping the chain's legendary "service with a smile" with "service with a beep." European McDonald's restaurants are preparing to replace cashiers with touch screen computers at terminals where customers will be able to order up their hamburgers and fries and pay with credit cards.

About 7,000 of the fast food franchise's locations in the United Kingdom will be fitted with the touch screen technology, which aims to make the McDonald's experience more convenient and accommodating.

The touch screen method of ordering will improve efficiency and make the average transaction three to four seconds faster for each customer, Steve Easterbrook, president of the European branch of McDonald's, told the Financial Times. Easterbrook didn't provide a date for when the touch screens, which were inspired by a trip to Japan, will be introduced to UK McDonald's restaurants.

The new terminals will also phase out cash as an accepted payment method, as the machines will only take credit and debit cards. No word yet on whether McDonald's in the United States will be next in line to replace cashiers with computers, but the addition doesn't seem to be part of the ongoing $1-billion makeover of the company's U.S. restaurants.

Now obviously there are still those who will say 'so what' and dance along on their merry way using these tools of the devil, and if they can be bothered maybe they will ask what has it to do with them, but I'll tell you what it has to do with them, and by extension you.
Do you work in a bar or restaurant?
If so then who do you think will be popping in for a pint or a meal when all the supermarkets and fast food outlets downsize their staff?
Do you think that it is just possibly this downsizing could have a knock on effect, and with less people going out to socialize that it may be possible that the bar or restaurant that you work in will then becomes non viable as a business concern due to the downturn in custom?
Maybe you could then find yourself unemployed to.
That's okay though.
You can join the ranks of the checkout staff and fast food workers in unemployed solidarity.
Do you work in retail?
Well if the opportunity of placing a self service machine is available to your employer do you think that they will think twice about cutting the wage bill while increasing the companies profits by implementing their use?
Of course they wont.
They can't even get it into their thick fuckin' skulls that the less people working means the less cash there is floating about and ultimately that means their profits will dip.
Oh wait a minute. If I can see that then surely they can to. So that means they simply don't give a shit, and they don't give a shit because the future doesn't concern them.
They want to increase the profits now and will happily ride that wave till it crashes on the beach leaving everyone else in the shit up to their necks while they forge ahead to the high ground cushioned from austerity from the cash they are making in the present.
This is the sort of people that we are dealing with, but then again when I go to the supermarket I see plenty of people using these self service tills without considering the long term effects.
It's like watching turkeys voting for Christmas.
Are you one of the turkeys?
You probably are, and if so then you might be taking a bit of offence at my describing you as such.
If you are then maybe you are getting a bit pissed off at your moronic attitude being shoved in your face.
Fuckin' tough.
Lets be honest here. Is there anybody who will not be affected by the introduction of these machines?
I don't think there is.
So maybe you could do yourself a favour and take your head out of your arse and think about how you are part of the problem here.
Is there a solution though?
Of course there is.
Don't bloody use them.
Look at what McDonalds is saying here. You could save up to 3 to 4 seconds in getting served.
Is that additional 3 to 4 seconds worth someone losing their job over?
It's the same with the supermarkets. They claim they will pass any saving they make onto the customer.
That's spin.
The truth is they are making savings by downsizing their staff and your tin of beans will be a penny cheaper.
That's it.
How much do you think you will save from your shopping from the introduction of these tills.
Maybe a quid a week, but for you to save that quid someone else could lose their job, drop well below the poverty line, maybe lose their home.
Get a grip people.
You are corroborating in this. They need you to use them for this to work to their benefit.
There is so much that people feel we have no say in. So many issues that we feel we are being ignored on, but it is in our power to stem this tide of profiteering at societies expense.
Can I make it any clearer than that?

If this has pushed you towards actually doing something then please feel free to spread it about, or at the very least raise the point with others.


  1. what a crock mate and only form the big M aye fuckin wonder the worlds is in the state its in job wise with ideas to not put ppl into work but put them out of work not a fan of the big M however i do have the occasional burger ect , but this is just technology gone to far ....they even have a similar touch screen service at my doctors , where instead of going to the desk and saying you have an appointment now go to this screen and put your details and appointment time and which doctor your there to see ...fuck me the worlds just gone 100% MAAAAAAAAAD!!!

  2. There's a Tesco express in England that has a security guy and backroom staff. No one else. All self serve. Anyone that uses it must be a selfish cunt in my book. B&Q have them, Argos and if people keep using them more and more stores will introduce them and then downsize staff. It's mental.

  3. You will not catch me using them.I would rather queue for a few minutes than use these things.It seems everywhere is bringing themin now !

  4. I'm sick of them, and sick of people myopically using them.
    It makes me angry.
    Is it selfish behaviour or ignorance?
    I'm not sure what is worse.
    All those nice young couples with their kids with them actively taking away the part time jobs that their children might need to support them through further education. How short sighted are they?

  5. I'm not a fan of the touch screen stuff, but at least I can actually use it when I'm forced to do so - imagine you're 80 years old at the doctors surgery mentioned in the earlier comments. Nothing like making older people feel like they really don't belong, huh? Want to hear scarey? My 11 year old asked me what something was at a car boot today - it was a typewriter.