Thursday, April 9, 2009


The LA and I go out and knit with a group of friends every Wednesday, and they really are friends. We all talk, knit, tease each other, drop one-liners, and generally terrorise the customers at the Borders where the meetings occur. This is all well and good, but there is a dark side.

The dark side is where the LA and I get dinner on those nights. We go to the Jack in the Box which is on the way to Borders. The staff there were coming to know us and expect us, but now they've had a new thing installed: a touch-screen, automated order-taking kiosk. For the British folks, think of the ticket machines at a railway station. For the US, think of a touchscreen voting machine, except this one actually has been secured and leaves an auditable paper trail. Funny how one's burger is so much more important than one's leader.

Anyway, this machine is a good thing (it gives you a running total, it has the entire menu in it, and it allows you to special-order without the difficulty of getting the right information over to the employee or looking up the product build online ahead of time), but I can't help missing somewhat the interaction with the staff. Sure, it's more efficient, but now their involvement is limited to handing us the cups and, later on, the food. Another little chance to connect is gone.

1 comment:

  1. We've got self-service till points in a lot of supermarkets over here. As well as losing a chance to connect, as you say, it's also another chance for management to cut down staff to bare minimum.
    And it means customers are doing the work for the company! Well, it feels like that to me lol. Interesting post x


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