So, if you’ve only got a few things, you choose the self-service checkout. At least here you can take the plastic bags if you want, without a discussion about it. Of course you’ve brought your bags for life, but you’d like to make the decision yourself, without scrutiny. It’s a matter of civil liberty.
But, standing at your self-service checkout point, and pressing ‘start’ on the touch-screen, you think to yourself that it’s such a shame machines are taking over the jobs people are perfectly capable of doing – and how sad that we’re losing that sense of community friendliness. Is this what we really want, you think, looking around you at the rows of silent shoppers poking zombie-like at screens, their machines bleeping and talking back at them about “unexpected items in the bagging area”? Is this what we’ve become?
And then it beeps and calls over a member of staff to check you’re old enough to buy that litre of gin you’ve just tried to put through. A moment of human interaction that pulls you back from the brink.