Unexpected item on the belt!

Posted: August 1, 2006 in Uncategorized


I was queuing at our local supermarket –Tesco’s (Wal-Mart to those who are stateside) with my sarnie (sandwich) and a drink. At this particular supermarket they have a fully automated checkout which ends your purchasing experience by thanking you for your custom.I know that this checkout chip isn’t up to HAL 9000(by the way I’ll have nothing bad said about Hal –he didn’t mean to Kill Frank Poole and try to Kill Dave Bowman-he was confused) standards in regards to cognition,But is it a sign of progress to be thanked by a machine rather than a person?

Can a machine thank someone, thanks is defined as an expression of gratitude, which is a sense, a feeling .Can the Tesco’s machine feel gratitude when I purchase something?If not then what is happening –is it thanks by proxy? That can’t be can it? For thanks by proxy you would need someone to constantly be feeling gratitude, somewhere in the organisation, perhaps they are paid to feel that emotion, a gratitude operative. It could be that the person who originally was paid to work on the checkout and lost there job to a computer was reemployed as the gratitude operative?

All because ‘Thanks’ is meant to be personal not corporate. 

  1. Cy says:

    This is excellently griffy stuff! Brill, in fact. Great work. Keep on doing the Arthur Dent routine. Wear them down. Bring back the old days.

    I never tried those self-scanners yet. I do not intend to. An employee asked the queue I wass in “You prefer to wait?”. I was the only one to reply. “Absolutely! Every time!”

    By the way, unless the big 4 have become the big three since I last looked, I have to point out with respect a tiny slip. It is Asda that is owned by Wal-Mart, not Tesco. Be not embarrassed, sir. I do things like that all the time.

    Cheers, mate, Cy

  2. Cy says:

    PS: Unless, of course, you were making a parallel twixt Tesco and Wal-Mart in that they are both biggest in their respective operational markets! (I am not embarrassed. I miss the point every time…)

  3. Mike Godfrey says:

    Hi Cy,
    thanks for the post,im not a luddite,in fact I work with computers,but It is good to keep a weathered eye on it.I’m doing an Arthur Dent routine?lol Wheres Trillian?
    I didnt realise it was Asda that Wal-mart had bagged.ho hum .

  4. Having worked in the service industry, I’m ashamed to admit that I developed with great ease an almost entirely robotic ‘personality’ that could chat politely with customers all day long, without my having to engage or even pay much attention to them; a smile, a joke, a compliment, a few conventional politenesses. Years later, I still now and then come across people who think we are great friends – and I have no idea who they are. But really how many times do we interact with not much if any real feeling, but just conventionally? I’m wondering whether to say ‘thanks for an interesting post.’ Do I feel gratitude? It seems hard to even know clearly, I mean it’s not like you saved my life or anything… but you made me think, so thanks for that.
    I used Asda’s self service for the first and last time today; it felt like I was working for them for no pay, and mechanical thanks just didn’t do it for me, money is a sincerer thankyou in these days.
    Cheers, bob.

  5. Bluestrike says:

    HAL 9000 is awesome.

  6. […] Rogan! Story via Sanctuary at Discount. Image via God3’s Blog plug this […]

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