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LETTER: The human touch still has value

Dear editor:

By now, most of us who shop at Safeway have been exposed to the self checkout aisle, whether by choice or with the helpful assistance of one of the staff. Not wanting to assist in the downsizing of the human element I have chosen not to be “trained ”on this cold impersonal device !

I quite enjoy the warm friendly interaction with “real live people”, people who smile and ask “how is your day going” and how was your weekend , vacation,  or did you see the hockey game last night? People who live, work and play in our town  ,whose children, grandchildren go to our schools , participate in local activities,  in short yours  and my neighbours

The other day I was in a fairly long lineup with one of the “live” checkout clerks and one of the staff came over and asked a lady in our lineup if she could help her in another line. The lady said yes and went with the clerk only to return immediately to our line as the staff member had taken her over to the “self-checkout” She commented “I like to deal with people. People who may know me or who at least speak to me and acknowledge my presence  not an automan. The other people in the lineup{which had now grown longer] agreed wholeheartedly and conversations sprung up about the merits of people vs mechanical devices  where “service” { an almost forgotten word} is concerned.

I have spoken with one of the managers about my concerns and he assures me that no one will lose their jobs because of the self-checkout system ,while I do not doubt his sincerity I feel that jobs will be eliminated through attrition and I do not wish to participate in that and I hope I am not alone in this concern. 

Wayne Sutton