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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kiss your sandwich making self checkouts goodbye

Oh, Safeway. First you redid your sandwich ordering machines in a UI disaster earlier this year, and now they've been completely removed. People now have to line up and bark their orders at the deli workers. It requires a lot of round-trips and restatements since they want to be sure they're getting it right. They can't just look at a printout to be sure.

There's something about trying to convey a sandwich order by speaking. First of all, there's another customer right next to you, so you have to be polite and not speak until both that customer and their "sandwich person" (is there a name for this?) are quiet. Then, there's something I don't think most people realize about grocery stores until they think about it.

Grocery stores are loud. There are audio pages happening constantly - some human, some not. ("Bakery department, extension two, zero, three. Bakery department, extension two, zero, three."). All of them are loud enough to make it impossible to speak to someone while it's happening.

Ordering by talking to someone works just fine at a Subway, Quizno's or other similar place, but then again, they aren't in the middle of a supermarket!

Holes in the floor

This is all that remains of the ordering consoles now: holes in the floor and lines of hungry people trying to be heard.

Maybe I'm just picky, but this seems stupidly obvious to me.