When self-checkout feels more like racial profiling
Whether working or shopping, everyone black is not a thief
I love one particular store chain*. They have my favorite vegetarian items, household products, electronics and beauty essentials. Being able to find a combination of all four perks is important to me. I’m not the kind of consumer who wants to go to eight different stores to grocery shop. My weekly grocery runs are at this popular discount chain* and a higher-end grocer, then pretty much everything else is bought online. But I have a bone to pick with one store location, and it’s primarily due to the self-checkout experience. I dodge it unless I’m already nearby (and usually drive past it even then), primarily because I am profiled by store employees and/or management every time.
I’m no stranger to retail. In college, I worked for Walgreens (two years as a cashier, a few months as a photo tech). During spring and winter breaks, I was a cashier and gift wrapper at Borders Books, Music and Cafe. Immediately after graduation, I worked for Walmart (eight months as a photo tech).
So ringing items up, checking prices, correct bagging and price verification is not new to me. It’s the primary reason I prefer self-checkout. I can get in and out, knowing full well my manufacturing coupons were used correctly, the prices are accurate, the bags are not stuffed to capacity and store membership points are credited. The only problem I have is related to the employees at self-checkout in this location — either management and/or the employees have a tough time understanding the self part of self-checkout. In turn, I end up frustrated after every visit to this store location, so I drive past it 99.9 percent of the time during my next grocery run.
When the self-checkout profiling began
It started off small. First there was the white, female cashier who stood behind me to watch me ring up every item. Then there was the cashier who wanted to “help” bag items for me at self-checkout, but not the other three (white) customers purchasing their items. Then there was the cashier who jogged over when I accidentally scanned an avocado instead of typing in the code, loudly yelling, “I knew you would do that!” By incident number three (same cashier all three times), I walked away altogether and she asked me about paying. Meanwhile an older white lady was waving her hand for assistance.