The Morning QR Code Buzz

For the past few days the same young gentleman has been in front of me in the tiny Ikegami LAWSON store self checkout line. Each time he attempts to navigate the touchscreen menu but is ultimately defeated and goes to a staffed checkout.. The self checkout supposed to go something like this: 1. select the payment category (Apple Pay, credit card, eMoney, QR code, etc.) 2. confirm that you don’t need a shopping bag that costs extra, 3. scan the items you want to buy, 4. confirm, 5. select the payment method, 6. select the point card. After all this you finally arrive at the purchase confirm button to make the purchase.

For some reason he kept confusing the barcode payment read step with scanning items step. Pretty easy to do. Each time I waited patiently while he ran through different options, backed up, tried a different one, and so on, until he gave up. I’ve seen other people go through the same QR Code payment routine, getting tangled up with too many menu choices and choosing the wrong one, starting over. Of course this happens with an ever growing line of customers waiting to pay. Wasn’t the whole point of going cashless supposed to save time with quick payments? Something happened on the way to that place.

The fact is that matter how many times you do it, the self checkout QR/Barcode thing takes more time than going to the cashier. How well will things go when checkout staff are reduced to the point that self checkout as the only choice? If choice is a good thing, as we all agree, why does technology always end up removing people from the equation? There’s got to be a better solution. One that’s focused on removing friction points for better service while keeping the person to person touch.