Is the cashier going to disappear by 2020?
It has sparked my interest , in recent days I have visited the local grocery "super-stores" and have found an increasing number of "scan it yourself" registers. These are all automated , fully functional and semi-intelligent cashiers.
It made me wonder : "if we went from signing paper to touch pin-pads, what's next?" Rather obviously I can't be positive that the pin-pads and smart-card readers will be ancient history compared to this new-aged concept of fully mechanized cashiers. In fact, a "Trader Joe's" somewhere in New England (I forgot the exact location, sorry) actually has a "scan it yourself" line where all the products are scanned, put on a conveyor, then they are bagged by a machine that separates them by weight, class (eggs for example would be in the "fragile" class) and content , then are bagged accordingly.
All you really do is put all your items on the conveyor , wait a few seconds, pay, and lastly, take your bags and leave. The concept is amazingly simple, effective , and certainly will change the future of the "typical cashier".
I just don't know how a real cashier can compete with a machine that does it all , and at half the time--not to mention designs are being improved and developed every day. Soon we may see a change in the amount of store associate jobs as well. A Russian company , based in New England, called "Kiva Systems" has already created robots that categorizes stock , separate it, and smartly arrange it in appropriate locations. This means that more jobs are certain to open in "technology maintenance" , and significantly less "unskilled part time" jobs will exist, most will be cut by 2020.
Not only will employers be saving money not having to pay employees, but the chance of faults or errors significantly drops when maintenance is turned over to mechanized units, I mean just look at car production factories, a robot designed to do it's job rarely fails-- not to mention they work 24/7.
So what does that mean for the cashiers? Well, hopefully nothing for the next 5-10 years :) Talk more about this on our forums here : "Current Events"