Jocelyn Rivera has noticed something missing lately on her weekly visit to the CVS/pharmacy in Jamaica Plain: people behind the counter.
“It’s super-weird that you don’t see employees,’’ Rivera said. “I usually stopped and talked to them.’’
CVS Caremark Corp., the nation’s second largest drugstore chain, has been replacing human cashiers with unmanned checkout terminals at some stores in key urban markets, including Boston. Self-checkout machines are being added as part of a redesign of some CVS stores, which are also expanding their food sections. The self-scanners help to save labor costs, according to analysts. CVS cited another reason for the switch: to make shopping faster and more convenient for customers.
“We found that in urban markets, our customers shop our stores much more like a general store than a drugstore,’’ said Erin Pensa, director of public relations for CVS, in a statement. Self-checkout machines “make it easier for shoppers to get in and out of the store and have greatly reduced ‘rush hour’ lines,’’ Pensa said.
By the end of this year, CVS expects to complete redesigns in 420 of its 7,300 stores nationwide.
What's your opinion on this trend? Personally, I absolutely refuse to use a self-service checkout counter. I'll stand in line to do business with a live pwrson rather than deal with a computer terminal. It seems to me that especially now, at a time when unemployment is reaching for an all-time high, it is uncscionable to try and cut down on the work-force by replacing cashiers with self-service units.