Thursday, October 07, 2004

Between classes this afternoon, I eavesdropped on the conversation of the couple walking in front of me. The girl was discussing how she is opposed to the self-checkout at Walmart. She was concerned with the cashiers who are put out of a job due to these machines, and she also mentioned something about outsourcing to other countries.

I didn't feel as though these points held water. There are very few employees who are solely designated as cashiers. Most of them work in other departments and are called to the front to check when the need arises. So their jobs probably aren't in jeopardy due to self-checkouts. And I'm not really sure where outsourcing to other countries fits in; if anything, it's outsourcing to machines.

But it was her final point that stuck with me as I parted ways: Walmart is capitalizing on free labor. WHAT?! My God, she's right! When we as customers use the self-checkout, we are doing for free the job that cashiers get paid for! Walmart is exploiting the labor of their customers! DOES THIS BLOW ANYONE ELSE'S MIND?!

Karl Marx is spinning in his grave.