We live very close to a shopping center where they offer self-service shopping. You get a scanner, scan your products and pay at the register based on what you scanned. Yeah: they do trust you to scan all the products in your trolley. About as far as they can throw you. So they do ‘spot checks’ where they randomly pick you to scan a number of items to check if you scanned them. But you have to wonder how random it is, when you get picked every single Friday night.
Every Friday evening we do shopping. Not always at the same time, but most Friday evenings withing the same hour. And we get picked for ‘random checks’ 9 out of 10 times. We joked about it at first. Until the joke is just starting to wear thin and we say things to each other like ‘it’s still faster than normal queueing’. I would not mind if I had the feeling there were frequent checks and every other customer got checked. But I have not observed that. I have observed we get checked 9 out of 10 evenings based on I dunno what kind of spooky random algorhythm that they use. Can I borrow it for my lottery draws, please? I’d like a 9 in 10 chance to win sometimes.
So how random is it? I really have no idea. But I am mistrustful of these things, to be honest. I know there has to be a button the register-person can push to force a check based on whatever they rely on for instinct. That’s what I would built in anyway. So the supermarker employee can look in our cart and think ‘they probably try to get that beer for free. Better scan them!’ Because it always happens when we have alcohol in the cart. That’s how random it is. We don’t buy alcohol all the time and when we don’t have any in the cart, we have a better chance of not getting scanned.
In the UK the self-service shopping is slightly different that in The Netherlands. You pick up your stuff, go to the register and there you scan your products under the watchful eye of one or two employees. And they never re-scan your stuff. It is bloody difficult to get something passed them unscanned anyway. But no one seems to even think about it either! So… why us, why in The Netherlands?
I just wish I knew what made us so untrustworthy. … They never ever find something we did not scan. They thought they did once, but I KNOW we scanned it and it was on trhe scanned list. They just denied it was on there so we had to move to the regular queue. Weird huh? It’s just weird.