Point of Sale WTF (POS is correct using both definitions)



  • I'm a craft-type person and therefore shop at .. wait for it .. craft-type stores.  For the person who doesn't waste time, money and space on craft related items this means I buy things like 20 hot glue sticks for a US dollar when they're on sale.

    The craft store having this sale currently has a new POS system.  They're ringing up my intended purchase, which includes the aforementioned 20 hot glue sticks.

    They find the card with the appropriate bar code.  And proceed to scan it 20 times.

    WTF?

    I (politely) ask if they can't just use 20 @ [scan] (like they used to quantity 20 of item) and they nicely tell me that whoever designed their new system decided that every item has to be entered individually unless there's something like 50 of the item.

    So we're both counting out loud as she scans the bar code card 20 times.  Note, I watched the screen and it doesn't tell you how many you've done.  Each one is a separate line item.  I'd have to pull out my receipt to see if it summarized them or not.  My thought is 'not'.

    And to make things better, this was part of a weekend sale.  None of them rang up at the sale price.  So she has to void the sale and start over.  THEN they rang up correctly.  I thought this was a singular event but when I went to another store on the same day (I was looking for a very specific thing) it happened the exact same way - first time, no weekend sale.  Cancel and re-scan, weekend sale.

    Yeah, that's a well-designed system all right. 



  •  Shh, George Orwell already told us stupid repetitive tasks are the best way to keep people under control.



  • Sad to say, I believe this is actually a requested feature, to reduce mis-counts of multiple items.

    Of course, it cannot summarize the items, because the receipt is supposed to be an auditable log of what was scanned. That is, it's supposed to be the same as if whatever was scanned was instantly output onto a write-only device, like an old-fashioned register that actually prints the receipt as the order is processed.

    Personally, I think it would be a lot more auditable if it did the summarizing, but that could just be me...



  • So instead of the risk of miscounting when you have the physical items, which you can neatly arrange into rows to count easily, you only have to worry about the risk of miscounting the number of lines on the receipt. Brillant!



  • As someone that's currently working on a business management application, I have to say that it's probably a feature. One request that I've often seen from our clients is that they don't only want to know how many of something were sold, but also which ones. So every item gets its own ID, which then needs to be scanned in from the POS when purchased in order to register at the database.

    There are valid reasons to do this, but most of them only work well for businesses that ring up small numbers of items in every purchase (namely optics).

    The right way to do this would have been to create an item that represents "20 Glue Sticks" and attach a single label to it.



  • They had a card that represented one glue stick of this exact inventory type.  So instead of just doing 20 @ [scan] and getting 20 of them, we had to count out loud as each one scanned.   And it didn't always 'take' on the scan so it wasn't a matter of running the card over the scanner 20 times.

    As this was going on the line behind me was getting longer and longer and longer.

    So while it might have seemed like a good idea up in some corner office it is in reality a horrible way to try to get customers through the check out process.

    Sunstorm's concept of 'create an item to represent X of that item' makes no real sense since people can buy anything from 1 to 500.  Trying to make cards for 5, 10, 20, etc. doesn't fix the underlying issue of 'we're going to make this as difficult as possible for the customers'.

    I haven't written or called the home office yet because I've been busy with other things and the system is still pretty new so I'm thinking that this will be added in a very short time as they analyze the data. 



  • @MrsPost said:

    And it didn't always 'take' on the scan so it wasn't a matter of running the card over the scanner 20 times.

    And right there's the principle that precludes the outcome that management had wanted to have. Due to the inaccuracy in the scanning technology, as 'n' gets larger, the accuracy of forcing items to be individually scanned actually decreases versus letting the cashier count them and just punch in the number. (This is because a cashier will normally catch it if one or two items don't scan. But if they have enough items to get into a rhythm going on the same one, they may miss quite a few without really noticing.)



  • @tgape said:

    @MrsPost said:
    And it didn't always 'take' on the scan so it wasn't a matter of running the card over the scanner 20 times.

    And right there's the principle that precludes the outcome that management had wanted to have. Due to the inaccuracy in the scanning technology, as 'n' gets larger, the accuracy of forcing items to be individually scanned actually decreases versus letting the cashier count them and just punch in the number. (This is because a cashier will normally catch it if one or two items don't scan. But if they have enough items to get into a rhythm going on the same one, they may miss quite a few without really noticing.)

    So they chose the method where they also have an increased risk of giving away free merchandise.  Brilliant!


  •  We have something like this at the supermarket I work at. Only supervisors can do quantity.

     It's a really annoying system designed to prevent different items being scanned as the same (e.g. a Diet Coke and a regular Coke have to be scanned as that - not two Diet Cokes), but people just end up picking up the one item and scanning it twice.

     It also used to appear the number of times it was scanned on the receipt as well (e.g. 20 lines if there were 20 Cokes), but now (fortunately) it says Coca-Cola xx @ $x.xx, no matter which way they are scanned on.

    Although there's reasons for it, it's incredibly annoying.


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