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The Robotic Cashier
In a perfect world. complaining would make sense.
She was alive, Vern was sure of it, but by all other indicators she was as robotic as anything he’d ever seen in the AI world.
Vern had never thought of anyone as robotic before. But the dollar store cashier wearing the name tag Mindy was such a creation.
“Did you find everything you needed today, sir?” Mindy asked.
“No, as a matter of fact…”
“That’s too bad, sir.” Mindy said, cutting him off in mid-sentence.
Mindy scanned his items, gave Vern his receipt, and circled something at the bottom with a yellow marker.
“If you take the time to fill out a brief survey about how we did today, you’ll have a chance to win a $100 gift card.”
“But, didn’t you want to hear about something I was looking for but couldn’t find?”
Mindy squinted at Vern, looked to his right, and said, “Next in line, please!”
All the way out to his car, he kept thinking, “Yeah, can’t wait to fill out that survey. Mindy will not know what hit her at Corporate!”
As he opened the car door, Vern looked back at the dollar store. He surmised that even though Mindy was making a dollar or two above minimum wage, she wasn’t paid to provide exceptional customer service. She was paid to scan items, take people’s money, and do it again two hundred times a day, every day. She wasn’t even paid to answer customer’s complaints or inquiries. Sure, there were other cashiers like her who walked that extra mile, but they weren’t in that role long. Management would see their potential and promote them from within the company.
But not Mindy or thousands like her.
Vern stared at the dollar store for what seemed like an hour. He even had pity on Mindy, though he didn’t know a thing about her.
Would Corporate – that endless sea of paper pushers – even care about my answers? Worse, could Mindy lose her job based on what I wanted to tell them?
Vern checked his receipt and his bag. Everything he bought was accounted for. He started the car and headed for home.
It’s a dollar store and it served its purpose in a world full of luxury item stores. Anything more than Mindy had provided in the way of customer service would require a five- or ten-dollar store.
He smiled at that thought, knowing that was the best answer to his first world complaint.
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