Tech vs. Service

Tuesday, July 12, 2024

I went online to check an item at Costco. Its website has a totally new appearance. Exploring products available for shipping from Costco is similar to doing so on Amazon’s site. About time, Costco!

Recently while in Costco, I saw an interesting item but didn’t purchase. On rethinking, later I checked for the item online, not expecting to find it but did. A surprise. Costco’s website is revamped. Now it reveals all stock similar to any item and offers choices, with descriptive information. an item’s sales numbers, and customer ratings.

Costco’s site resembles Amazon’s.

I usually check what interests me on Amazon, wanting to see sales numbers, customer ratings, comparative items, and prices. That’s helped me decide whether and what to buy. Often, I’ll just order from Amazon for quick delivery to my door. On heavier items, I escape having to load and unload my vehicle.

I wonder why only now Costco is becoming a more worthy online competitor. It delayed that move, and I know from my years working within Costco. The website didn’t have enough online quality, pricing, and availability. Maybe it became an essential business move post-Covid to support ever-growing online commerce.

Covid has caused a yanking and renewing of many services. Even massive Costco’s website.

My work in a busy supermarket makes me aware of too few staff and lots of closed cash registers. Those open are swamped with lines of customers pushing full carts. Grocery shoppers are impatient, wanting to hurry home, store the ice cream, and head off to their kids’ sports games. Plus, in a high-traffic store, cash register work is highly physical and tiring.

I’m estimating that ahead is a time when few, if any, cash registers will exist. It’s logical that instead most people will self-check out. I mention this to customers and hear great resistance. Many like to receive services, and fewer prefer to self-check.

Maybe a factor is Oregon itself where people aren’t allowed to pump their own gasoline. They receive that service instead of doing themselves. Well, many from California know how to pump gas and prefer to. As a cash register operator, I witness long lines with inefficiency and dissatisfaction. Already, most large product-based businesses offer self-checking; they essentially have been transitioning shoppers.

Dear Readers: Bet me, more ahead will use technology over human labor. Diana

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