A Zara shopper wants to know why the cost of clothing is continually increasing despite that some retailers are effectively hiring customers to be employees of their stores for the duration of their shopping experiences.
TikToker Amir Mohamed (@amirrors_world) recorded himself using one of Zara's self-checkout kiosks to process a transaction, and while he initially fine with using the machine, he thought that the process was ultimately much too involved for a shopper to engage in without some type of discount or reflection in the final price of clothing.
He says in a viral clip he documented of his experience: "If you want to buy clothes in Miami you basically have to become an employee of that store to buy those clothes," the TikToker says while standing in front of a self checkout kiosk in a clothing retailer. He begins to launch into his grievance with the brand: "Here I am, I needed a quick shirt I run into Zara real quick, I try to grab some stuff, I walk up to this cashier thing."
He continues to show off the store's self-checkout set up and the clothing in question in a bag resting beside it: "I throw it in that basket right there and it reads everything that I bought, down to the size, the color, whatever, and I'm like cool I get to pay right here...simple process," he states going through the menus on the screen of the self-serve station.
"Hit a credit card, no cash, I'm like okay, I'm basically doing all the work that an employee should be doing. I don't got no problem with that. Everything's in the basket, hit payment, I paid."
It's the next step in the self-service process that Amir has taken issue with: "now they're showing me that I gotta take off the magnetic strip myself and I'm like oh, I really do work for you guys," he says as he shows off the illustrated instructions on the screen of the self-checkout kiosk demonstrating how to remove the magnetic strip.
He goes about prepping the clothes he purchased to leave the store with, stating that he needed some help in figuring out how to remove the stripes without damaging the clothes, "Like, am I clocked in now? Lady gives me the example cause I'm lost, I'm like oh so I gotta take off the hangers, Erica's struggling with the magnetic thing..."
He indicates that even the woman who offered to help him remove the strips was having a difficult time extricating the magnetic stripes from the products: "I take it over and I'm like I don't even get an employee discount I'm still buying everything at full price taking off all the magnetic strips I'm sorting them for them in those little holders you see," referring to holes in the kiosk that seem to be denoting where the magnetic strips are supposed to end up.
He continues his diatribe against Zara's self-service checkout area: "And then I gotta get a bag and I gotta bag it myself. How am I doing all this and the prices are still going up of clothes? I..we're getting gypped," he says in the clip.
He commented further on this self-serving practice that still sees product price increases in a caption for the video, writing: "Are we moving backwards, supermarkets, retail, we need less and less employees but prices keeping going up."
Numerous commenters had differing opinions on the self-service kiosks. For one TikToker, they seemed to think Amir was the type of consumer who would never be satisfied with the level of service he was receiving: "Crazy how people will complain about using a machine then when it comes to an actual person doing it they treat them like a machine," they wrote.
Another person believed that the self-checkout experience Amir recorded was just typical of scanning, prepping, and packing your own clothes prior to exiting a store: "have you guys.. never used self check out? watched this whole video waiting for something new to see lol," they wrote.
However, there did seem to be some folks who agreed with his assessment of the machines. One individual joked: "Did they ask if you wanted to tip at the end too?"
While another wrote: "Less wages, more profit. Which will lead to more affordable clothing. Right?….. RIGHT???!!"
What do you think? With the implementation of more and more self-checkout solutions in retailers, do you believe that since there are presumably less employees being staffed at the same time in a brick-and-mortar establishment that this should reflect on pricing?
Or do you believe that these self-checkout kiosks are simply being used to help slow the roll on cost living and inflation hikes that have occurred since 2021?