Self checkout technology makes teenage job search difficult

Brooke Jones, Reporter

When you get to high school, the anxiety inducing task of finding a job can be met with conflicts involving age, experience, and time constraints. Of the few jobs available to tenagers, cashiering is one that is sought after by many first-time employees. According to the Bureau of of Labor Statistics, cashiering is one of the largest occupations, trailing right behind fast food service.

For teens, simply bagging groceries and running a cash register is a good transition into the workplace. It teaches workers how to make quick decisions as well as basic math skills that usually aren’t taught in school like counting change and learning how to manage quick transactions.

However, the influx of technology and new ways for machines to do people’s work has created a new environment for cashiers all over the world. Starting with the introduction of the first self-checkout in 1992, the demand for cashiers has reduced significantly. Stores began spending less money to pay their employees and more money to put into buying the fancy new self-checkout machines.

While the convenience of self-checkouts appeals to modern-age shoppers, they put the jobs of thousands of teens worldwide at risk. There aren’t many jobs available to those 18 and under, and new technologies haven’t made the job searching process any easier.

Recently, Nike opened a store that is fully dependent on QR code scanners in place of self-checkouts and regular cashiers. This  eliminated the need for cashiers completely.

The way in which many stores like Walmart and Target are trying to modernize their checkout methods create even more challenges for teenagers in an already competitive job market.

Although as a society we’ve grown accustomed to having self checkouts at every store, they put one of the most common jobs among teenagers at risk. In most states, cashiering is one of very few jobs available to 15 and 16 year-olds and the addition of new ways for machines to do peoples jobs makes it that much harder to get employed.

The extra two minutes you spend at a regular cashier instead of a self checkout might not stop stores from changing their ways, but it might ensure that people keep their jobs for a little longer.