I know that in many instances, technology is replacing workers. Workers may not be laid off as a result, but through attrition the head count is reduced when a departing employee is not replaced.
With that said, I really love the self-checkout lanes that are appearing at local grocery stores (like the Pick-N-Save on 68th between Greenfield and National and the Wal-Mart on Hwy 100 and Layton). Especially when you have just a handful of items, you scan, put it in a bag, slide your credit card or insert your cash, grab your receipt and go.
Besides the ease of convenience to the customer, this system has to be a boon to the store... quicker processing, higher accuracy, no cash errors, etc. But the biggest thing that has occured to me is that once the customer pays for the merchandise, that money is locked-up safely with every penny accounted for at all times.
So, why do convenience stores, drug stores and gas stations still use a till?
And better still, why aren't insurance companies demanding - even to the point of assisting with the purchase and installation of - these money changers?
I am not saying to make the gas stations self-service (even the grocery store has a person watching over the self-serve lanes). I am saying that when the gas station clerk rings up the purchase of $25.19 and the customer gives her a $20 bill and a $10 bill, the clerk feeds the bills into the vending machine-like bill acceptor, then the machine spits out the correct change.
The benefits would be tremendous. Customers get the correct change. Without working really hard, a clerk can't skim. And most of all, every penny is accounted for and inacessable to theives.
The “bleeding heart or scare people needlessly entertainment program" (which in the 1970s used to be called the "evening news")(Side note; that post of mine was written two years - and two servers ago. It was a great post, too bad it was truncated during one of the changes in blogging software) loves showing us grainy, black and white footage of robbers jumping the counter at a gas station, thumping the clerk on the head and opening the drawer to get at the $62 inside. Now, in the “bleeding heart or scare people needlessly entertainment program” 's defense, if there wasn't a robbery or two every day, they wouldn't have this opportunity to scare people needlessly.
However, if these money changers were installed in these stores - especially in the stores prone to rip-offs - robberies would diminish, there would be less store damage, and clerks would be safer (and the programs would have another 45 seconds to talk about American Idol or Brett Favre).
As I said above, I would think insurance companies would be demanding this type of system. A few thousand bucks in capital costs probably equal the cost of the damage during a robbery (Side note, which really is an end note; The government should not spend one dime on this. I gave insurance companies and small stores the idea, let them decide of safety of the money and the employees is a good business decision).