When shopping for dinner on Saturday I needed to buy some salmon. Nothing fussy really because it wasn’t to be served in one piece. And thus it wasn’t a big deal for me when they didn’t have enough fillet left for my needs and I just took an additional salmon steak to have enough fish. The problem there just being that the fillets cost 18,90 per kilo while the steaks cost just 13,90 or so. And I immediately started wondering how they’d weigh and price this. Would they go the formal way of splitting up all that was in the scale already and price each of them properly? Would they rip me off and just use the higher price for everything or would they be nice and price everything at the lower price?
None of the above. I don’t know what exactly the woman serving me did, but it involved her pressing many buttons on the scale to get it to print a receipt. And it ended up printing a receipt with a price on it that was way too low – about a third of what it should have been. But seeing that usually people just laugh at me when I point out poor usability of devices, I figured I’d rather make this failure my gain and didn’t complain about the wrong price. After all – bad usability has a price and the supermarket needs to pay it. Perhaps they’ll learn that way.
Of course hiring staff who are capable of doing rough estimates of the end price without needing a computer would help as well as would having a work environment where staff are encouraged to actually actively think about what they are doing rather than just submitting everything they do to the powers of some stupid machine.
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