Author Topic: What do you think the future of retail work will be?  (Read 2147 times)

Roadrunner53

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What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« on: February 06, 2018, 12:03:39 PM »
I have a friend who works in a retail store and they are constantly cutting the employees hours and eliminating jobs. They are putting in self scans eliminating cashier jobs. I have a feeling in 10 years time there will be very few people working in stores. Walmart is putting kiosks where you order on line and pick up at the store. In time, who knows if Walmart doesn't become totally an online operation. It is sad because there are a lot of people that need jobs like this even though they are low paying. What is going to happen to people in this country as retail stores keep closing and changing the way they operate.

bluebelle

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2018, 12:33:59 PM »
RFIDs are becoming cheaper and cheaper, soon everything will have one, you'll just push your cart out and poof, scanned....

Automation is becoming more and more real.  If you're just a consumer of technology not a contributor, I think the world will be a very bleak place.

That said, we're becoming a world were too few people know how things work and how to repair them.....We're always going to need plumbers and electrians....

Roadrunner53

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2018, 12:42:42 PM »
Yes, tradespeople will always be needed but not everyone is able to do that work.

The little farms are now mostly gone and what is left is commercial farming. Maybe people can get back into that. People like organic food but that is certainly not easy work for sure.

Just Joe

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2018, 12:43:51 PM »
As soon as they can reliably automatic the restocking process I think there is a strong possibility of retail jobs going away. There will be a couple of technology manager jobs, maybe a couple of clerk jobs to watch over the store and the rest will be automated.

Sort of like how when I was a kid a gas station might employ several people and now employs one person to run the register with some overlap at shift change to restock and MAYBE clean.

We certainly can cut costs by removing wages from retail budgets but I have no idea yet who our capitalist economy will function without wages/salaries being paid.

I can't ever imagine UBI functioning when half the political consciousness thinks universal healthcare and medicare is something that would be better if abolished.

I kind of feel a little guilty every time I order something from Amazon or WalMart.

Am not fond of the automated checkouts. I figure if I'm spending money there then let the store ring up my goods and bag them for me. Heck let them roll them out to my car and put them in the car's wayback for me.

There will be a point where shopping might be like walking through an empty store (on a slow day). No clerks, few customers, muzak being piped in, a few robots cleaning the carpet or restocking the shelves. On one hand my introverted self says "YAY!" and on the other hand that seems awful lonely.

Roadrunner53

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2018, 02:12:59 PM »
I think crime will increase with so many people out of work.

I also refuse to use the self scans knowing this is the first step for eliminating people. I know it is inevitable but will hold out till the end.


megaschnauzer

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2018, 02:16:34 PM »
with all the online shopping, someone has to deliver the goods (until a drone takes that job also).

RFAAOATB

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2018, 02:25:54 PM »
Will America ever get out of the two income trap where one job is enough to support a family, and therefore these automated job losses lead to happier home makers instead of widespread unemployment?

The hardest part about this plan is the fact that 2 high earning potential people may be a lot more culturally compatible than one high earning potential person and one low earning potential person.  So now we have 50% of the jobs, 2 high wage earners living together and 2 low earners living together.

Just Joe

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2018, 09:07:38 AM »
I don't know. Companies seem to be in the automating phase. Profits! Wage and manpower elimination!

Maybe in another 25 years they'll realize how this hurts in the long run and things will turn around.

I agree single income families would be nice if both spouses agreed they would benefit from it.

ketchup

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2018, 09:16:43 AM »
My ideal future of brick-and-mortar retail would be none at all.  It's really not needed anymore, once everyone catches up.

Eh, maybe a little.  I'll still want to try on shoes before I buy them.  I wouldn't want to buy shoes online and have to return and get another size (even if it's free, which is already a thing).  That's way too much mental bandwidth dedicated to something as trivial as shoes. 

That's all I can really think of.

Dabnasty

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2018, 10:13:21 AM »
Will America ever get out of the two income trap where one job is enough to support a family, and therefore these automated job losses lead to happier home makers instead of widespread unemployment?

The hardest part about this plan is the fact that 2 high earning potential people may be a lot more culturally compatible than one high earning potential person and one low earning potential person.  So now we have 50% of the jobs, 2 high wage earners living together and 2 low earners living together.
This is an interesting point. This whole conversation has made me think about some things. I in no way support the antiquated ideal that men belong at work and women belong in the home or that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. But dang, if that just happened to be what everyone wanted I'd be a lot less worried about our future.

zoltani

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2018, 10:38:09 AM »
The future that ketchup pines for where brick and mortar does not exist seems especially bleak to me for some reason. Maybe I'm just imagining everyone staying in their homes, never interacting with the world or people around them.

Just Joe

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2018, 10:41:35 AM »
Or the man works ~20 hours a week and the woman works ~20 hours per week - and they enjoy alot more free time together with their family and friends.

That would be ideal to us as long as we weren't required to take a 50% income cut. We could do it but savings would not grow and not as much money to operate with.

DW and I could both get our workload done in 20 hrs per week if we were diligent.

mrteacher

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2018, 10:43:10 AM »
Will America ever get out of the two income trap where one job is enough to support a family, and therefore these automated job losses lead to happier home makers instead of widespread unemployment?

The hardest part about this plan is the fact that 2 high earning potential people may be a lot more culturally compatible than one high earning potential person and one low earning potential person.  So now we have 50% of the jobs, 2 high wage earners living together and 2 low earners living together.
This is an interesting point. This whole conversation has made me think about some things. I in no way support the antiquated ideal that men belong at work and women belong in the home or that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. But dang, if that just happened to be what everyone wanted I'd be a lot less worried about our future.

Interesting point re: the two-income trap. I've been wanting to read up on this idea recently.

RFAAOATB

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2018, 10:49:58 AM »
Will America ever get out of the two income trap where one job is enough to support a family, and therefore these automated job losses lead to happier home makers instead of widespread unemployment?

The hardest part about this plan is the fact that 2 high earning potential people may be a lot more culturally compatible than one high earning potential person and one low earning potential person.  So now we have 50% of the jobs, 2 high wage earners living together and 2 low earners living together.
This is an interesting point. This whole conversation has made me think about some things. I in no way support the antiquated ideal that men belong at work and women belong in the home or that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. But dang, if that just happened to be what everyone wanted I'd be a lot less worried about our future.

I tried to make my statement as gender neutral as possible, but I am still infused with the cultural norm of an ideal male breadwinner and female homemaker.  This makes me think a high income man with a low income woman is normal, as is a high income man and woman together, or a low income man and woman.  I'd imagine same sex relationships are novel enough on their own that income difference are a minor part of cultural expectations. 

The disconnect is with a high income woman paired with a low income man.  Does the thought of that make your eye twitch with its off balancedness?  With women outnumbering men on the college campus its going to be the story more and more that a female breadwinner has a lower income male partner.  Does your first thought of that low income man look like a gym going, dinner cooking, and meticulously organized and supportive house husband, or a low motivated gamer leech?

Eventually we'll get to the point where a high income woman/low income man will get no more side eye than a high income man/ low income woman.  Any idea how many more years that will take?

As retail declines, a lot of low income/low barrier to entry jobs declines with it.  2 low income people could support each other, but there's not much 2 unemployed people can do.

ptobeast

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2018, 11:41:35 AM »
My ideal future of brick-and-mortar retail would be none at all.  It's really not needed anymore, once everyone catches up.

Eh, maybe a little.  I'll still want to try on shoes before I buy them.  I wouldn't want to buy shoes online and have to return and get another size (even if it's free, which is already a thing).  That's way too much mental bandwidth dedicated to something as trivial as shoes. 

That's all I can really think of.

I think clothing manufacturing & sales would need to change drastically before brick-and-morter would go away. The majority of online clothing retailers include minimal details about sizing - sometimes just a single size number (which often varies across brand) or a size chart which assumes bodies adhere to specific ratios. And then, most clothing is only shown on a single model, which, unless one has very similar dimensions to that model, is not helpful for understanding how that item of clothing might fit on you. I am curious to see how future technology will intersect with clothing - like the ability to scan your own body to generate custom-fit clothing. Even then, though, the secondhand market is huge and I would be very surprised to see thrift/consignment shift to being 100% online.
 

ketchup

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2018, 12:07:38 PM »
My ideal future of brick-and-mortar retail would be none at all.  It's really not needed anymore, once everyone catches up.

Eh, maybe a little.  I'll still want to try on shoes before I buy them.  I wouldn't want to buy shoes online and have to return and get another size (even if it's free, which is already a thing).  That's way too much mental bandwidth dedicated to something as trivial as shoes. 

That's all I can really think of.

I think clothing manufacturing & sales would need to change drastically before brick-and-morter would go away. The majority of online clothing retailers include minimal details about sizing - sometimes just a single size number (which often varies across brand) or a size chart which assumes bodies adhere to specific ratios. And then, most clothing is only shown on a single model, which, unless one has very similar dimensions to that model, is not helpful for understanding how that item of clothing might fit on you. I am curious to see how future technology will intersect with clothing - like the ability to scan your own body to generate custom-fit clothing. Even then, though, the secondhand market is huge and I would be very surprised to see thrift/consignment shift to being 100% online.
I guess I'm a really bad example for even thinking about that.  I buy very few clothes, and what I do buy comes from Goodwill, thrift stores, or eBay (underwear and socks come from Amazon), usually making a trip once a year or so.

Clothing sizes really feel like they're far worse than they have to be.  Never mind an arbitrary "size 6" or "size 8" with women's clothes, even men's pants which are allegedly measured in inches vary so much in fit.  I have "30" and "34" inch waist pants that fit exactly the same.

Full-body scanning for the purpose of clothing sizing has to be on its way.  It's a problem that needs to be solved.  Nearly everything else brick-and-mortar retail can go away, I'll stand by that.

Johnez

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2018, 03:07:41 PM »
I go through self checkout on purpose. It's faster. The quicker people get the hint these jobs aren't going to be around for long, the better.

Roadrunner53

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2018, 04:22:45 PM »
Well Johnez, you sure are not sympathetic to the people who are trying to eek out a living. Don't know what you do, but no jobs are safe these days. Maybe you better watch out too.

LaineyAZ

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2018, 04:50:39 PM »
Some type of automation for ordering will become standard, but I don't think that checkouts will all be automated.

I heard there is a chain store in Calif. which reversed its automated checkouts back to human cashiers due to theft.  People had figured out that switching bar codes on items would mean they could get high-priced goods for the lower-priced one.  I guess management decided that labor costs weren't high compared to losses from thieves.

zoltani

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2018, 06:33:32 PM »
^ amazon go

Johnez

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2018, 11:15:11 PM »
Well Johnez, you sure are not sympathetic to the people who are trying to eek out a living. Don't know what you do, but no jobs are safe these days. Maybe you better watch out too.

I actually am sympathetic to those people, they don't deserve the situation that awaits them if they try hanging onto those jobs.

As a warehouse worker, I'm acutely aware that my job is replaceable. My company has invested in automated forklifts in other locations and robotic pickers as well. I figure we have a good 5 years before the gravy train dumps over and makes a big mess. I'm going to school for HVAC/R currently, because I ain't hanging around for the fallout.....or should I and  wait for a company severance package? Lol. I tell anyone with the ability to get your backup plan in order. Some guys are receptive, some will gnash their teeth when the pink slips arrive.

Just Joe

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2018, 08:35:00 AM »
ETA the other day I went to a Target to cash some gift cards. There was not ONE SINGLE cashier or register open. Not one. You had to use the self check out. If I wanted to check out using a human I had to go to the "returns" line. A very long line.

If you have a customer service situation it might be like trying to contact eBay or Amazon. Tough to do. Tough to find the method.

LaineyAZ

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2018, 08:47:59 AM »
. . . The super market (Ralph's...Kroger) I normally go to in SoCal is starting a cashless checkout using a phone app or a device the store provides. Scan as you put it in the cart and it will cash you out upon leaving. Still have to pay with a CC but soon itll be done completely thru your phone. Not even a self checkout machine required.
https://www.google.com/amp/losangeles.cbslocal.com/2018/02/01/socal-ralphs-stores-scan-bag-go/amp/


This is the part I think is ripe for theft.  How do they know you've scanned every item you put in your cart?  They'll need humans to compare your checkout receipt to what's in your cart, similar to what Costco does today, right?

J Boogie

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2018, 08:53:20 AM »
John Maynard Keynes thought we'd all work way less (15 hrs a week) due to advancements that fulfill our material needs far easier. He thought this back in 1930.

He thought those in developed countries would have far more time - instead, we have far more money.

Apparently we value money more than time.

As far as the 2-income trap goes, I think where we see it the most is the cost of housing in nice neighborhoods. You're bidding on the same house and you have one income vs two, that price will get bid up to however much they can afford - which is probably higher than a one income household can afford, but since 2 income households set the price, they'll try to afford it anyways. Which just makes things that much more expensive.

Dabnasty

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2018, 10:04:17 AM »
A little off topic but the other day I was in a grocery store I wasn't familiar with. I walked up to the self checkout station and realized the screen was displaying the store logo instead of a start screen so I figured it was out of order but I tried scanning anyway. When it didn't work I noticed something seemed off about this particular self checkout and right about that time the cashier a few rows down informed me that they did not have any self checkouts... I was standing where the cashier should be while checking someone out.

At least I gave him a laugh.

ptobeast

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2018, 11:15:09 AM »
I think self-checkout has a long way to go before cashiers will be gone entirely. It's a very clunky process right now, and I tend to not use it unless I am only purchasing a few items. For one, it takes me far longer to scan and bag my own items than it does a trained cashier. That, and half the time I use a self-checkout, it gets cranky about the weight of an item or has a similar issue, and I'll have to wait for a cashier to come over and fix the error. I am very curious to see what sort of issues come up with Amazon Go - if it ends up being the future of self-checkout, or if it's process ends up clogged with similar issues.

Relatedly, for any Monty Python fans, I just saw this image today: https://pics.me.me/unexpected-item-in-bagging-area-nobody-expects-the-spanish-inquisition-14673051.png

Yankuba

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2018, 11:48:23 AM »
Some type of automation for ordering will become standard, but I don't think that checkouts will all be automated.

I heard there is a chain store in Calif. which reversed its automated checkouts back to human cashiers due to theft.  People had figured out that switching bar codes on items would mean they could get high-priced goods for the lower-priced one.  I guess management decided that labor costs weren't high compared to losses from thieves.

Walmart backed away from self checkout because of theft. The easiest way to steal is with produce - you tell the machine you are buying low priced bananas or potatoes instead of the organic XYC that costs 6 times as much. A $10/hour cashier saves a lot more than $10/hour via theft prevention.

ozbeach

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2018, 02:02:05 PM »
That, and half the time I use a self-checkout, it gets cranky about the weight of an item or has a similar issue, and I'll have to wait for a cashier to come over and fix the error.

One of the major supermarket chains here in Australia realised people weren't using the self-checkouts because of the "unexpected item in bagging area" problem and reprogrammed the terminals so they no longer give you grief over this. To combat theft, all the self-checkout areas now have a staff member stationed there watching. It's somewhat of a compromise that at least keeps one person employed.

My biggest issue with self-serve is that, as I understand it, the biggest theft issue for the supermarkets is people telling the machine that they are weighing a pumpkin, when it is really mushrooms. The inevitable way they will combat this is to get rid of loose fruit and veg, and put everything on to a polystyrene tray, wrap it in more plastic and barcode it.

GuitarStv

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2018, 02:04:25 PM »
I'm really hoping that online sales will completely replace retail stores for most purchases.  The only real exceptions to this that I can see:

- picking fresh produce / cuts of meat

Pretty much everything else can be done online faster, cheaper, better.

Just Joe

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2018, 02:18:46 PM »
Clothing and shoes. I still prefer to try them on.

GuitarStv

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2018, 02:27:30 PM »
Clothing and shoes. I still prefer to try them on.

As long as the online store has good return policies you can do this.

ketchup

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2018, 01:52:03 PM »
Some type of automation for ordering will become standard, but I don't think that checkouts will all be automated.

I heard there is a chain store in Calif. which reversed its automated checkouts back to human cashiers due to theft.  People had figured out that switching bar codes on items would mean they could get high-priced goods for the lower-priced one.  I guess management decided that labor costs weren't high compared to losses from thieves.

Walmart backed away from self checkout because of theft. The easiest way to steal is with produce - you tell the machine you are buying low priced bananas or potatoes instead of the organic XYC that costs 6 times as much. A $10/hour cashier saves a lot more than $10/hour via theft prevention.
In my area, Walmart has *increased* the number of self check-out machines.  Meanwhile, a major regional chain (Jewel-Osco) removed theirs a year or two ago because fuck you.  The result is that I go to Walmart more than I used to (as the checkout experience and associated wait were the most obnoxious 20-80 minutes of my week), and hit Jewel-Osco much less often than I used to (no longer able to predictably be in-and-out in 2 minutes on the way to work).

Capt j-rod

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #32 on: February 09, 2018, 02:16:14 PM »
The first time I saw the movie Idiocracy I thought it was the dumbest thing I ever saw. Now I'm starting to think that it was a glimpse into the future.

Just Joe

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2018, 09:53:55 AM »
Maybe Kroger will re-brand the Alibaba source to something more domestic like - sort of like the Chinese tools being sold at Harbor Freight.

GuitarStv

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2018, 10:04:50 AM »
So the local bike shop that survives won't just be a place to buy a bike -- but where you learn how to service one, where you connect with the local biking community, where you lobby for more bike-friendly local laws.  It's not going to survive if it's just a place to buy a bike.   In essence, retail businesses are going to shift to being more like service  businesses.

I think that this ship has sailed some time ago, at least for bike shops around here.

BogleBoy

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Re: What do you think the future of retail work will be?
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2018, 10:19:40 AM »
The future that ketchup pines for where brick and mortar does not exist seems especially bleak to me for some reason. Maybe I'm just imagining everyone staying in their homes, never interacting with the world or people around them.

This has already been happening:
https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/29/16944722/america-energy-savings-transportation-labor-time-use-statistics
Quote
Specifically in 2012, Americans spent one day less traveling and one week less in buildings other than their homes when compared to a decade earlier. The trend of staying indoors is especially strong for those ages 18 to 24: the youths spent 70 percent more time at home than the general population.

People now have access to endless cheap entertainment via netflix, video games, etc at home. For a long time many haven't had much of any community outside the home too. So, now it's even easier to give up on finding that community outside the home.