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The Romulan Republic
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-12 12:50am

The Republicans already are fighting against them in some respects (just not to the point of mass murder or sterilization). Republican economics with regard to the poor these days can largely be boiled down to "If you're poor, its your fault for being a bad/useless/lazy person, and you should receive no support even if it means you and your children die on the street, because you're a parasite taking from the more deserving rich". They may sometimes dress it up in nicer-sounding language, but that's what it boils down to. Greed and spite, directed toward those who have the least on behalf of those who have the most. Or as I call it, the "Kicking a man when he's down school of economics."

Of course, it doesn't, at this point, require an armed uprising to address the problem. But it does require a large number of poor people to stop buying the bullshit and letting the Republicans put the blame on foreigners and minorities for poverty and lack of jobs. And better sooner than later, because if current trends continue unchecked, eventually it will reach the point where, rightly or wrongly, people feel that they have no recourse but to resort to force of arms, and I'd rather not see that happen to any country, but especially not my own.

Perhaps I'm being overly optimistic, but my hope is that if one good thing comes from the Trump Presidency, it will be to give millions of voters an object lesson in the consequences of letting this kind of bullshit into political office. At which point, we need a political opposition that has enough of a backbone to leverage that into policies that will substantively help the unemployed, working class, and middle class. But the old solutions, like higher minimum wage, are unlikely to be sufficient much longer, due to increasing automation. Which is why I think we need to start waging the battle for Universal/Guaranteed Basic Income now. We need to push the envelope on what is considered "too progressive" when it comes to creating an economy that won't leave half the population starving in the coming decades.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby TheFeniX » 2017-03-12 03:27am

It's late and I've been drinking heavily. I should go to bed but the wife is sawing logs in her sleep right now, so that ain't happening. I don't want to turn this into another Dems vs Reps thread, but it actually IS part of the "no one fighting for them" problem. I am going to cut this WAY down though.

The Romulan Republic wrote:But it does require a large number of poor people to stop buying the bullshit and letting the Republicans put the blame on foreigners and minorities for poverty and lack of jobs.
The electorate threw in pretty heavily with Democrats in and around 2007 on. What did they get for their trouble? Welfare helps the working class, but welfare ain't jobs. It just pays the bills. Healthcare ain't jobs. None of that moves you up the totem pole. It just tries to make you not slide down it further. The Middle Class felt it didn't get anything under Democrats. It has continued to shrink and is no longer anywhere near the economic powerhouse it was. Years of report after report about the struggling Middle Class has continued under Democrats.

Democrats were only universally a bit less reviled than Republicans two years ago. A large section of voters don't like them. They liked Obama. But Working and Middle Class citizens haven't gone anywhere under Democrats. Jobs are still being outsourced. Companies continue to claim they are struggling while posting record profits. Financial institutions continue to commit blatant fraud and nothing comes of it. Walmart continues to be a huge welfare queen while simultaneously earning all the money.

Cheap-shot on my part: I think the most "American" car company today is fucking Toyota. While I've wanted one for years, it was actually a big part of why I bought a Tacoma. A Japanese auto company is more willing to throw in with US (and Texas) workers than the Big 3 or the average politician.

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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-12 03:59am

Then the obvious answer, to me, is for people to become more involved in the primary process, which is where they arguably have the most actual choice. Because contrary to what a lot of the third party people like to insist, a) no other opposition party is close to being electable at the national level (and that's not just due to the big parties keeping them down- its due to their rigid adherence to fringe positions and their seeming inability to select credible, competent candidates), and b) the Democratic Party is not a homogenous organization. You don't like the current Democratic Party leadership? Campaign for better candidates in the primaries. And if that seems like a long shot, its a hell of a lot less of a long shot than trying to get, say, a Green or Libertarian President, or form a new party from scratch and take it to the Presidency or a Congressional majority. Bernie Sanders got 45% in the Democratic Primary, and actually won young voters (the demographic that's going to make up a bigger and bigger chunk of the electorate as the baby boomers die of old age). The Greens or Libertarians (the most substantial minor parties) are doing fantastic if they get five percent in a national election.

Just responding to "We need a better opposition" with "But the Democrats are bad too", is pointless defeatism. It is a position which only makes sense if you have accepted that no significant change is possible (or if you believe that no significant change short of revolution is possible). It largely amounts, in practice, to political nihilism.

Your "they liked Obama", comment is illuminating, as well. A lot of people don't just vote for parties or for platforms. Don't vote against them either. They vote for individuals who appeal to them. Obama had it. Clinton didn't, at least not to the same extent. That's not a problem with the party as a whole, but with its choice of candidates in a particular race. I think that a lot of the hostility against "the Democrats" is really "hostility against Clinton", and would evaporate if a more popular candidate is chosen next time around.

That's not to say that the Democratic Party doesn't have problems. But we need to keep some perspective.

Edit: Seriously, I can't help but wonder what the effects would be if everyone who complains about the Democratic Party not being progressive enough were to become actively involved in the next Democratic Primary, not just the Presidential primary but the Congressional and state-level primaries as well.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby TheFeniX » 2017-03-12 11:49pm

I cut this down to try and semi keep it on topic: Democrats didn't win over working and middle class whites, but they got more around 2008 than they realistically should have considering voting habits. And Obama kept enough of them at his lowest in 2012 to win reelection handily. Trump won them back, Republicans gerrymandered and disenfranchised enough to make up the difference in the legislature.

How did it come to that?

Why are people like Warren and Sanders on anyone's radar? Why are they popular at all? Why was Trump in any position to get either the nomination OR the presidency? How did an inexperienced black man win not only the nomination but also the election in a landslide?

They pretty much have one message in common: "Your leaders have forgotten you at best, sold you out at worst: I am different and I will fight for you." There is abso-fucking-lutely nothing about a candidate like Clinton, Cruz, or whoever else was being thrown in our face that screamed: "I will fight for you." Tea Party shills like Cruz have sort of the same problem as Clinton with general popularity. The guy seems like he's going to have a fight in Texas, but evidence is conflicting (I honestly want to get into this, but I'm trying to stay on topic). But the consensus is that Cruz is worried too much about abortions and health care and that only plays with the base. The average Texan looks at them as smoke screens while he sells us out to corporations. Anyways:

So, the brakes come off the robo-apocalypse train and our leaders step forward to say "we're no longer even pretending to fight for you, we've determined you aren't you even just expendable anymore: we are now actively out to destroy you."

Let's just ignore the "they start shooting everyone 'not them'" aspect: unless you've found a way to stop these people from voting, you are out of office. And the parties affiliated with it are destroyed. People are elected under the banner of destroying you and they win in landslides.

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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-03-13 05:10am

Assuming Flippy does well, how long would it take for this to be a standard part of most fast-food restaurants?

I'm sure Andrew Puzder wants to install this at his Carl's Jr restaurants, because of his fully automated restaurant dream. But how long would that take?

Are we seeing fully automatic restaurants by 2040? 2030? 2020?

As an example, a decade ago, most fast food restaurants and movie theaters didn't have automated soda machines, now they seem to be pretty standard for most fast food places and most theaters. It's not everywhere, a lot of places still don't have them, but it's enough to where there's no need for a dedicated person to serve drinks. The only real job for any of those is fixing them and replacing any liquids that are empty, or for you being issued out a cup.

Burgers are what's being automated now. Are there automated fry machines in the works? Will fast food places start adding roombas to their places as well?

Discuss.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby TheFeniX » 2017-03-13 12:03pm

I'm sure pushes for more automation are there, but flippy in of himself isn't replacing workers. He can't even take burger production from cradle-to-grave: frozen > cooked > bag > customer. So, he's an added cost on top of the worker you need to finish the job. If anything, he's more a customer service risk mitigation. I stopped eating at Jack in the Crack for a few years because no matter which one I went to, they kept burning the damn patties to a crisp and my only reason to GO to Jack in the Crack was for a greasy-ass burger. So, having a "perfectly" (whatever) cooked burger everytime while workers run and handle 100 other lunch rush orders is good for customer service thus business.

Same with drink machines: if you have one in the dining area, you still need at least 1 for the work area. Many I go to now even have an extra one for just the drive-thru worker. This is extra cost for materials and maintenance, however customers not waiting in line for a refill is a boon for customer service. Drive-thru workers not waiting on the service area for drinks because the drive-thru worker can handle that aspect while still taking orders speeds things along.

You also can't discount the human element. Look at Chick-Fil-A. Yea, they have good food. But you ever notice the amount of ass-kissing the employees do? I mean, "You ever notice how fucking NICE everyone is?" The manager acts like he's at a fancy restaurant and works the room. That's actually a large part of their business model. While McDs is obviously the juggernaut, Chick-Fil-a franchises actually make more money on a per-store basis. Around here, during any time of day where people eat: you're lucky the find parking at a Chick-Fil-A.

So yes, maybe we will get to a point where machines do all the cooking, but I see issues with turning fast-food chains into automated food-dispensories, outside of Drive-thrus. Same with any customer service industry. People like interacting with people.

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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Zixinus » 2017-03-13 12:29pm

That's actually one element that is holding back one step of automation that was "threatened" with but is technically fairly easily viable: replacing cashiers with automated tablets and cash machines. The technology is not only there but probably already done by someone or would require very little development. Fast food places already have a set ordering system that is easily programmed. You could have a dozen tablets operating at all times, unlike cashiers. There would also be no ambiguity with your order and with an actual dozen tablets costumers would be better able to explore the menu. You'd pay, get a number and servers will simply serve your food by calling it out (one KFC sort-of works like this, although I place an order with a human). It's not like McDonalds or others wouldn't do it if they could.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby bilateralrope » 2017-03-13 12:36pm

Zixinus wrote:That's actually one element that is holding back one step of automation that was "threatened" with but is technically fairly easily viable: replacing cashiers with automated tablets and cash machines. The technology is not only there but probably already done by someone or would require very little development. Fast food places already have a set ordering system that is easily programmed. You could have a dozen tablets operating at all times, unlike cashiers. There would also be no ambiguity with your order and with an actual dozen tablets costumers would be better able to explore the menu. You'd pay, get a number and servers will simply serve your food by calling it out (one KFC sort-of works like this, although I place an order with a human). It's not like McDonalds or others wouldn't do it if they could.


That sounds exactly like how the McDonalds ordering machines work in New Zealand. If I wanted to, the only times I'd need to interact with any staff during the ordering process are:
- Picking up the food.
- Dealing with products that are temporally unavailable for whatever reason.

Though it probably helps that NZ our EFTPOS system allows electronic payments without any per-transaction fee to the customer or business.

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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Tribble » 2017-03-13 12:46pm

bilateralrope wrote:
Zixinus wrote:That's actually one element that is holding back one step of automation that was "threatened" with but is technically fairly easily viable: replacing cashiers with automated tablets and cash machines. The technology is not only there but probably already done by someone or would require very little development. Fast food places already have a set ordering system that is easily programmed. You could have a dozen tablets operating at all times, unlike cashiers. There would also be no ambiguity with your order and with an actual dozen tablets costumers would be better able to explore the menu. You'd pay, get a number and servers will simply serve your food by calling it out (one KFC sort-of works like this, although I place an order with a human). It's not like McDonalds or others wouldn't do it if they could.


That sounds exactly like how the McDonalds ordering machines work in New Zealand. If I wanted to, the only times I'd need to interact with any staff during the ordering process are:
- Picking up the food.
- Dealing with products that are temporally unavailable for whatever reason.

Though it probably helps that NZ our EFTPOS system allows electronic payments without any per-transaction fee to the customer or business.


How efficient is that though? One of the advantages of having a (good) cashier is that they fully understand how the system works, have had a good deal of practice with it, and can put an order through far faster than the average customer could. Even in places where this technology is in place I usually stick to the cashier line because it seems faster than trying to do it myself (or perhaps more importantly it seems faster than watching some idiot in front of me fumble about for several minutes while they try to figure things out). Maybe it makes a difference when there is a long line up but I don't really see this replacing cashiers outright, at least for now.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby bilateralrope » 2017-03-13 01:10pm

Tribble wrote:
bilateralrope wrote:
Zixinus wrote:That's actually one element that is holding back one step of automation that was "threatened" with but is technically fairly easily viable: replacing cashiers with automated tablets and cash machines. The technology is not only there but probably already done by someone or would require very little development. Fast food places already have a set ordering system that is easily programmed. You could have a dozen tablets operating at all times, unlike cashiers. There would also be no ambiguity with your order and with an actual dozen tablets costumers would be better able to explore the menu. You'd pay, get a number and servers will simply serve your food by calling it out (one KFC sort-of works like this, although I place an order with a human). It's not like McDonalds or others wouldn't do it if they could.


That sounds exactly like how the McDonalds ordering machines work in New Zealand. If I wanted to, the only times I'd need to interact with any staff during the ordering process are:
- Picking up the food.
- Dealing with products that are temporally unavailable for whatever reason.

Though it probably helps that NZ our EFTPOS system allows electronic payments without any per-transaction fee to the customer or business.


How efficient is that though? One of the advantages of having a (good) cashier is that they fully understand how the system works, have had a good deal of practice with it, and can put an order through far faster than the average customer could. Even in places where this technology is in place I usually stick to the cashier line because it seems faster than trying to do it myself (or perhaps more importantly it seems faster than watching some idiot in front of me fumble about for several minutes while they try to figure things out). Maybe it makes a difference when there is a long line up but I don't really see this replacing cashiers outright, at least for now.


1 ordering machine vs 1 cashier dealing with one customer who knows exactly what they want probably has the cashier being faster. However, at my local McDonalds:
- There are 2 cash registers. Usually only one cash register is manned. There are 6 ordering machines. So, while there might be a line at the cashier, there is always at least ordering machine that is free to use immediately. So a slow customer one one machine won't slow anyone else down.
- The LCD screens behind the counter take ages to cycle through the menu options they are showing. Mainly because they are very inefficient at using the screens, when they just had paper to show the menu on they could show everything without trouble. Probably because the screens let them do really stupid things like have one screen that runs an ad that we also see on TV on a constant loop (muted). Making it quicker to see all the menu options by tapping through the ordering machine than it is to wait for the screens to cycle.
- There are options that have always been available that have never been displayed behind the counter, but are displayed in the ordering machine. For example, exchanging the soft drink for a milkshake. It's much quicker to get the machine to tell you all the options than to ask the person taking your order.

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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Tribble » 2017-03-13 01:46pm

bilateralrope wrote:
Tribble wrote:
bilateralrope wrote:
That sounds exactly like how the McDonalds ordering machines work in New Zealand. If I wanted to, the only times I'd need to interact with any staff during the ordering process are:
- Picking up the food.
- Dealing with products that are temporally unavailable for whatever reason.

Though it probably helps that NZ our EFTPOS system allows electronic payments without any per-transaction fee to the customer or business.


How efficient is that though? One of the advantages of having a (good) cashier is that they fully understand how the system works, have had a good deal of practice with it, and can put an order through far faster than the average customer could. Even in places where this technology is in place I usually stick to the cashier line because it seems faster than trying to do it myself (or perhaps more importantly it seems faster than watching some idiot in front of me fumble about for several minutes while they try to figure things out). Maybe it makes a difference when there is a long line up but I don't really see this replacing cashiers outright, at least for now.


1 ordering machine vs 1 cashier dealing with one customer who knows exactly what they want probably has the cashier being faster. However, at my local McDonalds:
- There are 2 cash registers. Usually only one cash register is manned. There are 6 ordering machines. So, while there might be a line at the cashier, there is always at least ordering machine that is free to use immediately. So a slow customer one one machine won't slow anyone else down.
- The LCD screens behind the counter take ages to cycle through the menu options they are showing. Mainly because they are very inefficient at using the screens, when they just had paper to show the menu on they could show everything without trouble. Probably because the screens let them do really stupid things like have one screen that runs an ad that we also see on TV on a constant loop (muted). Making it quicker to see all the menu options by tapping through the ordering machine than it is to wait for the screens to cycle.
- There are options that have always been available that have never been displayed behind the counter, but are displayed in the ordering machine. For example, exchanging the soft drink for a milkshake. It's much quicker to get the machine to tell you all the options than to ask the person taking your order.


Fair enough, though the LCD screens really aren't the cashier's fault.

On a related note there's this thing, which does seem to automate the burger making process from beginning to end: http://kwhs.wharton.upenn.edu/2015/08/r ... nd-beyond/

IMO it still has some way to go before it's practical, but at least they are being honest about their desire to eliminate as many employees as possible.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Zixinus » 2017-03-13 04:11pm

[quote]

How efficient is that though?[/qutoe]

If there is peak traffic, you have to pay 12 people to man twelve cashiers. If there even that many cash machines or even that many people. Those cashiers also have to go and do the serving.

With tablets, you can easily have 12 of them about or even more, while all the people are busy actually making the orders and not noting down costumer choices.

Plus there is the option of making it a phone app on, so you can order (and probably pay) before you are even there.

There is also the possible advantage that there is reduced changed of error because on a machine you can review your order before you commit. Verbal communications can easily be misunderstood, especially if there is noise.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Broomstick » 2017-03-13 04:40pm

TheFeniX wrote:Cheap-shot on my part: I think the most "American" car company today is fucking Toyota. While I've wanted one for years, it was actually a big part of why I bought a Tacoma. A Japanese auto company is more willing to throw in with US (and Texas) workers than the Big 3 or the average politician.

^ This.

I've had this argument with people when, after decades of buying "American" my spouse and I bought a Toyota. Ford may be headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, USA but the vehicles are built in Korea and Mexico. Toyota actually builds vehicles in the US, there is in fact a factory near to us, and thus the Japanese company is actually employing more of my neighbors than the so-called "American" car makers are.

If I want to help my neighbors and fellow citizens keep jobs it makes sense to purchase something from the company that actually employs some of them.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby TheFeniX » 2017-03-13 05:13pm

They don't even make Levis in America anymore, or most blue jeans period. That was like THE American company. There were other factors, but I'm sure competition from imported goods didn't help. Luckily, I haven't needed many new pairs of jeans over the years... for some personal reason I won't go into except to say I bought a truckload of jeans on sale at one time and didn't wear them for over a decade. Anyways:

I remember this stand-up skit I caught around the time Levis closed their last American shop. I can't honestly recall who or where. He lead with Levis saying something like "we had to outsource rednecks! How bad are things where we have to outsource a people who are so resourceful they can turn an engine block into a BBQ pit?" then started in about how it's so bad in America we're outsourcing our racism because confederate flags are made in China and he's pretty sure all the bedsheets the Klan wears are made there to. He ended it with some quip like "Shit, we might as well just cut out the middle man and hire the Chinese to burn crosses on my lawn."

I laughed. It's shitty, but I laughed fucking HARD because I saw where he was coming from. My wife had mentioned something about Texas Jeans being made in 'Murrica. I might need to look into them.

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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby RogueIce » 2017-03-13 10:13pm

Zixinus wrote:That's actually one element that is holding back one step of automation that was "threatened" with but is technically fairly easily viable: replacing cashiers with automated tablets and cash machines. The technology is not only there but probably already done by someone or would require very little development. Fast food places already have a set ordering system that is easily programmed. You could have a dozen tablets operating at all times, unlike cashiers. There would also be no ambiguity with your order and with an actual dozen tablets costumers would be better able to explore the menu. You'd pay, get a number and servers will simply serve your food by calling it out (one KFC sort-of works like this, although I place an order with a human). It's not like McDonalds or others wouldn't do it if they could.

Both of these definitely exist.

In Walmart, for example, they have self-checkout. You have something like 6-8 SCO machines where you can scan, bag and pay for your own stuff. You don't even need a debit card, they'll take cash and change - barring technical failure, of course. For those 6-8 machines, you have one manned station, usually with one or two associates, depending on the time of day. Mostly they're there to try and keep an eye on customers, making sure they actually scan everything rather than trying to be sneaky. They're also on hand to provide assistance for any errors and/or customers who can't figure out life. Their station can also ring you out, if need be, but they generally won't do that barring exceptional circumstances and would ask you to use a SCO station instead.

McDonalds is also rolling out something similar to what you describe. They have these big touchscreens where you can order your food, special order it, and pay - although these are card only, no cash unlike at Walmart. They still have the traditional registers with an employee or two standing around, for those who want to order the traditional way; unlike Walmart they don't discourage this, they'll take your order if you walk up to them, no questions asked. It's really nice for special orders, because it'll tell you what's on there without having to ask the cashier, which is nice. Although it is limited in what you can add: I could, in theory, ask a cashier to add bacon to my Big Mac. No idea if they would, but I could ask. The machine won't let me do that, though; unless it's a preprogrammed option, you don't get the choice to add it on.

They're definitely going the way of automation, though. I read a story about a new Walmart store out in California that's going all in with as much automation as possible. Of course for those familiar with Walmart, they know Corporate thinks payroll is an enormous hardship and they're always looking to cut staffing to the barest minimum - if even that! - and are (in)famous for how hard it is to actually find an associate, usually because they have one person running around three departments doing the jobs of five people. So it's no surprise they'd be all-in on automation. And that's without any kind of special automation tricks; they're just stingy as fuck when it comes to giving hours. I'm sure the other retailers won't be fair behind.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby mr friendly guy » 2017-03-13 10:51pm

Some of Australia's large grocery chains already use self checkout. My first thought was, can't someone cheat the system and just enter the wrong item.

It turns out people do.
http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national ... uts-coles/

Last year, the supermarket chain said it had caught 22,000 shoplifters in 12 months, with half that number busted using dodgy self-checkout methods.

And lets have a look at how far someone went to scam the machines.

linky

Court documents have revealed the extent of Ipswich woman Kylie Milner’s self-serve scam, three days after she received a suspended jail sentence when she admitted she stole $4500 in groceries from supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths.
Ms Milner’s somewhat labour-intensive plot involved photocopying barcodes from 65c and 72c packets of two minute noodles onto sticky labels, which she then affixed to more expensive supermarket items that she scanned through the self-serve check-outs.
Among the items court documents revealed she stole were more than 30 slabs of meat, a set of sheets, dishwashing tablets and two coffee pod machines each valued at nearly $200.
Her month-long scam began to unravel when supermarket managers realised they were suddenly selling an inordinately high number of two minute noodles.
The court heard she was also often seen to be unusually nervous while scanning her items at the check-outs.
Ms Milner, a single mum the court heard was financially strapped, admitted to shopping with the fraudulent barcodes on 31 occasions.
She further admitted to three aborted attempts.
In court documents obtained by the Daily Mail, it was revealed her scam was finally foiled on September 18 last year, when a Woolworths employee confronted her at the checkout.

Court documents said Ms Milner told the employee she “forgot her wallet” and fled the store.
She left behind three packets of lamb cutlets, one packet of bacon and some Glen 20 disinfectant.
It was Ms Milner’s second attempt to go through self-serve after the supermarket manager had earlier spoken to her at the check-outs.
She claimed she forgot something and returned to the supermarket aisles, the police facts state.
But the suspicious woman stayed at the check-outs, awaiting Ms Milner’s return.
The Woolworths encounter came just three days after she was nearly busted at a nearby Coles. She scanned a $27.61 rump roast with one of her fake barcodes when a worker noticed, court papers said.
The staff member voided the sale and Ms Milner pleaded ignorance.
She scanned her FlyBuys card and walked out. Police soon after traced her bank card and were granted a warrant.


Now Coles are trying up to 12 items per self checkout. Personally if I have only a few items I would want to self checkout, but if I have more I just want to get a traditionally cashier. Unfortunately I bet you they won't have enough cashiers and there will be a long wait.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Tribble » 2017-03-13 11:47pm

When it comes to things like grocery stores the amount the shopper is buying seems to play a role at the moment. When people only have a few items they seem to go towards the self-checkout, while those who are buying a whole bunch of stuff at once usually head towards the cashier. The self-checkout will definitely need some kind of conveyor belt and bagging system if its going to replace cashiers for bulk buyers.

Or course if the costs are relatively the same a lot of people may prefer to simply order their groceries online and have them shipped instead.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby bilateralrope » 2017-03-14 12:57am

RogueIce wrote:In Walmart, for example, they have self-checkout. You have something like 6-8 SCO machines where you can scan, bag and pay for your own stuff. You don't even need a debit card, they'll take cash and change - barring technical failure, of course. For those 6-8 machines, you have one manned station, usually with one or two associates, depending on the time of day. Mostly they're there to try and keep an eye on customers, making sure they actually scan everything rather than trying to be sneaky. They're also on hand to provide assistance for any errors and/or customers who can't figure out life. Their station can also ring you out, if need be, but they generally won't do that barring exceptional circumstances and would ask you to use a SCO station instead.


The supermarkets here in NZ have them, but they take cash or a wide range of card options. 1 staff member monitoring 4 machines, usually only having to do anything if something breaks, someone doesn't know what to select for an item without a barcode, or they have to authorise an alcohol purchase as the machines have no way to check someones age.

These machines are the express lane checkouts. Sometimes those are the only checkouts open.

McDonalds is also rolling out something similar to what you describe. They have these big touchscreens where you can order your food, special order it, and pay - although these are card only, no cash unlike at Walmart.


One difference for NZ: If you want to pay cash and use the machine, the machine produces a docket stating exactly what your order is. Then you go to the counter with the docket and your cash to pay there.

mr friendly guy wrote:Some of Australia's large grocery chains already use self checkout. My first thought was, can't someone cheat the system and just enter the wrong item.

It turns out people do.
http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national ... uts-coles/

NZ self-checkouts check if the weight of the item you scanned matches the expected weight of items with that barcode. The entire bagging area is on scales.

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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby mr friendly guy » 2017-03-14 02:15am

bilateralrope wrote:NZ self-checkouts check if the weight of the item you scanned matches the expected weight of items with that barcode. The entire bagging area is on scales.

The other trick thieves have used is for fresh food, simply tell the machine its something cheap, like carrots. There is no barcode to scan, and relies on an honour system for you to tell the machine what you're weighing.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby His Divine Shadow » 2017-03-14 07:44am

We weigh our produce on scales and select the right type, it 100% relies on the honor system, though the cashier can ofcourse check the label. But this is Finland, this works here. People stop for red lights in the night in empty streets. And we like it like that, it's a huge part of what makes the nordic countries what they are.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Broomstick » 2017-03-14 08:50am

Tribble wrote:When people only have a few items they seem to go towards the self-checkout, while those who are buying a whole bunch of stuff at once usually head towards the cashier. The self-checkout will definitely need some kind of conveyor belt and bagging system if its going to replace cashiers for bulk buyers.

My store actually has several self-check outs like that - conveyors and bagging carousel - in addition to the small-station self-checkouts. We also have a lot of the traditional lanes with a human being. Altogether, 10 small self-checkouts, 4 large ones, 18 traditional lanes with human beings.

There is ALWAYS at least 1 traditional lane with a human cashier open at all times.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons we often have every single lane being used.

At times like 2 am Monday it's one cluster of self-serve (the small ones) and 1 human run lane.

Well, for just 1 item that doesn't require anything special (a loaf of bread you scan and sack, then pay for) a self-checkout makes some sense. At our store you always have the option to go to a line with a human if you want to do that. Always.

The hitch comes in with restricted sale items - anything that needs an ID/proof of age to buy. That includes alcohol, cigarettes, some cough remedies, certain movies and games, airguns, and ammunition. That requires a human being to confirm the purchaser is qualified to buy the item. Food stamps you can do at a self-checkout, but WIC only recently converted to card, prior to that anyone using that benefit had to go through a human-run line. Anyone paying with check needs a human in the link, the self-checkouts don't handle those. Certain types of vendor coupons need a human-run line. And so on.

Then there are the people who insist on going to a human-run line because they want people to keep their jobs rather than lose them to automation.

Of course, a store could say "fuck that segment" and not take checks for example, but you will lose a certain segment of customers if you do that.

There's also the problem of the disabled - we have a number of deaf customers who simply cannot respond to voice cues. We have visually impaired customers who can't read a screen (one gentleman has had me enter his pin several times for him - yes, it's a security issue but it's the best work-around he's found so far). People in wheelchairs or using walkers who need assistance with manipulating their groceries (in a few cases the person has an employee accompany them while shopping to help with that).

So, yeah, a fast food place could fully automate today, but will still need a human somewhere on premises to deal with problems the machine(s) can't. And if you want to capture the maximum possible market you'll need some humans involved because machines aren't any good at dealing with the unexpected or unusual. That applies at fast food joints as well as the hypermarket I work at.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Broomstick » 2017-03-14 09:06am

Ghetto edit:

Yes, there is a problem with people scamming at the self-checkouts. Although there's an expected weight programmed into the machines, so, for example, it won't accept a "two minute noodle" code for a vacuum cleaner, for items close to the same weight you can do that. Likewise the problem with calling one vegetable something else, though we probably get more people entering the code for something like regular bananas (4011) for organic bananas (94011), as the price difference is frequently substantial. Or entering "red delicious" instead of "honeycrisp" for an apple variety, again, there's significant price difference.

We do have video surveillance on all checkouts. The resolution is pretty good, and can easily pick up the blue band around the organic bananas (as an example), much less note that you're entering "carrots" instead of "eggplant" or something. I'm familiar with the resolution because when you, as a cashier, make an error they bring you into a room and show you the video of you making it. Which makes it pretty hard to deny. ("Uh, yeah, that's me screwing up.") Do we catch people stealing via such videos? Yep, we sure do. We don't football-tackle them on the way out, but eventually the cops come knocking on their door with a warrant. And that's going to be the case with any self-checkout system - the thieves will not be caught immediately, they'll face the consequences later.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Zaune » 2017-03-14 09:58am

That might just be a Wal-Mart thing, unless those cameras are really well-hidden. I once managed to bag my groceries at the self-checkout, walk out of the store and only realise I'd forgotten to put the money in the slot two hours later, but when I returned the next morning to present the manager with the outstanding sum and an abject apology they didn't seem to have noticed. (They still took the money though.)

I imagine that for a lot of low-level stuff -scanning a four-pack of the cheapest beer they sell and placing four cans of something pricier in the bagging area, say- it's just written off as the cost of doing business; the reduced staffing costs are probably saving a lot more than is being lost to penny-ante scams like that.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby RogueIce » 2017-03-14 11:50am

bilateralrope wrote:
McDonalds is also rolling out something similar to what you describe. They have these big touchscreens where you can order your food, special order it, and pay - although these are card only, no cash unlike at Walmart.


One difference for NZ: If you want to pay cash and use the machine, the machine produces a docket stating exactly what your order is. Then you go to the counter with the docket and your cash to pay there.

I forgot to mention it, because the one at my local McDonalds always fails to print the receipt when I ask, but they do give a "pay at the counter" option as well.

Of course, as I said, the one I go to is always broken for some reason. Which is why they'll never fully automate away jobs - shit breaks, and they can't shut down the store to wait for a repair tech to come out. Well, they could, but that would cost a bunch of money in lost sales. And they'd still need humans to usher customers out the door, put up CLOSED signs and lock the place, unless we get some really fancy robots who can do all that and not fuck it up.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby LaCroix » 2017-03-14 12:50pm

They changed to automated here, as well, the only thing that changed is that everything got faster, and instead of two people manning the counter, they are now only assembling and handing out the orders that come in by the 6 terminals. You still have one open counter to order via person, but that is quickly falling out of fashion as you are pretty much only delaying everything for all others by making him do it for you.
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