McDonald’s Replaces Cashiers with Touch-Screens

You may not know this about me, but I went to business school, not writing or art school. And when I was there, paying hundreds of dollars per minute, I learned about a thing called ‘structural unemployment.’

Structural unemployment is where you lose your job, not because the economy is bad or down or because ‘times are tough’. It’s where you lose your job because the world has changed and your job is no longer needed.

Case in point: Annoying strangers who call you on the phone. They may be bill collectors, poll takers, salesmen, whatever. There was a time, 25 or so years ago, when companies and organizations needed to maintain a whole team of these people. Nowadays, they hire one person with a good voice and ‘robo-call’. There is a much smaller team waiting for you to bite on the robo-call, should you be that stupid.

Thousands of people whose job it was to call people out of the blue and annoy them have been thrown out of work, structurally speaking, and those jobs will never come back.

Never ever.

Over the last few years, there has been a push by fast food workers for higher wages. There have even been strikes and walk-outs. In some of the more psycho-liberal states, they have even gotten their demands up to $15 an hour–and won.

Kudos, for now.

Before you say that I am a pro-business dick, know that I do indeed support minimum wage increases. I really do. In my state, in November of 2014, we had a minimum wage increase on our ballot. It passed, and with my help.

But I also am a capitalist, and I support a business’s right to reduce costs.

McDonald’s in 2015 introduced “touch-screen cashiers”, which is where instead of talking to a person who makes $15 an hour, you simply poke at a screen to get what you want. The touch-screen cashiers are now at work (for free), in Los Angeles and New York and in places in Europe. More than 7,000 touch-screen cashiers were launched in 2015 and you can bet your sweet ass more are in the works.

McDonald’s, my friends, is on the way to turning itself into a giant vending machine. $15 an hour my ass!

Perhaps before we start clamoring for higher wages, we should make sure we can’t be replaced by fucking robots. $15 an hour is all well and good…..until the robots come along.

Welcome to the 21st Century, kids.


About Michael Kindt

Michael Kindt lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He has determined to die there. Soon, probably. Books by Kindt:

2 Responses

  1. Tessa

    It is in fact the opposite. I am an employee for Mcdonalds and theese machines actually require us to hire more crew. Because there will be servers to bring you the food, more cooks to prepare the food, and more staff to assist with customer care.
    We are estimated to hire 10 extra crew for each restaurants.

    1. Actually, that isn’t true and I would like to see where you got your figures. Some franchises are trying out table service, which will move cashiers into waitstaff, but in Seattle the opposite is happening. Hiring is way down in all fast food businesses. The corporate heads are minimizing and saying cashiers won’t be replaced, but in cities with high minimum wages, McDonalds are hiring less workers than ever. It is also no coincidence that the kiosks are being brought into areas with the highest minimum wages first….

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