Ever since Walmart and countless other retailers got the bright idea of installing self-checkouts, I have been complaining about it. I have always thought they were a bad idea.

There are lawyers nationwide warning customers not to use them. There have been cases of stores returning months later and checking videos, accusing customers of stealing.

Walmart is blaming self-checkout thefts for closing hundreds of stores. Big surprise, self-checkouts, which no one asked for, are now resulting in hundreds of communities losing their only place to buy food and essentials.

Today, there is a story from the Wall Street Journal that seems to add insult to our collective self-checkout misery.

Apparently, some self-checkouts now have a screen  with a tip prompt. In other words, when you're done checking out, the self-checkout asks you for a tip. I would love to tell you my reaction to that, but I can't write that in mixed company.

Is this going to be a thing? So far, the self-checkout kiosks where the machines ask for tips are not in grocery stores or department stores. They have been spotted in airports and some baseball stadiums.

I think it would be the height of unmitigated gall if a self-checkout machine in a supermarket had a tip screen. I have to do the job of checking myself out, then bag my groceries, and then face the prospect that later on, you will review a security tape and decide that I didn't pay for something, and then you want me to tip.

A spokesman for OTG, a company that operates restaurants and airport stores, says these tips help employees. Unfortunately, even that is in question as protections under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act do not extend to machine-treated tips.

Since this is already happening at self-checkouts in airports and baseball parks, you know it's a matter of time before it comes to retailers like Walmart and Target. These companies have never seen a way to make or save a buck they didn't like.

If they think I'm going to tip a self-checkout machine that I never wanted in the first place because they're trying to make an extra billion dollars profit instead of paying their employees a fair living wage, they've got another thing coming.

There might be only one good thing to come of this.  I would love to see the surveillance camera video of how shoppers react when they see a self-checkout asking for a tip. I get the feeling THAT is going to be interesting.

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