First, a success story. Trader Joe's is a very pleasant place to shop, all the way through. The checkout process is one reason for this great experience. The first time I went to one was several years ago, and I was pleasantly surprised during checkout.
The Card Swipe device:
- Made it immediately obvious that I could swipe my card at any time
- Allowed me to enter DEBIT, PIN, Cashback options, all before the cashier had even finished scanning my items
- Provided a final confirmation once all items were scanned
Imagine my surprise when my local Market Basket got new card swipe devices a year or two ago, and they did not share this amazing feature. On the contrary - it required the exact opposite. Enter the "Confirm Then Swipe", a giant usability fail.
Here is a basic rundown of the Bad Card Swipe Device (TM):
- You must wait until the cashier has scanned the final item
- The cashier then usually asks credit or debit.
- The cashier reminds you to "Confirm then swipe"
- You confirm the amount
- You can then swipe your card
- Debit PIN
- Oops - you got your PIN wrong, try it again
- Final confirmation (?)
What went wrong for a device with such a basic purpose to have been made this way? Is it short-sightedness of the developer? Is it due to the other vendor holding software patents? (more on software patents another day...) Whatever the cause - it really bums me out. How many wasted words are there on a daily basis, just to explain to the customers that they must confirm first? (plus the time that could have been saved if the swiping process was completed while items were still being scanned) How much time is lost by the patrons due to this every day? Per Year? This should not be the case, but sadly it is.