I’m sure you’ve all encountered them. No doubt those of you living in other countries have had automatic checkouts for longer than us in Australia, particularly us in South Australia.
“Self-service checkout is easy to use.”
“Easy to use?! It’s the most stressful thing I’ve done in days!”
– a conversation between the checkout and my mother.
So I’m not going to get into all that. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before.
Instead, I’d like to talk about its voice. And the things it says. And not about its annoying smug voice and the obnoxious things it says, but about its accent.
You see, pretty much all of the automatic checkouts I’ve been to (in Australia, anyway) have English accents. And they can get away with that, because particularly with Australian accents divided into three categories (which I contest, by the way), one of which being “Cultivated Australian” (which I call RP or Queen’s English because, really, that’s what it is), no-one bats an eyelid and an English automated checkout. They probably have them in New Zealand, too.
I tell you what, the Scottish think they have it bad with computerised voices never having Scottish accents, but at least people think of them when someone asks, “What massive English-speaking consumer market is not being catered to in the computerised voice sector?”. No-one thinks of the Australians, so we get English accents on our computers.
At least they didn’t try to put American accents on them. People would probably stage a protest if their automatic checkout told them off in an American accent.
“Please weigh your courgettes. Please place your red bell pepper in the bagging area.”
Uh, no. Not in Australia. I will not weigh my zucchini, nor will I place my capsicum in the bagging area…