Repeating Audio Prompt At Wal-Mart Self-Checkout Prompts Customer To Smash The Screen

Written by Evan Schuman
August 17th, 2011

Sometimes, it’s hard for IT to precisely understand how consumers feel about customer-facing kiosks, down to the emotions prompted by specific screen elements. A Tennessee man on Sunday (Aug. 14) helped out a little on that front, engaging in a very specific interaction with a self-checkout unit at a Wal-Mart. To be precise, he punched out the machine to the tune of about $2,000 in damages. The interesting part was the specific part of the interface that prompted the intense consumer response.

Ronnie Wilinson, 57, told responding Gallatin Police officers that he couldn’t take it anymore “because it would not quit talking and saying the same thing over and over again,” according to affidavits filed with the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office cited in The Tennessean. This is certainly not the first report of a Wal-Mart self-checkout system driving consumers to fisticuffs. But if this episode helps developers understand the emotions that repeated verbal prompts can cause, it’s not entirely a bad thing. (The image for this story was shot at a local Wal-Mart, one whose signs opted to not risk the fate of their self-checkout counterparts. One has to wonder, though, how customer service would handle a customer who tried to get them to make good on the sign.)


2 Comments | Read Repeating Audio Prompt At Wal-Mart Self-Checkout Prompts Customer To Smash The Screen

  1. Tim McIvor Says:

    My problem with Wal-Mart’s self-checkouts is their insistence that you place your scanned items in the minuscule “bagging area”. This is a little tough if you’re buying a lawnmower or a 50 lb. bag of dog food.

  2. John V. Says:

    Was that “screen elements” – or “SCREAM elements”??


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