As expressed in an email I recently received, automating business processes has a definite downside:
“I’m always amazed by the number of bank tellers who want me to sign up for direct deposit. I’m sure these misguided workers are required to make the suggestion and perhaps are even paid a bonus for each customer they talk into signing up. But don’t they realize that as more of us opt for the electronic or mechanized alternative, that they are less likely to have a job?
I’m no technophobe, but I also take issue with my employer’s attempts at forcing me to sign up for direct deposit when I simply enjoy going to the bank with my check and having the option of getting cash back (with coins and in denominations other than $20 bills). The tellers recognize me, smile and often exchange brief pleasantries. Having worked as a teller myself while in college, I delight in such face-to-face “real world” exchanges.
Perhaps I would be less resistant to banks and supermarkets reducing staff to cut their costs if they passed on the benefits in the form of higher interest rates or lower prices to compensate me for the need to interact with machines.”