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JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson Wants To Eliminate The Person Standing At The Cash Register

JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson Wants To Eliminate The Person Standing At The Cash Register

JCPenney CEO and former Apple retail guru Ron Johnson is speaking at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, and he revealed a bit of what his strategy is for store checkout.

He wants to eliminate the employees who stand at cash registers and get rid of traditional checkout by the end of 2013.


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I don't believe I am reading this... "forcing" ???

"In by, forcing corporate to take action they would have otherwise not made."

Forced by whom? Government? Mob rule? You are seriously advocating putting a gun to the head of free-enterprise on a pro-liberty website? Why are you even here?

"The consumer decided they did not like them"

So now you speak for all (or at least enough) consumers? If employing computer checkout systems is such a grand failure as you say, the fact that they are still installing them all over puts the lie to your claims. If profit rises even 5% after all expense and maintenance for the machines is calculated, any business owner would be a fool to listen to a few more complaints demanding a return to the old ways.

You sound to me like a shill for buggy whips, begging for intervention to keep things the way you like them.

And yes, deny it all you like, an economy driven by consumer demand (and forced regulation of business whether by government or the mob) is Keynesianism.

About the only "out" you have here is saying you didn't really mean "force", you really meant that the consumer "voting with their wallet" actually "decides". That is a false conclusion, because the consumer didn't decide to make the company do anything, the company has it within its own power to DECIDE whether or not to do anything about losing customers.

Chick-fil-A lost a LOT of customers when its owner did that anti-gay interview, but they GAINED a lot of new customers too. Those LGBT activists are certainly voting with their wallets. Whether Chick-fil-A does anything about that is up to Chick-fil-A; NOT those activists.


you are a dolt and have no idea what you are talking about and im outta this conversation.
you completely make up things not said "mob rule? government?"
you are having three arguments.

have fun

"OH NO! He has a SON?" Neoconservatives and Liberals EVERYWHERE!

Rand Paul 2016


As a business owner, the consumer of my products does NOT get to decide how I run my business. They can REACT to how I run my business, but the day someone comes in here and tells me how to run my business is the day I throw them out.

You're claiming that the will of the majority who don't own the company is superior to the will of the ownership of the company, and it's just not true.

The consumer reacts. The consumer only decides if they will shop there in the future.

Eric Hoffer


Well stated!

Maybe but...

It is quite possible that you’ve failed to think this through. Do you honestly believe that a company the size of JC Penny has not conducted studies that they used to determine the best move forward? Furthermore, if, indeed, it turns out to be a bad move, they will learn this through trial-and-error and, I suspect, reverse course. Either way, it is entirely up to those that run the company to choose how best to manage the company based on experience and, in most cases, relying on "experts" to help them determine how to steer the ship.

Your comparison to grocery stores is, I suspect, upon briefly contemplating your post, a bad comparison. What we might discover, upon observing this experiment, is that the move made by grocers failed because of the type of product and/or the demographics of the customer base. For example, if "little old ladies" that tend to need a little more assistance from a human comprise a goodly portion of your customer base, it might not be a good idea to automate your check-out lines. Another issue one might find in the grocery market is that the fresh produce products (lacking individual bar-codes and priced per-weight) are more difficult to deal with in automated check-out lines. If, on the other hand, younger, more technologically savvy customers comprise a goodly portion of the JC Penny customer-base and ALL products have bar-code labels with exact prices (as opposed to the price-by-weight and lack of labels on fresh produce), automating the check-out process may work out very well for them.

In any event, I would venture a guess that neither you nor I are even remotely qualified to weigh-in on this debate given our, nearly complete, lack of knowledge on the subject. Observing the results of a similar experiment that dealt with different variables and concluding that the results will be the same is, I daresay, absurd.

They've been successful in my State.

The grocery stores in my State have had cashierless checkout lines for years and are doing just fine, heck we've even got fast food places here that have no cashiers and are also doing just fine. Maybe they only failed in certain states for reasons that are less clear or in grocery stores with unions.

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1.Do you honestly believe that a company the size of JC Penny has not conducted studies that they used to determine the best move forward?

yes, and they are rolling the dice going against consumer choice not to use those self checkouts.. They are worried because they are announcing it before they do it to get more feed back, and it will NEVER be done so the whole thing is moot. this would be suicide, and they will find another way to stay afloat, but it wont be self checkouts. If this made money, corporations in good standing would have tried them and tested them and kept them, YEARS ago. they havent because they were a failure.
besides people can go online and order and deal with a machine and will if JCP does this, which they wont because they know this.

self checkouts are a proven failure, they are only kept around because they dont cost money, but dont make it either.. but no new ones are going in and JCP is being forced to make this action.

"OH NO! He has a SON?" Neoconservatives and Liberals EVERYWHERE!

Rand Paul 2016

Your entire response

Is based upon your feelings. As a result of your flawed premises, tt entirely lacks sound reasoning and logic. I notice that, in your response, you failed to address my point that your comparison is invalid.

I never go through a manned

I never go through a manned check-out at the grocery store. Self-checkouts are faster, more people are served at once, and only requires a supervisor to help if there is a problem. Self-checkouts at the grocery store are wonderful.

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you are in the minority, as I said, grocers have said they were a waste of money. thats why new grocers, unless permitted by large space do not have them. besides, there is always an issue that needs to be addressed at those self checkouts. and the lady running the 4 machines is always busy or not there to help..then you get attitude when it arrives to help!lol

"OH NO! He has a SON?" Neoconservatives and Liberals EVERYWHERE!

Rand Paul 2016


Posted in error

The day they do...

...is when I will never go there again.


And the company will happily sacrifice your patronage if it gains them, as a result, several new customers seeking efficiency (and maybe, like me, some customers simply dislike having to deal with cashiers that, all too often, have miserable demeanors and make life just a little more unpleasant). Consider it on a larger scale. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the company gained three new customers for every one lost. Of course the numbers that I'm using are completely made-up but, let's just pretend that this is the outcome. Whoa! That’s HUGE! What would you, as the owner/manager of the company decide in this scenario?

I understand what you say...

...but that is my personal preference. In grocery stores, I will choose to go in sometimes a longer line with a cashier rather that a faceless unpersonable checkout. I tend to have pleasant experiences with all cashiers wherever I go because I am pleasant to them. Their job isn't always fun, but it is a JOB. And if they are having a bad day, I will make it a point to say something nice...not because it's my job, just because that is the kind of person I am. I love people!

Also, I feel that society is getting to faceless. It is good to talk with neighbors, cashiers and others around. It's healthy to be social and what a great way to spread liberty! I have talked with many people about Paul and liberty issues this way.

Decisions made on financial gain will rule. I was merely speaking of my preference for personal reasons. So technically I am not disagreeing with you.

JC Penny didn't come up with

JC Penny didn't come up with that, someone else got them there.


You didn't build that!

Eric Hoffer

Ron Johnson was the head of

Ron Johnson was the head of retail for Apple, and I think he used to have a similar position at Target before that.

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He already has....

I was in our local JC Penny recently and there was one person at the cash register and that was the only employee on the entire floor. There was no one to ask for assistance or ask questions. I went back to the returns desk and one person there told me that was how it was now and it was going to be a nightmare at Christmas. I don't see how you can run a department store without employees available to assist customers and answer questions about products. What a disaster. I didn't buy anything.

If a "no-employee" system

makes them lose money, you can bet they will go back to employing more humans. This is the free-market in action; a job lost here frees up labour for new enterprise elsewhere. It is a misconception that all of the non-jobs at JCP will generate an equal number of unemployed on welfare.

BTW, not all shoppers are the same. I do most of my research online and generally don't like to have in store salespeople give me their pitch. I'm one person who would be (and is) perfectly happy using the self-checkout lane in department and grocery stores.

If you don't like the lack of salespeople, then complain, or shop elsewhere. JCP will soon get the hint. They want to make money, not make their customers angry.


I always use self-check out when available. However, there are usually employees somewhere around on the floor so that if you have a question about a product there is someone to ask. In this case, I was looking for a new toaster oven and was having trouble finding what I was looking for. I rarely shop at Penney's but I was desperate. They had a toaster oven with all of the features I like but the brand was something I had never heard of. I just wanted to ask about the brand and no I don't carry a laptop around with me so I can go on line and investigate. It turns out it was the store brand and I decided not to take a chance with it because it appeared to me the chain must be preparing to go out of business. The woman in returns told me it was the new CEO who was coming up with all of these ideas. I just figured he had been hired to bankrupt the company.

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ha ha...

very funny!


Natural part of the free market, the jobs lost at the cash register will be replaced by manufacturing jobs. If only they weren't in China and Japan due to us regulations.

"Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear." - Benjamin Franklin

This is so laughable. Yes, US

This is so laughable. Yes, US regulations are keeping business from bringing manufacturing to the US. Not the fact that the average Chinese or Indian worker makes 20x less.

If only we allowed child labor and slavery back. THEN jobs would FLOCK back here! Of course slave jobs would get unpaid...but we could count those jobs as 3/5ths of a job, OK?

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Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

You think slavery

is more productive than paid workers? Slaves require food, shelter, clothing and they work only hard enough to not be beaten. Slavery would have died out on it's own, there's nothing marketable about slavery, it's force. Force never produces good results.

Regulations ARE sending jobs out of the US because they raise the cost of labor, people will seek to purchase the highest quality and lowest cost labor just like anything else. Technology can help to lower the costs of labor by making people more productive but not under the burden of overwhelming regulation taxation and inflation. Do we have any real Ron Paul supporters here anymore?

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They increase the cost of

They increase the cost of labor, sure. But not nearly enough to account for the fact that business costs are far cheaper abroad. The standard of living here causes demand for higher wages. That is muted abroad.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a


Is a combination- regs / taxes / Liabilites together. I have worked with off shore labor and I can assure you it is NOT the labor costs that drive the jobs out. It is the combination above and of the three listed labor is the easiest to predict the others are not and hence do more to drive jobs out.


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