For many of us who have been out and about over the past number of years, you will surely have noticed that many fast-food outlets have steadily switched from traditional cashier counters to self-serve kiosks. Operated through the use of a screen, customers simply need to punch in their menu items of choice and pay using their credit or debit cards, before waiting to be served.
Self-order kiosks; convenient, or cumbersome?
While the system has touted as offering an added layer of convenience to consumers, this isn’t necessarily always the case, especially among the elderly or those who aren’t tech savvy. In a poignant post penned by netizen Ah Lee, she shares while she was lining up at a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) recently, she was reminded of the weekends visiting the restaurant as a child with her parents.
“As they couldn’t speak English or Bahasa very well, they would just point on the menu to indicate what they wanted.
2 pieces of chicken, 3 pieces. To them, that was very easy.”
But with the new self-ordering kiosks in place, gone were the days of such banal simplicity. In fact, Lee even observed that a group of youngsters ordering ahead of her were having trouble with the kiosk themselves, and had to check a number of times to ensure that they had placed the right order.
“Asides from that, more and more restaurants are also using QR codes to order your meals. In this day and age, it’s probably a norm for us to speak English.
We all have our own electronic devices, and we use e-wallets too. But even then, we sometimes find ourselves at a loss when ordering food using QR codes. Imagine what it’s like for our parents, or older people who aren’t literate.”
Don’t leave the elderly in the past
Pointing out that many of those who are young are lucky enough to be born into an era where technology is commonplace, Lee then points out that we should not forget those who have toiled in the past to provide us with the present that we now all enjoy.
“Don’t leave them behind on a deserted island.”
Appealing to fast food restaurants to accommodate for these vulnerable groups who may not be able to easily adopt the use of self-order kiosks, Lee also hopes that other netizens will make it a point to offer the elderly a hand, if ever they notice them facing troubles while placing an order.
Lee’s post has since gone viral over social media, racking up as many as 14,000 shares as of writing. Netizens have echoed similar sentiments surrounding the difficulties in using newer digital ordering systems, while also empathizing with the challenges faced by the elderly.
“I felt tears rolling down my face reading your post. I’m willing to lend a hand to anybody’s parents who need help!”
“I was just talking to my girlfriend about this. Scanning and ordering using QR codes is very technologically advanced, but it lacks that sense of closeness you get from human interaction. After discussing among ourselves, we decided not to order using QR codes.”
“Using QR codes to access a restaurant’s menu to place an order is really annoying. Maybe it’s because I have a small phone, but staring at it for too long makes me feel really tired. Which is why I tend to just go to restaurants I’m familiar with and order directly with the wait staff. It just makes things so much faster.”