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News Roundup: Thanksgiving Edition

November 28, 2019 Updated: September 8, 2020

Black Friday More Stressful with Self-Checkout

If you’re one of the 165 million Americans shopping on Black Friday, you’ll probably encounter automation somewhere along the route. But the most common automation encounter – the self-checkout machine – continues to display dubious value. A new Brookings report found that the ratio of worker displacement to productivity growth is “less favorable” than historical automation innovations.

With less staffing in retail stores, that’s less customer service – not what you want on the busiest shopping day of the year.

How AI is Changing Holiday Travel with Kids

Airlines are using AI and algorithms to pack more and more people onto planes and one consequence is families being separated on the flight. That’s right, unless you pay extra money, your seats will most likely be assigned by a computer, warns Consumer Reports. That could mean you in one row, and your toddler in another as airlines set their ticketing automation to deprioritize families.

Even worse, the humans you deal with on the phone or at the ticket counter may not have the power to change it. And as millions take to the skies to visit families over the holidays, you could be seated next to an uphappy child – that’s not yours.

Number of the Week: 54 Percent

That’s the number of U.S. consumers who plan to do most of their holiday shopping online, the highest it’s ever been. But beware the Cyber Monday deals – unlike traditional Black Friday, retailers like Amazon can quickly change prices hour by hour, so there’s no guarantee you’ll get the best deal offered. One more way brick and mortar stores are a better deal for consumers.

Any upcoming stories about the impact of automation on the retail industry and the economy?

If you’re interested in speaking with UFCW, email awhite@www.ufcw.org for a quote, statistics, or interviews with workers in retail and other sectors of the economy.

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