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Messages - Drako Swiftclaw

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So, since we have to move the photos from Booru due to Booru's new policies on IRL photos, and we noticed both our forums had gallery features, we have been debating moving all images to the forums.

The bonus of moving all images would be less logins required to post to our sites.

The drawback is that the Forums Gallery features do not allow images larger than 1MB in size, so images would need to be edited to be smaller than that.

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BLOGs, Rants, and Raves / Automation and Retail Jobs
« on: November 26, 2019, 11:04:10 pm »
Before Jumping into what I'm about to say, I encourage you all watch this video:
https://youtu.be/_h1ooyyFkF0

You may also look at this article:
https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jep.29.3.3

The article actually shows a spot where Automation doesn't have to remove jobs, but can change what those jobs do.  This section sits in the "Service" industry.  (Biggest example being that Bank Tellers' jobs actually GREW between 40% in the 30 years AFTER the ATM was introduced.)

Allow me to quote:
"First, workers are more likely to benefit directly
from automation if they supply tasks that are complemented by automation, but
not if they primarily (or exclusively) supply tasks that are substituted."

Within the Service Industry lies Retail Workers, Food Workers, and other "Customer Facing" jobs.  Yet within this same Industry is that of Sales, which saw a decline - of course this was also during a period of Recession, where lots of stores began closing down due to lack of sales.  (Radio Shack and Sears to name a few.)  Many of those Sales jobs were commission based jobs on what were called "non-essential" items, like fashion and electronics.  (Food and shelter based stores seemed to fare really well even during the recession.)

So why the increase in Bank Tellers?
Well, the tellers went from simply dispensing cash to becoming more of a sales force by using a system known as relationship banking.  Tellers were then spread out to offer additional services that a bank could provide its customers, perhaps in relation to services a customer were aleady using.

So why am I talking about this?

It's because I have worked in retail for over 15 years, and was a survivor of the great Radio Shack shutdown.  For me, Customer Service has become more than a job, it's my entire career.

What I personally noticed was that during the same time Radio Shack and other similar companies were closing stores and going into Chapter 11, Food Service companies, grocery stores, and Home Improvement stores were growing and opening new locations.  I also have noticed that many of the companies that are failing now simply have been unable to keep up with the fast pace that technology provides/demands.

I have worked in stores that both have Self Checkout lines and stores that only had live cashiers, so what I'm about to say comes from that experience.

Am I worried about SCO taking away jobs?
The short answer here is no.

The long answer starts with a phrase:
Retail work is a "Labor Control" industry.

What this ultimately means is that the number of people you see within a store at any given time usually directly correlates with the "historical" amount of business that store makes within that time frame.  Labor control goes on how well a store did in the past to decide how to schedule a store for the present.  In effect, labor control is a version of induced demand.

The more sales a store made during a certain time of day, for that given day in the previous year(s) actually determines how many employees that store can have for the same day this year and beyond.  In other words, the more customers a store had in the past determines how many employees they can have now and in the future.

Right now, many large style stores have a problem.
To help keep demand within their goals and expectations, there has to be anywhere between 2-5 times more cashiers than can be on the actual sales floor.  Cashiers are not generally trained to have the product expertise that a Sales associate would have, yet they make up the majority of retail based jobs.

Esentially, cashier positions are killing Sales positions.
This is especially true of larger stores with multiple entrances/exits.  Because even the bare minumum amount of cashiers that a store can have on staff at any given time is at least 1 per exit point.  (Large box retailers may have several exits spread across the front end that need cashiers nearby.)  The number of cashiers on staff must also fluctuate to accomodate how busy the store is throughout the day as per the sales history of that store.  Cashier positions increase more than Sales positions to accomodate demand and keep customers moving as quickly as possible.

Sales positions are also slower to increase due to the fact that sales positions in many cases were automated even before automation was a thing.  The demand for Sales positions has been on the decline, even without automation, because more customers have become knoweldgable about the products/services they need.  Many times a customer knows what they seek and just need to know where to find it within the store.  This means that services like in store locations offered on company websites/apps reduces the need for extra sales positions.

Those same tools would also be available to the cashiers and other employees of the store, reducing that need further.  Leaving actual sales positions to be for more specialised products and services, to assist customers in finding/ordering the items/services needed to fix the customers' needs, to answer detailed questions about a product/service, and/or to assist in keeping shelves stocked.

So what does this have to do with SCO?
I have heard cashiers affectionatly be nicknamed the "front end warriers" - they are the first people customers see as they enter the store, the last people customers see before they leave, and in many cases - the only people customers end up interacting with.

If a customer comes in knowing what they want, and where to find it, then the only person they talk to would be the cashier as their are being charged for their purchases.  The cashier position is usually entry level and in many cases minimum wage.  Most of the time, they only stand at registers and ring up merchandise.  They also act as the last line of defense against potential theft, which is why at least one is needed per exit.

But, since these positions are also affected by the same induced demand of labor control, which is "how many people can we afford to have on duty compared to last years' sales" - cashier positions are very flexible and depending on the time of day, you could have only 1 cashier available or more, depending on how busy the store was in the past.

This is where SCO comes into play:
The self checkout systems actually do not have to reduce the number of cashiers available, but they can improve the customer checkout times during slower periods when the number of cashiers available would already be reduced.

Many stores use this model:
"If it isn't a busy time period, reduce the number of people working."

That means that regardless of the presence of SCO, there may be fewer cashiers available to ring up merchandise - espeically during slower times of the day as per the labor control setup.

If there is a sudden uptick in sales during this historically slow time, that means 1 cashier without SCO can only ring up one person at a time.  This could lead to long lines at checkout, which means waiting a long time before you can leave the store with your purchase.

On the other hand, if SCO was present, that same cashier can assist up to 10 customers at a time, though on average a SCO cashier only has 4-8 SCO registers.  In many cases, the checkout process is fairly straight foward and anyone can scan the merchandise, pay, then leave.  The only time SCO could cause any wait time for a customer is if they need the cashier to assist them for any reason.  This could be if something doesn't have a barcode or if they are writing a check.  So that same cashier can help ensure that the lines move more quickly and there is less waiting.

Does this mean SCO is taking cashier jobs?
The short answer again is no.

Cashiers are almost like tellers.  They are the Service side of the house of retail.  Which means they provide a social service as well as merely ringing merchandise.  SCO (like the ATM) cannot perform that social task and provide a good customer experience.  All SCO does is allow the process to be more streamlined so customers are not waiting for the limited resource of cashiers.  A SCO cashier is still a cashier, and all SCO systems require at least 1 cashier present to assist customers in the checkout process.

Literally a cashier's job description is:
"Assist customers in the checkout process." 
So a customer using a SCO is not taking a cashier's job, nor are they doing the cashiers job for them.

Now why would SCO not be taking cashiers' jobs?
This answer is very simple.  We still need cashiers to assist, even at SCO and with retail jobs following the labor control model, cashier positions would be lowered/lost due to the induced demand of the store's sales.  Just like cashier positions would be needed/increased as that demand increases.

In other words:
How many hours a cashier gets and the amount of cashiers a store has is solely based on the sales of the store.  As more customers come to buy from the store, more hours are alloted to  positions.  As less customers come to buy from the store, less hours are provided.

So the only thing that can threaten cashiers' jobs are the customers themselves.

Lack of customers = lack of cashier/retail jobs.
Increase of customers = increase of cashier/retail jobs.

SCO has no direct impact on this formula.  If a store is going to reduce the number of cashiers, they will do it regardless of if SCO is there or not.

SCO does free up the cashiers so they can help provide a better customer experience and offer better customer service - granted the limitations of being a cashier - to more customers at the same time.

Taking into consideration that retail jobs are now more demanding, and people working these jobs need to be able to multi-task, this extends that ability to the cashiers who were preivously stuck doing one single task at a time.  Knowing that, I personally believe that SCO is helping to improve customer service while not directly impacting any jobs.

If we could get to a point where we needed fewer cashiers, maybe that will lead to an increase in those declining sales associate positions on the floor, and those who were cashiers can fill that need.

With that in mind, my experience is that Automation does not have to eliminate jobs.  Nor does it mean that automation means that jobs are at risk of being lost.

The ATM led to an increase in Teller Jobs.
The Automated Phone Service led to an increase in telephone CSR jobs.

So jobs within the service industry are improved by automation.

So the few jobs that could be "lost" to automation are replaced with new jobs, and those jobs may have been hazardous for humans to do to begin with.

So, if you really want to save cashier/retail jobs:
Get off the internet and go buy items from your local store.  I know many of you will have a hard time with this since you can "get it for so much cheaper online."  Well, that lower online price has a bigger price tag attatched to it - the loss of cashier jobs and the stores they work in.  Don't argue with a cashier in a store about SCO taking their job, because they are still standing there, ready to assist you - even if thats at SCO.

3
User Description Board / Drako Swiftclaw
« on: August 08, 2017, 02:57:58 am »
The first thing you may notice about this creature before you is his decently sized black leathery dragon wings.
He flutters them a bit as he notices your glance, his deep hazel eyes having a playful glint in them as he smiles warmly.

This creature, seemingly mostly feline with black silky fur along his body stands at about 5' 3" tall.
He turns to face you a bit, his eyes seeming to pierce into your soul as you cannot help but notice the Mewtwo-style horns atop his head.
White fur lining them, except for the tip, where it tapers down to what looks like white bone.
He had two feline ears on the outsides of those horns atop his head. His right ear had a piercing with a small hoop in it.
His purple headfur was a bit longer, typically about shoulder length, and his bangs could slightly cover his eyes if need be.

His face features three white stripes, along with a white chin and neck. He smiles and purrs softly.

Around his neck is a rolled (round) metal electronic collar colored in Gun Metal Black:

The inside of the collar has contact points that can shock/eStim him if needed.
The collar is electronically locked onto him, with no visible connection points or joints.
The outside of the collar had a tag ring in front with an LED light panel starting on one side of the ring, going around the collar to the other side.
The LED panel is wide enough to display messages or light in various colors.
The panel is usually lit in purple with his SID # "795772195" visible in the center of the back of his collar.
His SID # "795772195" is also engraved on the top of the collar in both the front and back.
There are 4 Tags on his collar:
The 1st, a silver bone shaped tag on his collar reads:
"Drako Swiftclaw, Tabby-Mewtwo-Dragon, Switch"
The 2nd is his green, bone shaped SEA-PAH Member Tag.
The 3rd, a red heart shaped tag that reads:
"May seem distant/aloof but loves scritches & cuddles." on one side and:
"Loves bites/marks. Trained/Locked Companion." on the other.
The 4th, a silver military style tag that reads:
"Drako Swiftclaw, Handler of Steel" on one side and:
"Drako, Pet kitty of Storm Graywing" on the other.
From there, you can notice the white fur continuing down his chest and belly.

Regarding his attire:

He always wears a blue 5 point harness
that has an Amethyst hanging from the metal ring over the middle of his chest.
He also wears a pair of black silky shorts.
If he is in a place that is clothing optional, he can be found in just his underwear.
When he is padded, he may be wearing plastic pants and/or a onesie over his diaper.
If not wearing the plastic pants/onesie when padded, he may keep his shorts on.
He is locked up in a chastity cage at least 70% of the time.
His legs are nicely built, black silky fur, like the rest of him, with white tiger stripes along them. His digitigrade feline feet were covered in that black silky fur. The pads on his paws were pink.
However, he also owns a pair of hoof leggings, which he would allow others to fit him if they desired to.
He also has reins that his partners can fit onto him. If anyone were to put his reins on him, they would have complete control over him until they take the reins off. The reins are just like horse reins with bridle, but specially fitted for his head and muzzle. They also were designed to be secured around his head. (They would fit his snout but also fit around his head like a dog's muzzle.)

He turns to let you eye his tail and back:
His SID # "795772195" was tattoed over the base of his tail in pink, which shows in his fur.
His tail was thicker than normal, being more of the thicker Mewtwo style of tail.
The underside of his tail consists of white scales.
The rest of his tail his black furred with white stripes all the way to its tip.
The tip of his tail is unique, instead of being a tuft of fur, it seems more like a bulb of flesh covered in short white fur. His back carries the same markings all the way up to his head. Leaving his arms again with the white stripes on black fur. His paws completely black furred, aide the pink pawpads.

Connecting the top of his back and the back of his head seems to be some sort of odd artery tube covered in purple fur.
This artery tube being one of the few traits that can be seen of his Mewtwo side.
He seems cautious in regards to that sensitive spot and turns back to face you once more.

His tail constantly emits trace amounts of pheromones, which can be picked up at close range or with an extra sensitive nose. When in heat, this hybrid's tail will emit a stronger floral smelling form of pheromones, which can be quite alluring. He also tends to snack on more fruit and chocolate during this time.

If you were to move closer, you could catch a light scent of roses and chamomile, with a hint of berries. It was a pleasant scent, considering this feline loves to stay clean.

He is extremely friendly and almost constantly flirtatious. He likes making friends and enjoys the company and affections of others. He does have his own odd streak, but also has a very big heart. He would protect his friends with his life, and remains loyal to them.

He is very affectionate, and loves affection. He would gladly snuggle up to just about anyone. While he does enjoy making friends over just having playmates, it is not too hard to convince him into some fun. While he will not shy away from the females, he does have a strong preference for other males.

Links:
Drako's General Art: http://jmachere.tripod.com/drako/mascots/Drako_Swiftclaw.html
                  Random: http://jmachere.tripod.com/drako/about/random_art.html
Drako's General Photos: http://jmachere.tripod.com/drako/about/photos.html
                        Random: http://jmachere.tripod.com/drako/about/random_photos.html
Drako's Website Services: http://dws.2fortune.com/
Drako's Playground: http://tiny.cc/drako
Drako's Wireless Review: http://dwr.shorturl.com/

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