I had an interesting experience in taking my daughter to a little video arcade recently (in a mall). For the first time ever, I was patroning a completely automated arcade. I was fascinated at the idea. There was not an employee/associate in the entire place.

Like many arcades, it had a currency system by which players of the games earn tickets that they could trade in later for prizes. However when we desired to do just that, the prizes were kept in a sorta vending machine, at which we would enter the tickets in a slot and then key in the prize slot ID we desired (ya know …. like a vending machine).

I appreciated the efficiency of it. Perfect minimization. As much as I am a proponent of human interaction/connection, I appreciated the efficiency of this system. It never occurred to me before, but an arcade is the perfect “walk-in” business to be neigh staff-less. All that is required is an owner to come in after close, clean up, maintain, collect the profits, do the books, ……… and that’s about it. On occasion he may need to call a technician to fix a machine or two.

……… Then something happened. Two things actually. First, my daughter won 100 TICKETS playing one of the games, but before the game dispensed said tickets, it froze. We were stiffed. THEN later, when we went to the prize machine to cash in all the tickets she earned, the machines mechanics stalled, thus robbing her of the prize. Of course those tickets/points were still deducted from her total anyway …….. stiffed again. And remember, there are NO EMPLOYEES, so there was no-one we could even go to about these issues. I suppose we could have complained at the mall front desk and eventually got redemption if we pushed the matter, but it’s just not worth it.

So it is, that even in a seemingly clear case of “perfect full automation”, human interaction is required. In this day and age, we still need at least one human person there supervising an arcade to help customers.

And you know what ………..I appreciate that too.