The editor over at the Progress Index (Petersburg, VA) has some interesting observations about the volume of the tone of grocery store scanners. I've experienced what he's talking about, specifically at the local WalMart, but he's gone as far as to log the conversation between another customer and the cashier swiping the UPC codes on the items:
Shopper: "Wow. That is one loud beep. Does it bother you?"
Cashier: "Hmmm. Not really. I didn't even notice it."
Shopper: "You must be kidding. I jump every time I hear it. I would have nightmares about that if I worked here, not to mention migraine headaches and severe hearing loss."
Cashier: "Now that you mention it, yes, I do dream about it. I have nightmares about it."
Shopper: "Is it disturbing?"
Cashier: "Yes. Quite."
Shopper: "Can you turn it down."
Cashier: "Yes, there is a button right down here..."
I think this is a bit over the top, given the proliferation of barcode scanners, and the amount of money its saved us over the last decade or so. Remember the old days before the barcode scanner, when the cashier had to ring up the amount? Ever get tired waiting for her to finish? Ever wonder how many mistakes she made...in the company's favor? I don't think the volume of a barcode reader's verifcation signal outweighs the benefits we're reaping....but....
I didn't know the operator could control the volume.