Self checkouts - Pro or Con?

drummerboy

Shop-rite (at least the 3 around here that I go to) has recently expanded their self checkout areas.

What do people think of them?

Personally, while I'm kind of sympathetic to the argument that it will eventually put people out of work, I do use them almost all of the time I shop. Mostly because the checkout people don't do a good job of packing the single shopping bag that I usually shop with.

While convenient, the self checkouts are still kind of annoying. I rarely avoid needing an intervention or two to keep the checkout going. At first I thought the stores were going overboard in their anti-shoplifting measures, but I recently read an article where I learned that pilferage is a lot higher than I would have guessed, so I can't blame them too much anymore.

Anyway - thoughts?


yahooyahoo

Self-checkout is a plus.

I wish gas stations had self-checkout. The full service mandate for gas stations is the dumbest law in NJ.


Smedley

I think self-checkouts are good supplements to human-staffed registers, for customers with not many items. I generally have had no problem using them.

What does annoy me is when a store doesn’t have enough manned registers open and there are lines at self-checkout including customers with a lot of items, which I don’t think self-checkouts are meant for. I have found this sometimes at Target in Union and to a lesser extent, Stop &Shop on Valley. 

If a store is gonna put me to work, it’s gotta be quick and easy.


drummerboy

yahooyahoo said:

Self-checkout is a plus.

I wish gas stations had self-checkout. The full service mandate for gas stations is the dumbest law in NJ.

oy. gas stations are a whole other thread.

and actually it's the dumbest law in the country. I think we're the only state left that mandates it.

eta: nope. Oregon is still holding out too.


jmitw

My mother taught be how to bag groceries when i was 5.  Many cashiers don't have a clue about placing perishables together.....I also like to try to bag by storage locations (freezer/fridge/pantry/wall cabinet, etc.....  I am disabled, it is easier for  me to do a few small shopping trips rather than a large trip....so I usually don't have a large order and can easily use self checkout.

I also hate it when cashier lick their fingers to open a bag or otherwise do something unsanitary.....


I think Target needs a cashier if you have a coupon...and they are often busy elsewhere.  Target will also price match their online price.  the other day I was buying something that was about 3.50 less online...so I went to a regular check out...lucked out as it turned into a training opportunity..it was a new cashier with a trainer...


The walmart in Union took out most of the regular check outs and added more self checkouts.


One of the biggest plus points of self check out is speed...and when there are 4+ self check outs and 1 line....if a person take as long time, you aren't stuck standing behind them in a regular line as one of the other registers will open up.


drummerboy

jmitw said:

My mother taught be how to bag groceries when i was 5.  Many cashiers don't have a clue about placing perishables together.....I also like to try to bag by storage locations (freezer/fridge/pantry/wall cabinet, etc.....  I am disabled, it is easier for  me to do a few small shopping trips rather than a large trip....so I usually don't have a large order and can easily use self checkout.

I also hate it when cashier lick their fingers to open a bag or otherwise do something unsanitary.....

I think Target needs a cashier if you have a coupon...and they are often busy elsewhere.  Target will also price match their online price.  the other day I was buying something that was about 3.50 less online...so I went to a regular check out...lucked out as it turned into a training opportunity..it was a new cashier with a trainer...

The walmart in Union took out most of the regular check outs and added more self checkouts.

One of the biggest plus points of self check out is speed...and when there are 4+ self check outs and 1 line....if a person take as long time, you aren't stuck standing behind them in a regular line as one of the other registers will open up.

 yeah, I rarely shop for more than what fits in my Trader Joe's kinda large shopping bag. And I can get twice as much in there as the average checker. Sometimes they won't even offer to pack it - they just leave it to me, like it's some foreign object they've never seen before. I also try to organize based on where it will end up in the kitchen.

And yeah again, speed is a huge factor for me too. I hate standing on any kind of line, and there is never a line for the ShopRite self checkouts. That may be the biggest factor, actually. You can always zoom right out of there.


DaveSchmidt

Did you bring your own bag? 

Place your bag in the bagging area. 

Please wait. Someone will be with you shortly to help.

Start scanning your items.

Please wait. Someone will be with you shortly to help.

How would you like to pay?

Please wait. Someone will be with you shortly to help.



In a regular checkout line, there’s always the chance for an impromptu exchange of friendly small talk with the cashier, the shopper behind you, or both. I prefer that.


joanne

I’d rather keep a person in a job, plus I have issues with making tech work for me (due to the brain injury). D packs, and then loads the trolley; I keep the lists and handle the $$$. OTOH, we’re good about reporting breakages, out of date stock, stuff left of the fridge/freezer or placed into the freezer when it shouldn’t have been. 
And I make a point of thanking random staff for their work as we walk around. Today it was the woman carefully restocking all the eggs; people had the nerve to swap eggs from one carton to another in front of her after she’d completed a fridge bay. I could see she was furious but couldn’t say anything. (She was trying to finish up before going home) It’s nice to feel your work is noticed; shelf stackers are taken for granted.


joan_crystal

I bring my own bags and do my own bagging.  I do not like self check out for a number of reasons, from saving check out clerk jobs to preferring not to use a credit card at the supermarket. 


ml1

I generally prefer the self-checkout if I don't have a lot of items.

I wonder if back in the day people complained about having to push the buttons on an elevator themselves, and pined for small talk with the elevator operators?

I don't think self-checkout lines should be putting people out of work.  Using Target in Vauxhall as an example, that's a store that could definitely use a lot more staff out on the floor straightening up the displays, and keeping the aisles clean.  That's the thing about technology is that in a perfect world it should be used to free workers from repetitive low-skill jobs so that they can perform higher level customer service roles.  Unfortunately most employers probably don't look at it that way.  If they can still bring in the same revenue with a kiosk instead of a cashier why do they need to bring more people on to keep the aisles neat and the bathrooms clean?


joanne

Robots can stack shelves ans sweep floors.


ml1

joanne said:

Robots can stack shelves ans sweep floors.

 You've probably not been to the Vauxhaul Target on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.  Robots are not yet ready to deal with the retail carnage there.


DaveSchmidt

ml1 said:

and pined for small talk with the elevator operators?

Probably not. Small talk, smiles and other nonintrusive but sociable forms of human contact remain possible with elevator passengers.


ml1

DaveSchmidt said:

Probably not. Small talk, smiles and other nonintrusive but sociable forms of human contact remain possible with elevator passengers.

 or with the people next to you in the self checkout line. 


DaveSchmidt

ml1 said: 

or with the people next to you in the self checkout line. 

Naw. The kiosks encourage separate activity and require eyes on the screen. (Occasionally, my Please Wait may serendipitously sync up with a neighbor’s Please Wait, allowing us to disengage from the automation at the same time, but in that situation neither of us is really in the mood.) 

I’ve had some pleasant interactions while waiting in self-checkout lines, though.


metaphysician

ml1 said:

joanne said:

Robots can stack shelves ans sweep floors.

 You've probably not been to the Vauxhaul Target on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.  Robots are not yet ready to deal with the retail carnage there.


I'm thinkin' that Qantas would have to run a $1 sale on airline tickets to make it worthwhile for Joanne to shop at the Vauxhall Target.  cheese


jamie

I love the checkout gun at Stop & Shop - I would really hate to lose that one.  The cleanup bot is extremely annoying.


The_Soulful_Mr_T

I try not to use the self check out for the principal reason that I don't want to contribute to the loss of cashier jobs. Plus I like the personal interaction. I always bring and pack my own bags so that's not the issue. 


DaveSchmidt

DaveSchmidt said:

ml1 said:

and pined for small talk with the elevator operators?

Probably not. Small talk, smiles and other nonintrusive but sociable forms of human contact remain possible with elevator passengers.

On second thought, who knows what passengers would have pined for if elevators kept lurching to a halt between floors and they were told through the intercom: “Please wait. Someone will be with you shortly to help.”

jamie said:

The cleanup bot is extremely annoying.

Absolutely.


drummerboy

For those of us tending towards the misanthropic end of the bell curve, we welcome the replacement of humans with machines.  surprised


mrincredible

Yes I'm happy to do self checkout when I have a small order. 

I'm not sure how many jobs it affects. I wouldn't dream of self checkout on my semi-weekly big shopping trips. But for the midweek milk and egg run? It seems more efficient.

Long ago someone here posted that they worked in a Target. They were part of the team that was supposed to keep things clean and well stocked. But they would frequently get called up to work a register. And have to leave things a mess.

To me it's part of our society demanding more crap for less money. It leaves the retailers constantly looking for ways to pare another layer off the operating budget onion.


joanne

Great exchange above, friends! cheese I’m sorry I had to sleep a bit! 
I’ve had the opportunity to sit on a consumer focus group for two of our local supermarkets (same chain), so it’s interesting to see how management responds to shoppers’ feedback.

We’ve had more Express queues installed, and they made the number of items a little bigger so it’s easier for older/disabled people to go through. (Fifteen items now, not 12)

There’s always a long queue waiting for self-serve; it’s often faster to go through the staffed checkout especially if you’ve got a full week’s shop for a family of 4 or 5. They’ll whisk you through in a couple of minutes, including donations & rewards. Self-serve stuffing about seems to take twice as long as people juggle packages, bags, trolleys, wait for the scanner to catch up, fiddle with cards, get help.

I’ve noticed more staff filling online orders when they’re not at the registers. So it’s still customer service, just a different style. That’s a whole new question: ordering online, then driving to in to collect. Would you trust someone else to select your fresh goods? (I know people who wouldn’t) over 45years ago, Mum would ring her order through to our grocer and he’d deliver, or my sister would collect it on her way home from school.


joanne

As a result of this discussion, D and I have decided to trial a new way to shop, next week. We’ll take a smaller trolley for our bags, a larger one for the full bags as we make our way through the various shops. (Generally Woolworths/Safeway, greengrocer, bakery, Japanese, pharmacy, Aldi) If we’re more organised, we’ll be more efficient and he’ll be less tired. cheese 

He said he likes the self-serves. He prefers to use them when shops alone for his stuff while I work. I suspect that’s because no-one notices it’s all junk food/sugary snacks. cheesecheese


sprout

Smedley said:

What does annoy me is when a store doesn’t have enough manned registers open and there are lines at self-checkout including customers with a lot of items, which I don’t think self-checkouts are meant for. I have found this sometimes at Target in Union and to a lesser extent, Stop &Shop on Valley. 

I've used the hand-held scanner at Stop & Shop that you take with you and scan as you go through, and pack into your own bags (my daughter enjoys doing the scanning, and I like having my bags packed in my particular way). In the beginning, people thought I was trying to do the self-checkout with a large cart full of items. But just the scanner is scanned (except for those times I was selected for a random check of 7(?) items).


sac

sprout said:

Smedley said:

What does annoy me is when a store doesn’t have enough manned registers open and there are lines at self-checkout including customers with a lot of items, which I don’t think self-checkouts are meant for. I have found this sometimes at Target in Union and to a lesser extent, Stop &Shop on Valley. 

I've used the hand-held scanner at Stop & Shop that you take with you and scan as you go through, and pack into your own bags (my daughter enjoys doing the scanning, and I like having my bags packed in my particular way). In the beginning, people thought I was trying to do the self-checkout with a large cart full of items. But just the scanner is scanned (except for those times I was selected for a random check of 7(?) items).

 I love this combo! I wish all stores would have the self-scanners!  At times I also wish that S&S would reserve one or two of the self-checkout lines for self-scan users - at least if any are present and waiting. It’s much quicker than “10 items or less” or whatever and might encourage more people to take advantage of those self-scanners. I’m amazed at how few people use them.


drummerboy

sac said:

sprout said:

Smedley said:

What does annoy me is when a store doesn’t have enough manned registers open and there are lines at self-checkout including customers with a lot of items, which I don’t think self-checkouts are meant for. I have found this sometimes at Target in Union and to a lesser extent, Stop &Shop on Valley. 

I've used the hand-held scanner at Stop & Shop that you take with you and scan as you go through, and pack into your own bags (my daughter enjoys doing the scanning, and I like having my bags packed in my particular way). In the beginning, people thought I was trying to do the self-checkout with a large cart full of items. But just the scanner is scanned (except for those times I was selected for a random check of 7(?) items).

 I love this combo! I wish all stores would have the self-scanners!  At times I also wish that S&S would reserve one or two of the self-checkout lines for self-scan users - at least if any are present and waiting. It’s much quicker than “10 items or less” or whatever and might encourage more people to take advantage of those self-scanners. I’m amazed at how few people use them.

 how do the hand held scanners work for produce and loose bakery items that have no bar codes?


jmitw

i used to use the scan and go.....until i was randomly selected 3x in a row for a random check, and the worker screwed up the re scan...scanning an item 2x.....


krnl

We would love to use the hand held scanners, but when we tried shortly after S&S introduced them the scanner would not accept our S&S tag. Customer Service was no help with this issue.  I bet many others had this same issue and that's why do few customers use this service.


mrincredible

krnl said:

We would love to use the hand held scanners, but when we tried shortly after S&S introduced them the scanner would not accept our S&S tag. Customer Service was no help with this issue.  I bet many others had this same issue and that's why do few customers use this service.

 I believe you need to take your card to customer service to have it validated to use the scanner. I've never done this, but perhaps I should try it. 


Jackson_Fusion

It’s likely that self-checkout is a brief, intermediate step we’ll go through before we go fully checkout free. Amazon is rolling their service out and there are others also trying to get there first.

I understand the concern for people’s employment, but those jobs are already gone. Better that they start in another role rather than waste valuable years on a skill that will be unneeded.

Most low skill jobs are going away. We can try to keep them in an uneconomical way, but history tells you those efforts are futile and broadly harmful.



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