Eliminating self checkout at my closest market??

The Albertson’s market that is basically around the corner had been having more than normal trouble with their 4 self checkout lanes for some time, shut them down last week, and has now replaced them with standard checkouts. But… doesn’t seem to have added any more checkers than they had before. Today I waited 10 minutes in line when I usually have zero to a couple of minutes wait at a self checkout. I know that those of you in more urban areas willl laugh at this, but it’s MY 10 minutes.

Does anyone have any solid intel on why a market would get rid of self checkouts?

Given the number of times someone has to come over and resolve what is likely a software issue I’m thinking the cost of that tech support might be behind this, but have no way of knowing for sure. The checker I asked today said it was because people “prefer full service”. I kinda doubt that.


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People do prefer full service when the self checkout lines are messed up.

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My intel is anything but solid, but the preference for full service may indeed be the reason. The CVS nearest me installed self-checkout, watched everyone hate on it for a few months, and uninstalled it. But there are many more branches that kept self-checkout, so I think it may be up to the individual stores. I live in a neighborhood with a lot of elderly people and SNAP recipients - it’s possible both groups had trouble with self-checkout, for different reasons.

Sure. But I shop at that market 3 times a week and the self checkouts seemed to work just fine until the past few months. Could be that the new CA plastic bag law added just one too many ‘options’ for the software to deal with. Probably requires a major code re-write they don’t want to do.

If they had an effective way of having enough checkers it’d be OK. So far not happening. :o((

When a local supermarket installed self check out, I mentioned to a cashier, the self check out would eliminate her job, she replied, there was nothing she could do, there was a 2-yr contract.

The self serve area was removed after about 2 years.

Perhaps, the self serve stations are not performing as well as people?

I’m fine without self checkout. I sometimes get held up there due to software glitches. My issue is wait time. Getting rid of self checkouts but not having enough checkers to keep the wait around the same is what I’m taking issue with.

I’ve been in retail most of my life and understand the cost of staffing. My ‘worry’ here is that I’m going to wind up waiting longer and more often. We’ll see.

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I doubt that, too. It’s too complicated at this point is the problem. I think the technology needs to catch up. Just let me scan and pay without a million buttons and a a robot kindly yelling at me to do things I’m already doing, thank you.

Yup. The first thing it asks me is if I’m using my own bag. Even if I touch the YES button it usually asks me if I want to buy a bag again towards the end. I think the majority of the issues may be with the sensors in the bagging process. The bag thing seems to have pushed this over the edge.

Maybe this will eliminate the self checkout and most employees. Gone are the days where stores actually have employees around to answer questions, let alone knowledgeable employees.

Didn’t Tesco try that with Fresh & Easy?? Failed miserably but mostly I think because of limited selection. The one nearest me was in a very large 55+ community (more like 70+) and the lack of full service + dependence on some level of tech comfort seemed very risky to say the least.

I was joking mostly. I don’t know. Did you notice they are only eliminating the self check at this Albertson’s or ALL Albertson’s?

If it is just this Albertson, then it must be something specific… more specific than the plastic bag law…

I only have one Albertson’s in my area, but I found this:


They say it’s to provide better one-on-one service. I’m not buying that but both my nearby Ralph’s stores still have them … for now.

Interesting. Maybe the plastic law thing, or it could be some security issues…

A few years ago, my Costco (in Maplewood, MN, a suburb with a heavy elderly population’ installed 4 self service checkouts. They lasted about a year. I liked them because they weren’t heavily used and could be used as an “express” checkout for those of us with just a few items. Unfortunately, one of those items was a 24 pack of Mexican Coca Cola in glass bottles in a cardboard flat, bound together with shrinkrap. Hoisting that out of the cart and tilting it on it’s side to scan it was no easy task. After one time when the shrinkrap broke, sending several bottles crashing to the ground, I gave up and started hitting the “help” button to get an employee to come over and scan the cola in the cart. Most of the time, I didn’t even have to do that; the employee manning the self checkout would come over to me and scan the cola before I even had a chance to signal for help.
The self checkout model just didn’t work in a store that sold a preponderance of large bulky items.
But that wasn’t the only problem. People don’t read. Almost every time I was there there was someone who ignored the large signs telling them there was no cash options and that only AMEX Cards could be used at the self checkouts. And then they would bitch at the employee who was directing them to a cashier.
When I asked an employee why the self checkouts were gone, his answer was that they were more trouble than they were worth. I think he hit the nail on the head.
PS. My SupertTarget has installed several (heavily used) self checkouts right next to the express checkout lanes. Unfortunately, they have chosen to not open any express lanes most of the time. As I told the manager I hunted down to voice my displeasure with this decision, “if I wanted to have to do cashier work, I’d get a job as a cashier”
Now get off my lawn!

Our “around the corner” store is a Vons. In the past two years, they seem to have severely reduced the number of checkers working at any given time.

Then, a couple months ago, they put up a bunch of signs (on the doors and above the check out aisles) about a “Three’s a Crowd” policy (I think they call it something different, though) and how they’ll open a new lane whenever there are more than three customers in line.

It’s now become a repeated discussion, amongst those of us in a six-person-deep line and there not being any new lanes opened, that the signs make us more angry and frustrated than if they weren’t there.

Unfortunately, a lot of people take out their frustration on the checkers.

The store does have six self-checkouts which are great - when they’re working. But far too often there are glitches, plus customers not understanding how it works (even jostling the bag on the scale, after you’ve scanned an item, is enough to lock up the machine). And…one employee is assigned to oversee those six registers, plus they’re also working customer service, lottery sales, Western Union, and often grabbing the phone.

In short, we have switched to another store for our major shopping. Which is sad because A) they’re literally up the street and B) I like the staff at the store - but they’re being screwed by management.

Letters and emails to the head office and regional have received form letters in response.

I’m sure I sound like a cranky old geezer on this, but I’ll have to decide between this Albertson’s (3 minutes from my house) and the Ralph’s that is maybe 6-8 minutes depending on how the traffic lights go. Sounds dumb, I guess, but I pop in for just a few things and the self self checkout was a timesaver. The idea that a regular line could range from a couple minutes to lots longer is just a real annoyance. Some shoppers have huge carts jammed full and the store doesn’t seem to have checkers who can be called to help. Maybe they’re waiting to see how things go without the self checkouts. I’ve been shopping at that store for a total of 23 years, so it’s extra annoying.

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Always find it interesting that everyone has an opinion on self checkout. I loved them in the beginning because people were afraid to use them. I still prefer self checkout because I get tired of asking cashiers not to slam a gallon of milk on my tortilla chips. (I mean, I even organize the items on the conveyor belt, light, medium, heavy, and cold items separate, but still.) Recently I find myself going through cashier lanes 50 percent of the time because self checkout is often backed up. If I recognize a good cashier, it can be faster. In New York City, I’m always amazed at how fast and careful the cashiers are. Whenever friends from NYC are over, the cashiers here drive them nuts. (You know, everything is better in NYC, cashiers, pizza, water, babies are cuter, etc.)

See: Home Depot and Lowes.

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When the predominant (at the time) supermarket chain in the Chicago area got rid of all their self checkouts they said the primary reason was loss prevention, people were using the self checkout kiosks to steal items by only pretending to scan them. There were also complaints that the kiosks were eliminating jobs, which I’m sure played in to the decision as well. I kind of miss them, they made it much quicker to get in and out when I just had a few items to pick up.

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Theft was what our local Costcos said was their reason when they eliminated a self-checkout lane years ago. That’s especially
Interesting considering their policy of checking the receipt of every customer leaving the store.

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