Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Checking Out at the Grocery Store


Recommended Posts

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/10/business/self-checkouts-vs-humans.html

 

Quote

Booths, a small chain that has sold groceries in northern England since 1847 ...... announced this week that it will be getting rid of the self-checkouts in all but two of its 28 stores. They’re bucking a trend that has remade retail shopping around the world over the last 20 years.

 

Edited by Smithy
Adjusted title for broadened topic (log)
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Business are for profit.

 

initially it seemed self check out was a less expensive option

 

not requiring a human's expense .

 

sometimes this works out well

 

and other times it does not .

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a smallish Walmart on the outskirts of our village.  It is popular with the Mexicans as well as expats.

 

Not a WM fan, but they carry a few things I can't get anywhere else, so I stop there 2 or 3 times a year. 

 

I happened to stop in earlier this week. I grabbed what I needed and headed to checkout.  

 

The self-checkout line was small and moving fast (has apprx. 10-12 stations within it).  The 2 'human' checkout aisles ran to almost the back of the store.

 

I was the only non-Mexican in the self check-out line. The 'human' lines were at least 70% expats as best I could gauge.

 

Not sure why.  Maybe because a lot of the old retirees are, well, very old and want help with bagging??  Maybe some are lonely and want to have some human contact??  

 

Most of the Mexicans in my self-check out line were young, mostly Moms with a kid or two in tow (it was siesta, when schools close for 90 minutes) and likely in a rush.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't like them.  I go into Walmart a couple of times a year, in my case it's a Supercentre.  They started with just a few self check-outs which wasn't too bad.  Now it's the other way around - only a few cashiers and a LOT of self-check outs.  If that isn't bad enough, there is no entrance to the self-check-out.  You have to walk past the self check-outs and the cashiers, and then turn and came back the way you came to gain entry.  I no longer go there.  

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One supermarket here trialled four self-checkout checkouts. Didn't save them a penny in staff costs as they had to employ more staff to help customers navigate the idiotic system. They were abandoned after about six months and the supermarket closed for good one month later.

  • Like 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wegman's and Giant have good systems.  I'll go self check out every time, mostly because the lines are usually non-existent. They'll have three times the number of self check-outs as manned ones.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like self check-outs.  There are 6 in the smallish Safeway near me and 6 in the Costco I go to.  The only problem is that you cannot use them if you’re buying liquor, but when I only have a few items, it’s much faster.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll use whatever is the fastest. If a cashier is available that would be my first choice.

I like the policy at my local No Frills in that the self checkouts are only available to patrons with hand baskets rather than a cart which results to 8 express lines.

 

Edited by Senior Sea Kayaker (log)
  • Like 4

'A drink to the livin', a toast to the dead' Gordon Lightfoot

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Maison Rustique said:

I have a number of friends who work as checkers in grocery stores. I refuse to use self check-out in order that they might keep their jobs.

Nice sentiment but what I see here at my Ralphs Kroger is 7 standard check out lanes. MAYBE one open. Usually they open one register, no light on, unstaffed unless you specifically ask manager. They say "talk to HQ - we have no say".  There are 4 poorly designed self checks. They plan re-design and adding more to make the space more user friendly. The retail clerks union is very strong and we've had out share of lengthy nasty strikes.

Edited by heidih (log)
  • Like 1
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like when there’s an orderly queue for the self checkouts so you don’t get stuck behind a clueless customer *

Target has one line for 6 or 8 self-checkouts, usually with a staff member to point out available spots or assist with problems. Very nice. 
My local Walmart converted regular lanes to self-checkouts so it’s one line each and you can easily get stuck. Not nice.

 

* that would be me, the day my credit card was refused (it had been compromised, but I was unaware at the time) and I had to rummage through my purse for cash….including coins…and figure out where the heck to insert them.  I felt like such a dope - hey lady, you’re at the grocery store, is it a big shock you need to pay!

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, blue_dolphin said:

hey lady, you’re at the grocery store, is it a big shock you need to pay!

 

How many times have I said this myself?

😉

  • Haha 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was exposé in the paper recently about a woman who was on the city council in Portland who reportedly repeatedly stole merchandise at Walmart using the self checkout.

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I only use the self check-outs when the regular lines are abysmally long and I only have a few items. I enjoy a quick chat with the many cashiers that I have known for years and want to help them keep their jobs.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to share this image of the front page of a British "newspaper" yesterday. The Star is the dregs of journalism and makes the National Enquirer looks almost intellectual! Celebrity trivia, fake news, hysterical nonsense and reportage that seems to think that soap operas are real life documentaries and regularly publish their plot twists as breaking news. You know the sort of thing.

 

But this amused me.

 

psycho.thumb.png.e60722a6648e96ef2532f6493acc3765.png

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 1
  • Haha 5

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took my MIL to a small grocery shop near her home.  They were forcing everyone to go to self check out.  I begged for the cashier to take her.  It is far too confusing for my MIL.  The cashier assured my MIL she can do it, and the cashier would show her.  My MIL is 90, with arthritis, poor eyesight and no patience.  I predicted disaster and yes it was. We don't shop there anymore.  

 

I work for a small grocery chain and am thankful they have not brought in any self checkouts.  Every week we get a summary of customer comments and there are a lot of people that say thank you for not getting into the self checkouts.

 

 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Beth Wilson said:

I took my MIL to a small grocery shop near her home.  They were forcing everyone to go to self check out.  I begged for the cashier to take her.  It is far too confusing for my MIL.  The cashier assured my MIL she can do it, and the cashier would show her.  My MIL is 90, with arthritis, poor eyesight and no patience.  I predicted disaster and yes it was. We don't shop there anymore.  

 

I work for a small grocery chain and am thankful they have not brought in any self checkouts.  Every week we get a summary of customer comments and there are a lot of people that say thank you for not getting into the self checkouts.

 

 

 

One of the reasons I shop at Farm Boy.   No self checkouts.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband dislikes them. He always says he wants to go to the regular checkout lanes "to make sure a human has a job." I, however, prefer the self checkout system because I understand it and it takes less time. Until it became so popular it always meant a quick process. Unfortunately there will usually be something that doesn't scan properly and requires human intervention, but the employees who monitor the area are always cheerful and helpful. I always thank them for their help as I'm leaving. Most people don't, I've noticed.

  • Like 1

Formerly "Nancy in CO"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/10/2023 at 9:57 PM, rotuts said:

Business are for profit.

 

initially it seemed self check out was a less expensive option

 

not requiring a human's expense .

 

sometimes this works out well

 

and other times it does not .

Very much this. While booths have decided it doesn't work for them this is possibly due to their customer  demographic. The stores are usually in fairly affluent but rural areas. last time I went in booths (though admittedly about ten years ago) it was a high end supermarket which specialises is locally produced and artisan food, a dream supermarket for many egulleters but with the high price tag to go with it. So their customers tended to be either financially well off or the elderly who would rather pay the high prices than have to get the bus to the next town. Both of who may have preferred the customer experience of serviced tills where they might even pack your bags for you too. 

 

Most of the other supermarkets here have a mixture of self service and normal tills and after the years of teething and both companies and customers learning how best to use the self service I really cannot see self service going away. The majority of customers here want to get through the checkout as quickly as possible and it is rare these days to see more than one trolly queued in front of you (unless it's Aldi where we tend to form one queue for all the tills), so the option works well.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I have only a few items and the self-checkout line is short, I'll kowtow to the pressure and take that line. With only one exception I know of, the darned voice is SO slow and allows no shortcutting. I can't scan a single can and say "I have 5 of these;" instead, I have to scan each one individually and place it in the bagging area as the voice tells me, slowly and distinctly and in complete sentences, to do so. Very irritating. By the time I've paid and listened to the slow, polite voice say "Thank...you...for...shopping...at... xxx. Please...take...your...receipt," I'm usually snarling. So no, I won't use those unless I have to and have fewer than 5 items.

 

The other day, after a marathon shopping expedition, there was no way I was going to scan and bag all this by hand.

 

20231115_133121-1.jpg

 

Cell phone, puzzles and email are a wonderful way to pass the time while waiting!

 

On the other hand, I did run across a new-to-me system that seemed to work well for only a few items in a convenience store.

 

20231111_123545-1.jpg

  • Like 8

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Smithy said:

the darned voice is SO slow and allows no shortcutting

I don’t think I’ve encountered one that speaks. That would be annoying.
There have been improvements. Most, if not all the ones I’ve used have quit their anal obsession with using weight to verify that each item has been placed in the bagging area. I bought six of the same item the other day and couldn’t enter that but was able to quickly scan one of them 6 times. 
Quite a few stores have hand-held scanners that can easily be used to scan stuff without even taking it out of the cart. 
Weighing produce is still slow, though more and more items have a scannable tag. 
 

19 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

20231115_133121-1.jpg

 

I’m guessing that was not in California, where those disposable bags are banned at grocery stores. They are not available at the self-checkouts but the stupid thing still requires me to tell it that I used zero of them before I can pay!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

I’m guessing that was not in California, where those disposable bags are banned at grocery stores. They are not available at the self-checkouts but the stupid thing still requires me to tell it that I used zero of them before I can pay!

 

Yes...the same is true in Duluth, where you also have to pay for bags, or tell it that you didn't use any, even if there are none nearby. This cart was in Arizona. We have reusable bags but I forgot to bring them in and probably wouldn't have had enough anyway. It's a struggle to use reusable bags at any Walmart we've encountered, because of their rotary bag turntables, but the grocers will usually accommodate us.

  • Like 3

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

Yes...the same is true in Duluth, where you also have to pay for bags, or tell it that you didn't use any, even if there are none nearby. This cart was in Arizona. We have reusable bags but I forgot to bring them in and probably wouldn't have had enough anyway. It's a struggle to use reusable bags at any Walmart we've encountered, because of their rotary bag turntables, but the grocers will usually accommodate us.

I keep a few Rubbermaid totes in the trunk of my car, put them in my cart and just toss the items in as I scan them. 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My store (which I use exclusively because it's very nearby) doesn't use self checkouts for which I'm grateful.  I think it's mainly to keep the store friendly and neighborly, a big Montana thing.  People here are very kind and amiable.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...