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Self Checkout at Costco.

Davwud Nov 23, 2009 04:46 AM

Hey Hounds.

So my local Costco (Green Lane, Newmarket, Ontario) has instituted self check out lines. So far so good. They weren't long lines and thankfully the only people using them had limited items so they almost worked like express lines.

Anyone else have self check out at their Costco??


  1. c
    cstr Nov 23, 2009 06:23 AM

    Have had them for for about a year, excellent and quick.

    1. c
      chez cherie Nov 23, 2009 08:10 AM

      this would seriously change my life in magical ways. c'mon, costco southern CA, let's do this!!!

      4 Replies
      1. re: chez cherie
        justanotherpenguin Nov 23, 2009 12:35 PM

        i have had the clerks at two southern cal stores complain that these are coming soon. i can't wait. i spend a lot of time at home depot and lowe's and LOVE self check-out. btw, the ralphs and albertsons in la crescenta both have them.

        1. re: justanotherpenguin
          roro1831 Nov 23, 2009 12:40 PM

          Why were they complaining? Fearing for their jobs? they have nothing to worry about, a majority of people don't use them.

          1. re: roro1831
            justanotherpenguin Nov 24, 2009 05:45 AM

            fearing for their jobs.

            when i first started using the self check-out at a home depot several years ago, hardly anyone used them. i have now gone into home depots where the only open registers are the 2-4-6-8 self with only one worker monitoring them. after a while people do learn to use them and the stores generally put their best personnel in the monitoring positions. so the fear is legitimate.

        2. re: chez cherie
          TomSwift Nov 23, 2009 01:27 PM

          The Costco in Canoga Park has them.

        3. r
          roro1831 Nov 23, 2009 10:12 AM

          Many stores have self checkout around me, I use them rarely as it never works properly and it always has to have a representative come by and see what the problem is. It makes me more frustrated when I use the self checkout and it doesn't go smoothly.

          1. t
            thrackle Nov 23, 2009 12:21 PM

            Yeah, we've had 'em for a year here in Austin.

            The only thing I don't like about the setup is that there's an enforced delay between scanning items (so that only one item is on the loonnnng conveyor belt at a time); you can't do rapid-fire scanning the same way a checkout clerk can, so it ends up being slower when you have a lot of items, even if the lines are shorter.

            1 Reply
            1. re: thrackle
              roro1831 Nov 23, 2009 12:30 PM

              Exactly, but I do like it when it tells you to place your melons on the scale.

            2. m
              Missyme Nov 28, 2009 02:28 PM

              If I check myself out, I expect a discount. After all, part of the price of the products I buy goes to salaries of the people who work at the store. Why should I pay that extra if I'm doing the work myself?

              Seriously, I have not found any advantage to the self checkout at my local supermarket. The lines are slower, people don't know what they're doing, and everyone is frustrated by the lack of help when things don't work right. Besides, in today's economy, I want to see more people working, not less.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Missyme
                coney with everything Nov 30, 2009 04:21 AM

                Agree, Missyme. The grocery store by me has the absolute worst self checkout ever--slow, requires too much attendant intervention, and doesn't like bags that I bring in. There are some stores that seem to have better equipment, but in general unless there's a million people in line, I'll go to a person.

                1. re: coney with everything
                  southernitalian Dec 2, 2009 05:14 AM

                  I hate them too and only use them if i don't have to deal with the nightmare of looking up produce SKUs.

                2. re: Missyme
                  rednails Nov 17, 2010 12:55 PM

                  +1 on your first paragraph

                  I'll always choose a clerk over self-check out. I'd rather keep people employed, especially if they're not discounting anything.

                  1. re: Missyme
                    ratbuddy Nov 17, 2010 10:27 PM

                    At my local Stop and Shop, the self checkout lines are almost always totally empty, and the cashiered lines have a bunch of twits - twits who will sit there waiting for the cashier to bag their groceries after they're all rung up rather than doing it themselves while the cashier is scanning items. For me, it's a no-brainer. Self checkout means I get out much faster and don't have to wait for some inconsiderate jerk.

                    1. re: Missyme
                      Jetgirly Nov 20, 2010 03:22 PM

                      Is it not possible that the same number of people are working (and thus salaries are the same), they are now just able to use their time in other ways to improve your experience as a customer?

                    2. m
                      Mag454 Nov 29, 2009 06:53 PM

                      Kauai is basically the last place to do everything so I don't expect self check out anytime soon but we do have quick check out (I forget what they call it). While you wait in line an associate comes by and scans your card and items. When you get to the cashier they scan your card and you pay. Maybe this is old technology elsewhere, but I love it!

                      And I LOVE self checkout. I think it goes back to my childhood dreams of being a cashier.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Mag454
                        Davwud Nov 30, 2009 06:06 AM

                        They've done that here.


                        1. re: Davwud
                          Stephanie Wong Dec 1, 2009 09:41 PM

                          Where's "here"?

                          1. re: Stephanie Wong
                            Davwud Dec 2, 2009 05:10 AM

                            Toronto area.


                      2. drewskiSF Jan 2, 2010 07:40 PM

                        I haven't seen it in any of the Costcos in the SF Bay Area that I've been to recently. I always use it in the supermakets where available. Even if I need a CSR interverntion now and then, it's much faster than even the Express lane. YMMV of course.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: drewskiSF
                          Ruth Lafler Nov 16, 2010 09:35 AM

                          I haven't seen it in the SFBay area either, but I'd love to. At least one of my "regular" stores has the quick check Mag454 described, which does help make the lines move more quickly.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                            keyroute Nov 17, 2010 08:45 AM

                            It's (almost) in the hinterlands, but the Livermore Costco has had self-checkout for at least a year now.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                              drewskiSF Dec 19, 2010 08:36 AM

                              I've seen the quick check done at the Oakland / San Leandro location, but it doesn't seem to be consistent visit to visit.

                          2. justanotherpenguin Nov 16, 2010 07:37 AM

                            just wondering if the practice is spreading. just got back from boston and their store has them. so far in socal they are in very limited locations.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: justanotherpenguin
                              cstr Nov 16, 2010 02:01 PM

                              I also experienced them in BOS, I hope it gets to SOCA, the lines go real quick with self check-out.

                            2. o
                              observor Nov 17, 2010 12:57 PM

                              what made them fast? i hate the self checkout at my supermarket...pain in the ass.

                              13 Replies
                              1. re: observor
                                Ruth Lafler Nov 17, 2010 03:21 PM

                                I think self-check can be fast if you only have a couple of items and the lines at the regular checkstands are long. At Costco you can be in line behind someone who is buying what looks like a whole year's worth of supplies, and Costco doesn't have express lanes.

                                I agree that self-check can be a pain in the ass, but mostly because there's a learning curve. If you do it on a regular basis so you're familiar with the equipment it can go pretty quickly.

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                  Cathy Nov 17, 2010 03:35 PM

                                  It does go quickly for me. It doesn't go well at all for the people in front of me.

                                  We have Fresh and Easy, Albertson's and Home Depot with self check out as well as Food 4 Less with self bagging. If it isn;t busy, I usually can get in and out and be done. If it is busy, I might as well wait for a cashier.

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                    Chowrin Nov 17, 2010 10:22 PM

                                    at costco, they ARE getting 6 month supplies... ;-) I shop there once a month, and i only have a fifteen minute commute. Some people drive an hour and a half...

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                      c oliver Dec 6, 2010 06:49 AM

                                      Exactly, Ruth. There's a learning curve. And people like my husband have little patience for it but I do. I'd love it at our Costcos. There are times when I need only one or two items and it would be great to have an easier 'exit strategy.'

                                      1. re: c oliver
                                        cstr Dec 6, 2010 07:06 AM

                                        Was just at the Costco in Vista, CA where they have 2 new self check-out isles. It took me less than 5 minutes to check out, no lines on a Sunday afternoon. Love it!

                                    2. re: observor
                                      cstr Nov 17, 2010 04:05 PM

                                      The scanning works real well and if you have bulky stuff there's someone with a hand held scanner and they'll come to your cart and scann away. Also, most poeple who use the self serv don't have humongous orders.

                                      1. re: observor
                                        Jenny Ondioline Nov 17, 2010 10:06 PM

                                        When self-check is well established in a store--the Star Market near my house in Boston has had self-check lines for over a decade now--then it's faster and easier than going through a cashier. The one exception to that is a two or three-week period every September as the new crop of BU freshmen try to use them for the first time and end up ruining it for everyone.

                                        Within the last couple years, they've added an option that keeps it from freezing when you use your own bags, a nice little innovation.

                                        Anymore, I consider it a huge inconvenience to go through a cashier in a supermarket!

                                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                          observor Nov 18, 2010 09:30 AM

                                          All I know is that the self check out at my supermarket is a pain in the ass, complaining if you set your goods down in the wrong place, asking for the supermarket card not once but twice, having a hard-to-find money depository, but, most importantly, people take forever to use it and an "attendent" usually has to come over anyway. It is terribly designed. What really galls me is that during the overnight hours at this 24 hour supermarket they don't have a single human cashier so you are beholden to their machines. That doesn't seem right.

                                          1. re: observor
                                            Jenny Ondioline Nov 18, 2010 09:37 AM

                                            Odd, my store is the opposite: the self-check stands are closed between midnight and six and you have to go through a cashier.

                                            1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                              cstr Nov 18, 2010 09:44 AM

                                              Simple, theft deterant!

                                              1. re: cstr
                                                Jenny Ondioline Nov 18, 2010 10:59 AM

                                                Exactly! So I don't get why observor's store does the exact opposite! It's not hard to scam self-check stands in minor ways--not a practice I condone, mind, I'm just sayin' there are things that can be done--so it makes sense to shut them down at a time when the store has a skeleton crew and therefore less oversight.

                                                1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                                  cstr Nov 19, 2010 05:36 AM

                                                  Maybe they wish not to pay for a person to 'man the register', or maybe they have extensive cameras. Does seem to be opposite of what most would do.

                                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                                    observor Nov 20, 2010 11:27 AM

                                                    Well, they have an attendant situated right at the head of the two rows of machines and the attendant has a computer monitor which shows them what you have processed, ostensibly to watch out for any scamming, and there is also an (old, fat) security guard there during the overnight hours. But I would much rather have a cashier because the machines are too cumbersome. The cashier just scans your items and totals it, but there are always all kinds of hitches with the machines.

                                        2. m
                                          mamueller Nov 18, 2010 11:36 AM

                                          They have had this at our Costco for about a year. We like it when we just have a few items, but the equipment is very touchy - so they have to have an employee right there to help out. I think of it like a drive through restaurant - if you have a large or complicated order, be a good sport and go through the regular checkout . Even when Costco is jam packed, they are very efficient in getting you through the lines.

                                          1. s
                                            sparkareno Nov 18, 2010 01:30 PM

                                            My local grocery store is always trying to push people to use the self-scan. They have a "greeter" at the door who hands you a flyer & they have a person who stands near the checkstands pointing out to people that they can use the self-serve. It makes me crazy that they have these people doing useless things instead of having them work another register. I try to speak to the manager as often as possible and tell them that I would rather get out of the store faster than have someone say "welcome to Ralph's".

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: sparkareno
                                              Samalicious Nov 19, 2010 10:09 AM

                                              " I try to speak to the manager as often as possible and tell them that I would rather get out of the store faster than have someone say "welcome to Ralph's.."

                                              Their purpose isn't to welcome people, it is to look you directly in the eye. It supposedly deters shoplifting.

                                            2. b
                                              burgeoningfoodie Nov 19, 2010 06:09 AM

                                              Haven't seen it at my local NC store but they would be well appreciated. Especially on the weekends.

                                              1. m
                                                Mestralle Nov 21, 2010 05:36 AM

                                                My biggest peeve about self-checkout is the lack of baggers. If I'm with my husband, it's definitely faster, but if I'm alone, then I have to run everything through the scanner and then pack everything up, wasting my time and holding up people behind me (the little separating bar is useless for more than a couple items, assuming it's there to begin with). And that's not even getting to the issue of having to scan the line for single people who might be ahead of you.

                                                As noted above, there are already "greeters" and people who point out the convenience of the self-checkout. Why not put one of these people on duty at the end of a couple of those lines to help people who are alone (or with children too small to help bag)?

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: Mestralle
                                                  justanotherpenguin Nov 21, 2010 05:47 AM

                                                  i'm confused. can't you bag as you scan?

                                                  1. re: justanotherpenguin
                                                    ratbuddy Nov 21, 2010 07:14 AM

                                                    If it's anything like S&S, the bags are at the far end of the conveyor and they require you to let each item ride the belt or it voids and you have to scan it again. Probably a stupid "loss prevention" measure.

                                                    1. re: ratbuddy
                                                      justanotherpenguin Nov 21, 2010 08:19 AM

                                                      that's interesting. i have only been to three stores that use self check-out: home depot, lowes & albertsons. all three have bags next to the scanner so that you can bag as you scan.

                                                      what you are describing reminds me of a local grocery chain: winco. they do not use self check out and do not take credit cards. they also give you a $.03 credit for every bag that you bring for bagging. their cashiers have a two sided conveyer (sp?) belt next to them which they select using a hinged divider. so while one customer is bagging their own groceries, the cashier shifts the divider to the other belt with the next customer's items. quite an efficient system.

                                                      1. re: justanotherpenguin
                                                        coney with everything Nov 22, 2010 04:12 AM

                                                        The Meijer store by me has two kinds of self checkout: express, where you bag right after you scan; and "no limit", where the stuff goes down a conveyor and you bag it all after you've paid. So you could scan your "big shop" if you so desire; I don't.

                                                        Meijer does have a reasonably efficient self scan, but I usually use coupons and that slows up the process, plus I'd still rather see someone have a job.

                                                        1. re: justanotherpenguin
                                                          pamf Dec 19, 2010 07:46 PM

                                                          At the Winco's that I have been to the checker also have the ability to run two registers at a time. That means if the person in front of you is hung up on a price check or some other customer service issue, the cashier can switch over and start ringing up the next person while waiting, instead of holding up the entire line. I love that.

                                                  2. r
                                                    rich in stl Dec 19, 2010 08:43 AM

                                                    The Costco in Ballwin MO has self checkout lines that I love BUT if I have LARGE items like 50 pounds of dog food it cannot go thru the line and you need an employee to scan it, which defeats the whole idea of SCO lanes.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: rich in stl
                                                      justanotherpenguin Dec 19, 2010 09:06 AM

                                                      in my experience in home depot and lowes (where i spend a lot of time) i have found that the employees that are assigned to the SCO lanes are considerably more able than the general clerks. i do sometimes have a large item which cannot be scanned in the little readers, and the SCO clerks always come quickly with their hand-held scanners and take care of that. in the meantime, i am scanning the stuff that fits into the scanner.

                                                      regardless, i don't have to deal with sub-par clerks, with people who "forgot something", with those customers who wait until after the complete order is processed before they even consider that they will be asked to pay and then start looking for their checkbook, credit card, etc., or my favorite: having to wait while a customer is arguing with the clerk about how much an item costs and offering a lower price!

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