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Are you seeing grocery stores moving away from self check-outs?

I adore the self check-out registers at the grocery store. I am particular (ok, maybe weird) about how my groceries are packed. Sometimes I am shopping for two seperate houses so I like to group my things a certain way. Also, the self check-outs moved quickly, a huge bonus to me when I was stopping on my way home from work.

Just in the past two months, three grocery store chains in my area (Pennsylvania) removed all of their self check-out lanes.

Is anyone seeing this in your area?

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  1. none of the ones here have them or did have them...

    the only place i see them at is home depot or walmart

    1. Just the opposite here in Southern CA.

      I've seen a proliferation of them.

      Even Costco is going the self checkout route.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I wish my area Costcos had some. I usually buy less than 5 items at Costco. The Fairfax VA Costco had self-checkout lines for a short period of time. I loved it! They removed it for reasons unknown.

        1. re: Unraveled

          I shop at only a few VA Costco's, and I believe that Fairfax must have one of the largest amount of people shopping that i've seen. I can't imagine either the reasons that they would remove the self-checkout lines.

          When I see those long lines when I myself have a lot of items I always cringe, so I never mind letting someone with a few items go on ahead of me.

          But I must say, checkers at Costco stores have some darned fast checkers, and I've only had one wrong ring-up in about 20 years (that I can recall.)

          1. re: Rella

            For the few months it was there, it was pure heaven. I don't buy a lot of items on one trip so I hated waiting in the long lines where everyone else had a cart full of stuff.

            I just avoid the peak hours (basically weekends when they do the samples).

        2. re: ipsedixit

          Costco will not put self-checkout in really busy locations. Here in Portland, the one by the airport is close to I-205 and a lot of Washingtonians come to it. So no self-check. But other locations have them.

        3. My Kroger just added 4 to the existing 4.

          1. I haven't seem much of a move to self-serve in mainstream supermarkets in the immediate SF Bay area, but we are getting some new stores from the Fresh-and-Easy chain in our area and they have ONLY self-serve. They also have a few roving clerks who will help you check out or bag for you if you need assistance.

            1. I wish....in CT they seem to keep adding more...and the damn things never work, especially w/produce. If I'm expected to cash myself out, I'd like a little discount. What's next, picking my order from the palets?? (oh yeah, that's aldi)

              1 Reply
              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                You know how all produce comes with stickers now? You use the number on that sticker to check out. You enter the # and then let the scale weigh it. The computer does the rest.

              2. There's as popular as ever in NC. I hate the things. Inevitably you get stuck behind some mouth breather that doesn't know how to use one. And God save you if they are buying produce.

                19 Replies
                1. re: Naco

                  Which is why I carefully evaluate the shoppers in front of me before picking my self check-out line.

                  Similar looking stressed out woman that appears to have fixings for tonight's dinner? Safe bet she will be lightening fast at the self check-out.

                  Man with small child and a cart containing a bag of candy, ice cream, chips and goodness forbid, produce? Avoid like the plague! Likely visits the store infrequently and will be baffled by the simple process. (Mr. CB falls in the aviod at all costs in the self check-out lane category)

                  1. re: cleobeach

                    i am a man with small child (cutest 3 yo u ever saw)
                    and i want to get in and get out...when i go thru the self checkout i want out fast...and i know how to use them just fine...and fast


                    1. re: srsone

                      Same here and Im faster than 4 stressed out women. ;) I just wish they would enforce the item limit. They are supposed to be express lanes. A friend of mine owns a few supermarkets, he says that they have resulted in more shoplifiting, which has eliminated the labor savings.

                      1. re: AdamD

                        I am fast and those things are SLOW! They do not work well, you can't effectively scan multiple of same items, it will reject some items, like it thinks a deli item should be weighted when i a price per each sandwich and cop was just arrested for stealing using one locally, shoplifting.

                        Great theory bad in practice.

                    2. re: cleobeach

                      I live in a college town, so I have to watch out for the college girls more than anything, who are slower than the guys because they roam in packs. Most of their college d00d counterparts seem to have learned not to take alchohol(which is all the true college d00d ever buys) into the self check line, although that used to be a major landmine.

                      Anyone with kids is better than the above, although I seem to be one of about five people in this town that isn't a) a student, b) a childless yuppie, or c) about to take up residence in an urn.

                      1. re: cleobeach

                        Cleo, it is really interesting that you phrased it the way you did. It is usually women who have the child in tow, not men. But, either way, count me as one more person who sees slow women and fast men at the self-checkout...in general.

                        1. re: DougRisk

                          The store where I do most of my shopping sits within a one block radius of three schools, a couple of daycares/preschools and a huge sports complex - indoor/outdoor with multiple fields, swim teams, after school leagues and such.

                          When I stop by during the day, I see moms with kids doing the household shopping.

                          When I stop after work, it is more dads with kids picking up snacks (likely for sports practice) and fun food like a bottle of soda and candy.

                      2. re: Naco

                        I never use them, because the first time I tried I was slow and the folks behind me got a bit PO'ed. I like chatting with the cashiers at my local anyway. Mouth-breather? IQ - 162.

                        1. re: Naco

                          since when do mouth breathers buy produce? I mean, I thought Fruit Roll Ups is considered a serving of fruit to most of them?;-)

                          1. re: Naco

                            Agreed Naco, and thank you for making me laugh - HA!!!

                            I mush prefer the traditional system with a cashier and I don't need Teenager Tom to bag my groceries - I'll do it myself, thank you. Harris Teeter HATES to see a customer bagging their own groceries and they will hussle you out from the bagging area quickly if they see it. I really hate that.

                            1. re: lynnlato

                              I can't understand why Harris Teeter would hate to see a customer bagging their groceries. I would've thought it would be quite the opposite, sorta equating their leaning toward 'green.' Or am I mistaken as to what 'green' is.

                              However, the reason I don't like to see someone bagging their own groceries is because I can't see where that bag they're using has been when they plop it on the counter where my items will be placed next.

                              Has it been at the local dairy farm, outside in their garden, inside a dirty car/truck floor, had trash of all kinds which I will not enumerate, thrown in it prior to bringing it inside and putting it on the counter. Perhaps it could have been in the stall in the restroom where they had to put it down before they started their shopping. Geez!

                              1. re: Rella

                                ...or held the mussels like mine last week that leaked all over everything.

                                1. re: Rella

                                  You are talking about bagging in personal bags, right? I see people from time to time who bag their own stuff in the store's paper or plastic bags.

                                  If you worry about this sort of thing, I'd bag my produce carefully in the produce section, so that you won't get that cross contamination you fear.

                                  Somehow, I don't worry about this sort of thing at all.

                                  My adult son bags his groceries, because, well he can! He was a grocery bagger in H. S.

                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                    I hear ya, however, do you have any idea the nastiness that goes on in the produce area? I once saw an employee stop stocking potatoes, pull out his key and dig in his ear with with key - all right before my very eyes. He was using his key like a shovel to dislodge whatever gunk had settled into his ear canal. I'm still disgusted by that image. It seems folks are so worried about disinfecting their gym equipment or the handle on their shopping cart, meanwhile there food is being manhandled by hands of yuck. lol

                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                      >I once saw an employee stop stocking potatoes, pull out his key and dig in his ear with with key - all right before my very eyes. He was using his key like a shovel to dislodge whatever gunk had settled into his ear canal.

                                      OMG. I don't get grossed out easily, but for some reason that image is really disturbing. Was he doing that over the potato bin? Sorry, had to ask.

                                  2. re: Rella

                                    Or it could have been in the grocery cart where you put your groceries. That same cart that holds little children with wet, leaking diapers or whose other siblings are sitting in the large end of the cart with the shoes that just came in from the parking lot. I think my bags are much cleaner. I keep mine folded in one large bag in the back floor of my car and I don't put them on the floor. And by the way, how many women put their handbags on the floor or restrooms then lay them in the cart or on the counter? Not this lady, I don't put my handbags on ANY floor.

                                    1. re: The Drama Queen

                                      your bags may be cleaner?
                                      and how often do u wash your bags? :-)

                                      they did a story on that on one of our local news stations...nobody they asked ever does
                                      they were dirtier than the restrooms they tested...

                                      1. re: srsone

                                        I throw my bags in the washer every two weeks. The bottom of my bags don't touch food but I feel better about doing that.

                                        1. re: The Drama Queen

                                          just in passing -- has there ever been a case of foodborne illness that has been traced to a reusable shopping bag?

                                          I get the whole squick factor -- I wash my washable bags regularly and wipe the others...

                                          just wondering if there's actual science, or it's just icky.

                              2. I hope not.

                                Here in western PA, I use the self-checkout line every time I go to the Giant Eagle. I can't stand watching the clerks slime their hands up, then scan my groceries. Grosser than gross.

                                I only go to Whole Foods when I need something I can't get anywhere else, because they don't have a self-checkout. They've pissed me off in other ways, though, too. I hate that they stopped using plastic bags, which I have recycled as trash bags my entire adult life. And oh, how I wish WF would stop selling those stinking cinnamon brooms every winter.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Jay F

                                  I hear ya about the cinnamon! At my grocery store it is brooms AND pine cones, both placed in the overheated vestibule so the smell is 1000x intense.

                                  Our local Giant is removing all 8 of the self check-out stations.

                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                    I hate hate HATE the self-checkouts... it's okay if you're only buying one or two things, but for a whole trolley load it takes forever to get everything properly scanned. I'd rather have the cashier scan my items and then bag them myself. Actually, I'd rather have a competent bagger bag them in the order that I've placed them on the belt so that all the frozen stuff goes into the proper insulated bag and my lettuce isn't rubbing shoulders with the laundry detergent, but that takes a miracle. None of the grocery stores around here have self-checkout except Walmart and BJs.

                                    1. re: Kajikit

                                      hate them too. I dislike when the voice starts telling you to remove item from the scanner then I get stuck, and don't know if the item has been scanned more than once. They are too slow IMO.

                                      1. re: smartie

                                        We always think they'll be fast, but after we get out, we know that we were mistaken again.

                                2. I love the self-checkout. Haven't seen any changes in more or less of them here in NE Ohio

                                  1. Nope.

                                    Personally I like the scan as you go the best. My bags aren't too heavy, I pack the way I want and I never feel rushed in the checkout. I wish the barcode you scan at the end worked better though.

                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: melpy

                                      I prefer the scan as you go; however, at our store they seem to be out of order or something amiss, so we have abandoned the idea.

                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                          You pick up a "wand" at the entrance of the store.

                                          You might have to enter some numbers in order to pick up the wand, or be pre-registered, I'm not quite sure.

                                          As you pick up your groceries, one by one, you scan it.

                                          If you buy produce, you weigh it, enter the number from the weight scale, it will calculate the price accordingly, and give you a sticker to put onto the produce bag, which you will wand-scan.

                                          When you check out at a "person who has a scanner wand" aisle - this is a different aisle than the 'scan your groceries" aisle.

                                          Usually there are not as many persons at the "wand" aisle because it seems to be more complicated picking up the wand, so it can be a faster aisle. However, I have seen authoritative workers come and actually re-check out all of the wand-scanned items, making the person wait even longer. Frankly, I don't know what this is all about, except that the grocery store may think that you have erroneously not wand-scanned all your items.

                                          1. re: Rella

                                            Wow, that is wacky... and maybe may take longer than the traditional cashier aisle. Some things should be left as they are. :)

                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                              Not wacky at all -- efficient, fast, and I'm out in half the time.

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                Really? I'm an eternal skeptic - I'd have to try it to believe it. But alas, I know of no store in my area that offer it.

                                                1. re: lynnlato

                                                  They have the wand things at the primary supermarket where I shop. it's very efficient. I scan the stuff and bag it at the same time. When I get to the checkout, I just scan the wand, pay and I'm out. The stuff is already bagged. I'd say it's cut my checkout time by about 80%.

                                                  Sometimes I'm called for a random check where a clerk will re-wand like the top three items in one of my bags, but that only adds about 30 seconds to the procedure.

                                                  The store does not sell alcohol BTW.

                                                  1. re: taos

                                                    I'm in Europe, where the legal age is 16 for wine and beer and 18 for hard liquor.

                                                    While I am pretty well-preserved for my age :D there's no way anybody is going to think I'm 18, so buying alcohol is a non-issue, and they don't even blink when it shows up on my scanner. (Come to think of it, it doesn't trigger...I've never seen anyone carded, either)

                                            2. re: Rella

                                              The recheck is an audit... you get audited randomly and at least at my grocery store they take $2 off your order for the inconvenience. I don't mind because for the most part it is quicker. At my store you have to be preregistered. Best thing I ever did.

                                              1. re: melpy

                                                over here, they'll usually just spot-check 3 or 4 items, but once in a while (and of course it's always on a day when you're pinched for time as it is...) they'll send you to the full-on rescan.

                                                about every 5th or 6th trip I also seem to score an equally random free pass and they just wave me on through.

                                              2. re: Rella

                                                That's pretty common here in CT. Haven't used a wand yet, because I don't want to go through the hassle of being audited at the end of a long day. Other than that, I do NOT use self-checkout. In today's economy when we're trying to keep people employed, I just can't see the benefit of doing it myself. I'm NOT saving any money, that's fer sure.

                                          2. None are disappearing in the Vegas area, and Costco is adding them. Which is great for the few times I'm only in Costco to buy a couple things!

                                            1. Not seeing a change here in N. Texas.

                                              They're great for a couple of last-minute items, but my Tom Thumb has pushed me over to them twice, with $200 cartloads, that include wine and lots of produce. No room to bag everything on the shelf, so bags have to go to the floor (the attendant didn't bring an extra cart even though she spent a lot of time waving her card to clear register issues and slapping "Thank you" stickers on items). I usually bag my stuff at the full-serve counters anyway, but at least I have space to pack there.

                                              Will not use again for big orders; I'm not responsible for their supermarket workflow. :)

                                              1. Yes...i am in texas and in the past year, two of my favorite places took the self check-out lanes out. Weird.

                                                1. My grocer has added new self checkout lanes for large grocery purchases. But it seems to me that the lanes for 20 items or less get used far more. I've used self checkout here in StL, and in Portland, OR. I've noticed that the older, bigger machines are harder and less intuitive to operate. I am OK with my local machines. I have pretty much mastered produce, but my market provides a lot of assistance. If I get stuck, I can get help pronto. Eventually I'll be a whiz at these.

                                                  The thing I hate is that there will be fewer jobs for checkers, and I don't see this trend lessening. The markets are having to cut costs to compete with the Super Walmarts and Costcos that keep eating into their market share. But I admit I use the machines for small purchases, including produce.

                                                  I note that Whole Foods and Trader Joe's still use human beings to check groceries.

                                                  Remember when gas stations became self serve? People made the same complaints about the cost of gas! If I have to pump it myself, why don't I get a discount?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                    I've seen these self-checkout lanes at Shoppers Food Warehouse. There's a conveyer belt on it.

                                                  2. i have seen more of them actually. I opt for them--but I may change this because they are always rejecting my items or attempt to pay. It is frustrating, but I typically have 3 or 4 items so it never seems worth it to wait in the long lines that are not for self checkouts.

                                                    1. I have heard some discussion re: minors buying their alcohol in the self-check lines. Perhaps stores are reexamining their liability.

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: ola

                                                        In the stores I have shopped at an alcohol purchase sets off a red light above the check stand and you cannot complete your purchase until a clerk comes over and keys in an approval.

                                                        1. re: pamf

                                                          I was buying candles for a co-worker's birthday cake, and that set off the red light thing; my purchase was held up until it was verified I was 18. (I am 18 a couple times over...) Otherwise, I use the self-check lanes regularly and am pretty darn fast.

                                                        2. re: ola

                                                          All alcohol purchases are flagged by the system and showing your ID to the cashier is required before the transaction can continue. No way can anyone buy alcohol with this happening.

                                                          1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                            I beg to differ. In my regular grocery store, sure, the system flags me when I scan alcohol, and the attendant has to come over and key in an approval code before I am allowed to pay. However, more often than not, the attendant taps the "no date needed" button on the screen without even making me pull out my ID. And I live in a college town and look young for my age if I'm shopping on my day off in flip-flops and a hoodie.

                                                            I almost always use the self-checkout, but I have to say they drive me crazy. I was a checker at a wholesale club in my college days, and I am too fast for those machines. I hate that I can't run them like a real register. Not surprised that they have increased shoplifting in some places - like so many well-intentioned rules, the safeguards only seem to slow down those of us who are playing along anyway.

                                                            1. re: Wahooty

                                                              That has been my experience as well. I'm in my late 20's and live in a college town. Even in my "youngest" looking outfits, I still look old enough and know the supermarket employees well enough that they self scan attendant just approves the alcohol purchase. He doesn't even have to walk over to my scanner/register, just hits a button at the attendant podium.

                                                              1. re: mpjmph

                                                                Actually, yes, I stand corrected - sometimes I get the remote button-push, but that may very well be when I'm in my work clothes. :)

                                                                1. re: mpjmph

                                                                  The problem is that not every store has an attendant watching the self-checkouts. None of the Food Lions where I'm at do- so if someone tries to buy alcohol, the whole thing grinds to a halt while you wait for someone to come over especially for that.

                                                          2. The grocery stores here in Las Vegas are adding more self-checkout lanes. I love them; I'm in and out. I don't think people realize those lanes are not for a huge cartload of items. They're meant for people with somewhere in the 10 to 15 item range so they don't have to wait in line behind the woman who has a cart loaded with 2 months worth of food. I don't know why the produce part is so hard for people to figure out. Item look up gives you pictures or keypad and you key in the number of those items on your scanner. Glad to see Costco adding them too. Costco shoppers have overflowing carts so waiting is a problem when you have only a few items.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                              Not all self checkout systems are equal. Some machines are hard to figure out.

                                                              My grocer does have lanes for large food purchases.

                                                              I wonder how going through the regular lane and using the self serve lane would compare timewise for a cart full of groceries? Which would be fastest?

                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                For the person who isn't familiar with the operation of the self-checkout system or has a hard time understanding it, that would be far more time consuming than having a checker zip through your items on the belt. Someone is packing whle the checker is checking so that's an added time saver. I dont' have a problem but then I've been using the SCO system since they first started using them several years ago.

                                                                1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                  If you could go right to the self checkout station, and there was a wait at the other lanes, then I'd say the self check would be faster, all things being equal. However we can't get paper bags at the self serve place. We use paper grocery bags for trash, so we will continue to use the human checkers until told we can't.

                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                    If I want paper bags at the self checkout, I just walk over to the nearest regular checkout lane and grab a couple. Never a problem.

                                                              2. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                Smith's in Las Vegas has self-checkouts, and they have ones designated both for express (15 items) AND full carts. The ones for larger check-outs have a rotating carousel for the bags. There is rarely if ever a line at them at the Smith's near my house (closest grocery store by far; so I go there often).

                                                                And I have a love-hate relationship with them. The good news is that there is an assistant nearby, who knows me and will clear the liquor items immediately. The bad news is that the reason I use them is so that I can clearly see the price I am being charged for each item (the checkers do it so quickly and start before I empty my basket despite my protests so I don't have a chance to notice all the prices). The reason this is bad news is because I have yet to check out from that store with at least one price error in the computer. Usually it's a sale item that has not been marked down on the computer. It's a pain to wait for the assistant to go check the price and then change it for you, but I make them do it even if its a matter of pennies. I think that the bar-code system makes it easy to overcharge folks, and I believe that there are stores that "forget" to remark within the computer knowing full well most people won't catch it. Fortunately for me I have an excellent memory and make a point of remembering items on sale as I pull them from the shelf. It is unbelievable how many errors I find. Most folks don't remember the price, or don't catch it as they check out....and I think the store knows this. OK, rant over. That being said, at least the Smith's self-checkout system is fairly efficient.

                                                                1. re: janetofreno

                                                                  I just save the receipt, go over it at home and then go back to the courtesy desk next time I'm in the area to get a refund. I have enough to remember at the self checkout, especially to swipe my card to get the sales prices, which is the one good thing about using a cashier, since they always ask for it.

                                                                  I admire your ability to multitask! And that you can buy your liquor at the grocery store......

                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                    lol....I would never bother to go back...mainly because the courtesy desk always seems to have a loooonnnnggg line. (A lot of people pay their utility bills there, I think...). Its funny, in our state you can buy liquor pretty much anywhere 24/7, and we forget that not everyone is so lucky:-)

                                                                    1. re: janetofreno

                                                                      Our courtesy line is often long too, but it's due to lotto players, and people sending Western Union money to their nearest and dearest. The ladies know me though, and get to me as soon as they can; I know I'm a PIA but feel it's my obligation to keep them on their toes!

                                                                      We have beer and low alcohol (garbage) wine in the grocery, otherwise you have to go to a liquor store. But the good news is, they finally did away with the blue laws a few years ago and they are open for a half day on Sunday. Used to be so annoying when you had company coming and suddenly realized you were out of something crucial!

                                                              3. I'd say about the same here in the KC area. Some chains have them in most stores, some don't seemingly have them in any stores. I generally like them, for some of the same reasons as the OP. I'm not shy about asking baggers to let me do their job, though. It's pretty rare a bagger is offended, and since I'm using credit or cash most of the time, it's doable without holding up the line. That way, I can still pack the way I like, but am not limited to the self checkout.

                                                                1. As a rule I avoid them, as I don't work at the grocery store. If they want to give me a discount for doing their labor for free, I'd think about it. But generally I skip them.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Pylon

                                                                    I avoid them too because I'd rather see people employed. When the self service lines were first installed an employee was stationed at each one to help customers become familiar but I see less and less of that now. Employee people!!!

                                                                  2. We have two different types of SCO in our local Stop & Shop. In the older simpler one, you can simply go to a checkout lane and scan your own items and then pack them yourself. In the newer system you pick up a scanner as you come into the store and scan your store card into it. Then as you buy items, icluding produce, you scan each item into this little hand scanner. The first time I tried it I found that it comsumed way more time than going through a regular checkout. Then, when I got to the checkout where the hand-held device is supposed ot download into the register, nothing came out, so the clerk rescanned everything. However, the next time I was at the market all of those items popped up on my bill so a mananger had to come over and delete them all.

                                                                    Bottom line, though, I think using the regular check-out system is faster and more accurate than trying to weigh and scan each item individually as you go along.

                                                                    1. just moved to CT and the local Stopandshop has a gun you take with you when you shop. shoot the groceries as you place them in the cart and then i think you just shoot the self check out and away you go. Has anyone tried?

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                        Yes, my post April 18. I called it "scan as you go" for lack of a better word.
                                                                        I have similar problems too with it at checkout as the scanning at the checkout.
                                                                        But sometimes the lane is closed, or some of the machines are out of order. It's not something I count on anymore.

                                                                        1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                          I just heard of this system. I like the idea of scanning as you buy. That way everything is done before you leave the store. I need to learn more about how this prevents shoplifting and how the system knows how many of each items, (oranges, apples, turnips, etc.) you actually have. How does produce get weighed? Interesting concept.

                                                                          1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                            Read my post above. Just think about all the time it takes to weigh each produce item, then print out the barcode for it then scan it into your scanner. Likewise as you're going through the strore carefully scanning each item. Then compare that to the 2 or so minutes it takes for the regular checker to scan and bag your stuff, especially since there is almost always another bagger. I think it may be good for the store but it does not save the consumer time.

                                                                            1. re: junescook

                                                                              Scan as you go is spreading across Europe like wildfire.

                                                                              Here, produce is weighed in the produce department on a scale that spits out the correct bar code for whatever you've scanned. (There's a color sensor on it somewhere, as it suggests yellow fruits when I weigh bananas, red things for apples, etc....which is a little unsettling.)

                                                                              There are self-scan lanes for less than 10 items that actually shut down if you try to scan an 11th item. (yeah, that pissed me right off-- I had11 items and was the only person in a country mile,and the attendant would NOT override the 11th item. I'd never complain if it was busy, but geez.)

                                                                              But the normal checkout lines in Europe move so mind-numbingly slowly,because there are no baggers -- you bag everything yourself, and it is truly fascinating/horrifying to see how long it takes people to bag their groceries and get their debit card out.

                                                                              Using scan-as-you-go saves me 15-20 minutes of standing around with my finger in my ear,thinking about all the ways I could kill the idiot(s) in front of me...and my groceries are bagged the way I want them, usually.

                                                                              They do random scans to spot-check people-- if you've missed something, they send you over to a re-scan checkout (thankfully dedicated so there's usually no extra line) and they scan it the usual way.

                                                                              They're usually good about not screwing up your bagging, but once in a while I get someone who think it's her duty to upend everything, and I end up having to repack everything....THAT is annoying, but so far not too common.

                                                                              About every 10th visit or so, I seem to have earned a "no check needed" badge, and I just pay and go.

                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                >>>>There are self-scan lanes for less than 10 items that actually shut down if you try to scan an 11th item. (yeah, that pissed me right off-- I had11 items and was the only person in a country mile,and the attendant would NOT override the 11th item. I'd never complain if it was busy, but geez.)<<<<

                                                                                Truly the most wonderful advance in grocery shopping I've ever heard of.

                                                                                Sorry *you* were held up for just one item, but I *frequently* get stuck behind someone whose operating checkout principle seems to be "20 items or less? Well, I've only got *twice* as many items as that."

                                                                                I have been wanting this for a long, long time. I hope it comes to the USA.

                                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                                  what I could have lived without was her pointing at the "10 items or less" sign and talking to me like a two-year-old while shaking her finger in my face.

                                                                          2. They are still a novelty in the LA area, which continues to puzzle me. We moved here from Nashville almost 11 years ago, and for maybe ten years before that they were a fixture at all the Kroger stores there. Kroger not only had self-checking, they had digital scales in the produce department that would print out a barcode label if you put the item on the scale and entered the SKU number, which made produce as easy to self-check as anything else. Out here, however, only a few Ralphs stores (affiliated with Kroger) even have self-checkout, though all the new(ish) Fresh & Easy stores do … and NOBODY has that swell produce-labelling setup.

                                                                            I love self-checking, for the most part. I like the fact that the machine won't chat with the person in front of me, and when it screws up I can swear at it …

                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                                              I shop at Smith's in Las Vegas, another Kroger store but have never seen the digital scales that print out the bar code. Maybe I'm just not seeing it. That sure would save a few minutes of time.

                                                                              On the up side of the self-checking system is that you don't have to wait for the person in front of you to wait until the cashier announces the total of their bill before rummaging, (yes rummaging) into their purse to find the checkbook, ask the date, write the check, WRITE THE CHECK NUMBER AND TOTAL IN THEIR CHECK REGISTER, then handing the check to the cashier. Do these people not realize they have to pay for this until the last minute? No thank, had enough of that. Oh did I forget to mention they also had coupons, but forgot which part of their handbag they put them? More rummaging. More waiting. The cashier check out system is only as good as the person in front of you.

                                                                              1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                Unfortunately, the Ralphs closest to me not only has no self-check option, it's also the destination store for a whole lot of nearby elderlyperson facilities. Being perilously close to that category myself, I'm very much aware that my need for reading glasses and tendency to forget things have made me a tad slower at the checkout. However, these dear old grannies are not only slower than your average glacier at getting their money out and that big folder of coupons and all, but when they do try using those newfangled debit cards they never seem to understand just exactly what they're supposed to do when. I watched one lovely old soul yesterday punch in her number and THEN slide her card four times in a row, and kept looking at the clerk instead of the screen …

                                                                                1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                  People still write checks to pay for their groceries? I was cheerfully informed several years ago that most people used debit cards. That is when I switched. So much faster. I don't even carry a checkbook any more.

                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                    and even if u do still use checks...most stores will do the auto printing for u...

                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                      Well you were cheerfully misinformed. Where I live a lot of people -mainly the elderly, refuse to use debit cards for the reasons that Will Owen mentioned. They just can't get the hang of sliding a card through the slot (which end, up, down, sideways) the hitting the button that makes it a debit or credit. They also don't trust debit cards - who knows why - so they use their checkbook. THAT they understand. Now if they can just understand that they have to pay for those groceries and not wait til the cashier tells them how much.....fortunately I'm never in a hurry so I can wait. But everyone behind me is dancin'......and that's why I switched - to self-check out.

                                                                                      1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                        Funny, but I'm one of those elderly persons who can't get the hang of sliding a card through a slot. Maybe because I only use a credit card once a month. But that one time, I can't be bothered with learning rules of which of the - let me count the ways that a card can be slotted - 4 is it? while everyone titters? What I do is just hand the card to the cashier who knows that I am old and consequently demented, and so stupid that I don't know how to put a card into a slot when everyone else in the whole world knows how to put a card into a slot, I ask her with a senile smile to put the card through for me because I know that she's smart enough to do it-after all doesn't she do that all day?

                                                                                        I am never in a hurry either, but I know that other people have places to go, things to see, so I just pop the question: Will you please put the card in the proper way for me? I just can't get the hang of it.

                                                                                        Also, I should add that I never use a checkbook either because I just can't keep those additions, subtractions, straight; and most of all, bank balances? What does that mean, anyway? I've never done that either.

                                                                                        1. re: Rella

                                                                                          Well, OK Rella. I'm laughing. But if I can master the debit card, you can too.

                                                                                          Although every doggoned machine is different. I do credit with my debit card. I have to ask almost every time, how do I make this go through as a credit?

                                                                                          I am going to have to start looking at the elderly grocery customers (who are only a few years older than I) to see if they are using debit cards. But yes, as I was writing a check several years ago, the checker mentioned to me that most customers used debit cards to pay for their groceries. Makes me laugh to think about it.

                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                            I AM elderly and I use my debit card as a credit card. The picture on the side of the slot shows which way the card goes in, you slide, then follow the screen; hit enter or cancel to make the card a credit card and that's it. What could possibly be easier?

                                                                                            1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                              1. My credit card has two shiny squares: one is the ID chip for transactions without signature; the other is some sort of anti-counterfeit mechanism. I am always confused as to which is which.
                                                                                              2. Often, I can't see the picture which shows which way to slide the card.
                                                                                              3. What is the cashier's job, if not to process the credit or debit card payment?
                                                                                              I am in my 50s :)

                                                                                              1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                                Gracious, I know how to slide my card! But it isn't obvious in most machines how to do a credit. Whole Foods makes it easy, but most stores don't. At some you hit the red key, which is not intuitive, and in others you do something else. I've got Walgreens down, after they changed the procedure and I had to relearn. I think the grocer's procedure is clearer than before as well. The problem is that the procedure is not standardized.

                                                                                    2. re: Will Owen

                                                                                      I have seen those produce scales at Giant and Wegmans. Giant also has them for the olive/salad/prepared foods self-serve area.

                                                                                    3. Oooh, that would be nice. No, there is no sign here of removal. They haven't multiplied recently, though. The main flaw with those self-checks is how slow they are. You must move very slowly and deliberately so you don't outpace the vocal cues or confuse it about what is supposed to be in the bags. You must scan at about half or a third of the pace you'd rather go. You can't multiple scan an item. You must acquaint yourself with the exact timing of when to press "skip bagging" or you will pull your hair out.

                                                                                      I won't go through unless I have only two or three items. Produce is not the issue. Produce look-up is tolerable.

                                                                                      1. It would be nice if they worked. I had two oranges yesterday, they had little individual stickers\codes on them. Wouldn't work. Not only did I stand there waving the oranges around like an idiot, I had to go stand in line anyway.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Shann

                                                                                          I'm assuming you punched in the number on the stickers right??

                                                                                          1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                            Yeah, you have to pull up the picture of the keypad and enter the code. It's really not hard. I self-check whenever I have the option and it's very quick and easy. You don't have to wait for the voice to catch up to you, the scanner moves pretty quickly. I have almost never run into a piece of produce without the code but when I do, I just pull up the pictures/directory thing and go to the Ps and look for the pic of Papaya and enter it. It's just really no big.

                                                                                        2. They're not going away here in the Cincinnati area. I like them, frankly. If left to my own devices (meaning: No unlabelled produce and no alcohol requiring the "you're old enough" button from staff) I can check out, bag, and be gone in about half the time.

                                                                                          The only problem is that at my regular grocery store, there's a guy they put on self-checkout duty regularly who is big on "here, let me do that for you". In other words, he'll ignore my wine age check while he does the scanning and bagging for another customer. And another. And another. . . He's not able to juggle the six terminals and give everybody fast service. So if he's there, rather than the chunky redheaded girl who's really good at it, I'll go to the conventional checkout.

                                                                                          1. I shop regularly at 3 chains in New England.
                                                                                            Stop and Shop, typically 4-5 self check out lanes with an attendant in a purple collared shirt stationed to assist with problems. Also 2-3 self check outs for those using the self scanning and bag as you shop systems.
                                                                                            Big Y, typically 4 self checkout lanes, no dedicated person to assist, but someone usually nearby.
                                                                                            Market Basket, no self checkouts.

                                                                                            I try to avoid the self checkouts whenever possible. I am not being paid to scan or bag my own groceries. If a discount was offered, then I might consioder it, just as Stop and Shop gives a 5 cent reduction per reusable bag you provide.

                                                                                            I also am opposed in replacing human employees with my added labor to increase the stores profit margin. Each of the self checkout lanes in use, means two employess, a cashier and a bagger, are not being paid. As many of these baggers are developmently challenged (not an aspersion, but an ongoing effort by Stop and Shop to provide employment for those in this group) I want them to have jobs and a sense of self worth.

                                                                                            As a piece of info: I saw a restricted standard for Stop and Shop class B or higher stores, they are required to have all self checkouts, a minimum of 3 full service checkouts (including 1 family friendly-no candy) and 1 express (12 items or less) open from 3-8 Thursdays and Fridays and 11-5 on Saturdays and Sundays. If more than one customer is waiting to be rung, an additional register should be opened. A front end supervisor in a puyrple shirt is to be on duty for full service and another for self check out. All open full service checkouts except express are to have dedicated baggers.

                                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                              You may be going off the deep end on this one. I hardly think that a few self-check out lanes will replace anyone since there will always be cashier check out lanes for those who prefer not to self-scan. The SCO is there to cut down on the crowded lanes so you can scan the few items you may have and get out quickly. As for the store doing this to increase profits, you can't be serious. It is widely known that the profit margin for grocery stores is extremely small. Did you ever think that they may be trying to keep YOUR food costs down? See? Even a pancake has two sides. ;-)

                                                                                              1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                                TDQ, I don't think bagelman01 is off the mark regarding less employees as a result of self check out methods. As I mentioned above when self-check out was first introduced at our local (NJ) Stop & Shop employees were stationed at each to assist customers thru the new system (the produce self check came later) but as of the last store-wide remodel two noticeable things changed, less employees and more check out options. Even the customer serivce/lottery kiosk is down to one employee. What I see are far more dept Mgrs doing the aisle work, plenty of upper management handling oversight, visable floor conversations taking place btwn levels of managment and dozens of new products on redesigned shelves. Nearly all of the remaining cashiers are working a shift at the check out and a shift stocking shelves on the weekends. About two weeks ago I asked the Deli Mgr what happened to all the employees and he said a) technology replaced people and b) Mgrs are working the floor more and more. People at the entry level were let go.

                                                                                                While I appreciate the convenience of speedy checkout as much as the next person, I do not favor replacing jobs or doing away with entry level jobs. I think it stinks.

                                                                                                1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                                  When my local store has 6 self scheckout lanes open, plus 3 for self scan and bag as you shop and only 4 manned checkout lanes, then there are at least 8 less employees on that shift (cashiers and baggers). Self vcheckout lanes don't just replace the express lanes. You may think that those who use self checkout have just a few items, but that is not the case. In fact the self checkout lanes are divided between express (less than 12 items) and non-express.

                                                                                                  I don't agree that Stop and Shop is trying to kepp my food costs down, as Market Basket consistently costs 30+% less on the name items and has only manned cash registers and baggers and plentiful help in every aisle and department.

                                                                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                    Funny though, less employees means cheaper prices for you. So you'd rather pay MORE to continue to use a checker than possibly pay less to go all self-check? There's no cost advantage at this point as they are still employing checkers, they just probably get a few less shifts than when there were cashiers at each stand. But if they went ALL self-scan and said it would lower your grocery prices (but eliminate jobs), would you do it then?

                                                                                                    In my experience, most Americans don't care about the jobs of their neighbor or friend down the street, they just want Low Low Prices. That's why they shop at wal-mart instead of a local business. I can't "afford" to pay $4 for that hammer at the local hardware store, Wal-mart sells it for $2.50!" 1 year later, the hardware store is out of business.

                                                                                                    I just don't think the line about retaining peoples jobs really washes, if you consider every other habit of the average american consumer. All they want is the lower price.

                                                                                                    1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                      rockandr, while I'm not offended by your observation I couldn't disagree more. I don't shop at WalMart and I don't shop just by price. Sure, I enjoy a break on my foood bill when I can get one but not at the expense of someone's job. Truth is no one is asking consumers if they should let a cashier go, no one is asking consumers if they would rather have a cashiers job remain as opposed to a self-service aisle. If they did ask me, I would tell them to keep jobs. I have no idea what Stop & Shop is thinking about but if an entry level position is eliminated so that I can get thru the self service lin in 15 seconds, I'm never going to use that line for my personal shopping trip. I think keeping jobs is more important.

                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                        "I think keeping jobs is more important..." Tell that to the woman with 4 kids trying to juggle a food budget that has been cut in half since she and her husband are now without jobs and in danger of losing her own home. Sorry, the bottom line is to pay less at the supermarket. Groceries are NOT a luxury, there is no cutting them out like cable t.v. or dinners out. I hardly think that a few self checking scanners is going to put too many people out of work. Like I said, there are still many cashiers needed to man the belt checkout.

                                                                                                        1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                                          Oh TDQ if you think the two scenarios of joblessness are mutually exclusive, than our exchange is going nowhere fast. Moreover, who said anything about groceries being a luxury. You plowed over the point about cutting jobs so that others can get thru a speedy check out line. And, it's more than a few employees; it's happening at every store these days! Does it take a personal job loss experience to have some understanding for those who lose their entry level jobs to our grocery store convenience?

                                                                                                          Convenience is the luxury; not groceries.

                                                                                                      2. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                        nobody's brought up my reason for disliking self-check, i'm just going to throw it in here.

                                                                                                        i actually would rather have access to more varieties of produce than low prices, and i see self-check at more of the package-food meccas, than places w large selections of good quality produce and bulk goods sections (which tend to be cheaper than pre-packaged). i think it's hard to regulate folks from buying loose arugula and putting in the code for iceberg lettuce, or an expensive gluten-free flour blend and putting the code in for white bleached flour, let alone at a place that offers 15 kinds of apples or citrus at a time, folks will just pick the one that is cheapest by the pound. traditional cashier check-out obviously reduces cheating/stealing in this way, but if everything is prepackaged and barcoded and the store limits the produce to just a few staples, then they are free to have self-check!

                                                                                                        i see self-check ultimately reducing customer choice of groceries, and i see it used more often at places where the person is buying a lean cuisine or a frozen pizza and a soda (and these folks love it, don't get me wrong). the same set-up does not work for someone doing serious shopping for produce and bulk items. since i'm the person doing the serious shopping, i don't want the self-check system phasing me, and others like me, out.

                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                          The hypermarkets that have self-check and check-as-you-go in Europe have assortments wider and broader than *any* foodseller I've ever seen anywhere in the US (nearly 40 states).

                                                                                                          Not dumbing it down in any way, shape, or form -- at least not here.

                                                                                                          I know that there are video cameras trained on the scales -- but beyond that I don't know how they control fraud...but apparently they do.

                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                            [sfx: Customer being escorted to the back room of the casino to chat with Robert DeNiro after ringing up a pound of chile de arbol as jalapeños]

                                                                                                        2. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                          and they dont realize the hammer they buy for 2.50 will probably need to be replaced twice as often ...meaning your going to pay more than 4$ in the long run...

                                                                                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                            I am a 'most American."
                                                                                                            I don't recognize myself in your posting.

                                                                                                            1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                              No, less employees doesn't always mean lower prices, which is why I referred to the fast growing New England chain, Market Basket, which has extremely high staffing levels and far lower prices than the competition on the same prices.

                                                                                                              I grew up in retailing, and our family owned 15 stores. I do not generally trade in the walmarts and support local business. It is the working employees who can spend their salaries in the local economy. The greater profit that Stop and Shop might reap from the self checkout is repatriated to Europe and the stockholders of Royal Ahold. Most of the major grocery chains in New England are not US owned.

                                                                                                              This past month a new Home Depot opened in our town, I still shop at the Ace hardware which is nearby. The prices on most brand name items are similar, but the service is far better and it is locally owned.

                                                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                In our shopping area of 30,000 +/- we have as far as i can after tell living here for many years two places to grocery shop: Walmart and Giant. ( I don't shop at Walmart.) I cannot get many items I want at Giant and will travel 50-70 one way miles for shopping at Wegmans.

                                                                                                                Looking for a similar-replacement broom, it is Ace that carries it. I believe Ace is still a franchise.

                                                                                                                It is not always we shop for lowest prices, but "available" products. I'm not sure how Amazon fits into the scheme of hiring employees and lower prices, but I do buy subscription Amazon items because of their unavailability in my area. Yes, I have asked my local Giant - called Martins here - to carry certain items, but they say it is not possible, it's already decided what they will carry.

                                                                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                  Ace is not a franchise, it's a cooperative -- the difference is subtle, but substantial. (Ace members are free to do business however they please...they pay membership fees and fees for things like store signage -- but it's not a franchise like a McDonald's.)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                    Giant Supermarkets are owned by Royal Ahold and part of the division as Stop and Shop (New England, NY, NJ), so I feel you pain.

                                                                                                                    Ace is not a franchise per se, but a buying cooperative with individually owned stores or groups of stores.

                                                                                                                2. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                  I agree with you that many shop at Walmart because the prices there are cheaper than at local markets or local or regional chains. Others DON'T shop at Walmart because they feel the stores don't treat their employees right and because they threaten the livelihoods of grocery store clerks and checkers. In my case it is easy to say I won't shop at Walmart, because it isn't convenient.

                                                                                                                  I spoke with an affluent person recently who admitted shopping at Walmart for food, because our local market could not match prices on some items. So, I know I'm probably in the minority. It is really a shame when we sell out on this issue.

                                                                                                                  However not all of us feel drawn to shop at Walmart.

                                                                                                                  The issue of self check machines vs human checkers is similar, and different. I prefer going through the regular check out line, especially with a week's worth of groceries. I DO think that the self check machines are put in because running them is cheaper than paying for a human employee. Sad, but true. The machines don't require health insurance and they don't fight with each other or take vacations. Will they eliminate jobs? Yes, they will. They probably already are.

                                                                                                                  But you can't stock the produce department using machines, or cut lunchmeat with robots, or cook my fish by computer. Markets will continue to need humans to run them even if checkers become fewer.

                                                                                                          2. Popping up all over the place in Houston.

                                                                                                            1. I don't know if it's the area in general or just the stores I go to, but I see very few here in Fort Worth, TX. I moved a couple of years ago from Atlanta, and they were everywhere there.
                                                                                                              I was never really keen on them. Maybe I was just unlucky, but I always seemed to get some error thing an have to wait forever until an employee wandered over.

                                                                                                              1. We mainly have them at our wholesale club and a couple of the chain supermarkets. They're holding steady, but I wish they'd go away.

                                                                                                                They malfunction constantly, which means that a store employee has to come over anyway, possibly offsetting the savings in cost and labor. But my biggest complaint about them is this:
                                                                                                                When I am at the wholesale club, I fill my cart with bulk paper towels, tissues, etc. As you scan these items, they roll along the belt to the collecting area. When that collecting area gets full, the scanner won't let you scan any more items until you clear out the collecting area, which you cannot do, since you still have items in your cart left to scan. So I am racing back and forth between the collecting area, stacking and reorganizing to trick the system into thinking it's not really full, and the scanner, trying to scan my whole huge order before the collecting area registers full and the machine shuts down.

                                                                                                                I'd rather pay higher prices, talk to a live human, and not have to do battle with a machine.

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                  We didn't use to have them around here, they're popping up like weeds now. My problem with them is similar to yours: once you scan an item, you *have* to put it in the bag. I'm often getting things like cat food where I can hold several cans at once and it's a pain to have to scan, move to the bag, drop, then move back to the scanner and repeat over and over.

                                                                                                                  That, and they make it difficult to use your own bags. I can't put my bag down until after I've scanned something or it has an "Unexpected Item Encountered in the Bagging Area" at the top of its little robot lungs!

                                                                                                                  1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                    One of the major chains here has done that the right way. When you approach, it asks if you have your own bag, and if you press "yes", then it tells you to put it on the scale and press "confirm". It then tares out your bag, and you can load your bag as you scan everything.

                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                      Our two major chains added that feature in recent months. It's a great idea, but often I still have to wait for the attendant to "approve" the bags. At one chain it isn't a big deal because they always have an attendant who works the self scan exclusively, never have to wait more than a few seconds. At the other chain, they self scans are near the customer service desk, so the rely on the CS manager to also attend the self-scan. That means long waits for any kind of assistance.

                                                                                                                2. Not a grocery store but our Walmart had 4 self checkouts for around a year, then got rid of them. The reason given was that "we were robbed blind"

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: beekeroc

                                                                                                                    Our Walmart just got rid of theirs as well. I asked, to see if the reasoning was the same as yours, but the cashier said the machines kept breaking and needing the company to come service them, so they got rid of them. Now they have a section there with a decent selection of dried beans and tortillas, which I can use more than the self-checkouts.

                                                                                                                  2. The opposite. And yesterday I was in a large Home Depot that had ONLY self-checkouts open.

                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                      I saw self-check out stations at Costco, Leesburg, VA. Between 4-5pm on Saturday, the lines to these self-check-outs were backed up, too. I didn't notice whether any or all of the patrons had carts. There were no rolling belts to place items on, such as I've seen at BJ's. These were just the smaller self-checkouts.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                        When they did the test in Fairfax VA, there were conveyer belts. Perhaps the newer non-conveyer belt self checkout kept the people who had many items away. (Making it more of it an express self checkout.)

                                                                                                                      2. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                        and what groceries can you buy in Home Depot besides water, soda and candy? <VBG>

                                                                                                                        BTW, I just came back from my local Home Depot and as usual they only had the self checkout registers open, BUT if you just walk down to the contractor's desk, the contractor's checkout is always manned. I did and let the cashier ring me out. Unless the store will give me a discount for doing their job, I use a manned checkout.

                                                                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                          u can buy jerky at home depot...............

                                                                                                                          that qualifies as meat doesnt it?

                                                                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                            You can also buy seeds and starts for fruit and vegetables plants. Plus all kinds of kitchen appliances, and I imagine animal feed in some locations. Home Depot is really just a grocery store selling food in it's more pure and unprocessed form :)

                                                                                                                        2. Stop and Shop just raised the bar on stupid.

                                                                                                                          Yesterday I went for a muffin on the way to work where there are 8 self-check-out lanes. SEVEN WERE CLOSED!!!

                                                                                                                          I guess the circuit boards and bytes all called in sick with the flu.

                                                                                                                          17 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                                                            I hate that. The Walmart in my hometown in the US, and the giant Carrefour here (same concept) have dozens upon dozens of checkouts (self-checkout, self-scan, and regular) -- and on any given day there's never more than 4 or 5 of them open. WHY?

                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                              I know the answer..thievery. People take red peppers and input green pepper, shitakes in the bag, creminis on the pad. They need someone to watch that $10 of artichokes do not earn $0.50 as a mistaken bagel.

                                                                                                                              Customer service with one minimum wage person is not important to some stores.

                                                                                                                              1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                                                                I was including traditional checkouts with a human being at the register in that...while theft happens, you're going to have a hard time convincing me that it's all that common on produce with a human checker. (if they don't know what celery is, I'm not buying that they are really playing a big role in a mushroom heist.)

                                                                                                                                And the produce tags where I shop are videotaped -- they make very sure you see the camera and the notice.

                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842


                                                                                                                                  I think it does reduce shrinkage but I do not believe they are videotaping and having people sitting in a dark room checking the labels against the input. It is like the sig on the highway, "speed monitored by aircraft." Who do they think they are kidding? Pay $100 for the sign and probably make it back in fear in a few weeks.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                                                                    that would explain why I watched store security lead a guy to the back of the store today....because it was all fake.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                      You have security guards in your supermarket???? Where do you live?? I'm finding it hard to believe that they would arrest someone for trying to ring up red peppers instead of green. Tough neighborhood. ;-)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                                                                        I live in Europe -- and there are security guards in EVERY store.

                                                                                                                                        Not a tough neighborhood at all -- violent crime is very low in Europe, but the shoplifters are rampant, so security guards are a common sight. (Most of them are about as intimidating as Barney Fife, and the amount of work they actually do is a topic for a different day....)

                                                                                                                                        Don't know if they arrested him or not, just saw them leading him toward the back.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                                                                          Remember, they can be in plainclothes and look like regular shoppers. My husband knew someone who did this in a grocery store in an ordinary middle America city in an ordinary neighborhood.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: saltwater

                                                                                                                                            one of my best friends was plainclothes security in a big superstore when we were in college.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                              I've always wondered if plainclothes personnel could be identified by people who were 'just shopping.'

                                                                                                                                              I've often seen the same people who seem to be doing absolutely nothing but straightening up stock, whether they were hired to do that, or they were keeping their eye out. Did your friend say what he did to keep looking busy?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                SHE walked around with a cart and a piece of paper - handbag in the cart, the whole nine yards. She usually wore jeans, a teeshirt, and sneakers -- dressed the way most early-20s women dress to go to the store.

                                                                                                                                                I was in that store a couple of times when she was working, and if I hadn't known she was working, there was nothing about her appearance or behavior that would have told me she was doing anything but shopping.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks. Most often now I walk around without a cart and my list in hand. I've wondered.
                                                                                                                                                  (We used to shop separately with two carts. Occasionally, it was a topic of questioning by the check-outs, do you usually shop with two carts?)

                                                                                                                                                  Another subject tho, but don't know exactly where to post it, perhaps Costco, I don't know.

                                                                                                                                                  But as I have noted while walking around how many people at Costco really won't buy something because they'll never be eating it all. For instance last week, a woman and her husband were discussing buying a pack of two loaves of bread (those from the bakery) and decided not to buy it because she said that what would they do with all that bread. I wanted to say, "well, freeze it." But held my tongue.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                        About a year (or two?) ago I was in (I won't name it) a huge food store and started talking to a guy (we had a common interest) for at least a half-hour. I asked him what he was doing in the store when something tipped me off that he had been there everyday. He told me that he (and others) was installing the "Las Vegas" style (my interpretation) cameras and other styles (a real whizz-bang set-up) in the store, and he was there for weeks installing these cameras.

                                                                                                                                        Perhaps that's why the stockers are so helpful. :-))

                                                                                                                                    2. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                                                                      We have four self-checkout lanes at the grocery store where I do a lot of my shopping. There is always a store employee stationed there, for multiple reasons. They help people when the scanners start screaming, they sometimes check people out if the line gets too long - and they are presumably keeping an eye out for people "mistakenly" entering items incorrectly, or not entering them at all.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                        I never thought about the possiblity of someone scanning red peppers then tapping green peppers into the pad or the mushroom scam either. I'm sure it' happens but in my supermarket there is a checker at the end of every self-scan row who can not only see what you put on the scan board but can also see what you enter into the pad. I had one come over immediately when I accidentally hit the wrong item number and "bought" bananas instead of a can of olives. The bananas would have been the higher priced item. She came over so quickly I had no time to correct it myself. But the switcheroo point nobadfoodplz brought up is well taken, I guess I just never thought of how easy it is to do that.

                                                                                                                                    3. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                      Which part of Carrefour's world are you in? I've never seen self-check out in them in East Asia or Brazil.

                                                                                                                                      Has anyone noticed that in much of Europe, cashiers are sitting down, when in the US, that doesn't really happen?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                                                                        France and Spain both have self check-out -- extensively in France -- both self-checkout (10 items or less) and self-scan (full-cart)

                                                                                                                                        I think letting the cashiers sit down is a good thing...standing on a hard floor for an entire shift is not only uncomfortable, it's hard on your back and joints.

                                                                                                                                  2. I don't think anyone has mentioned the noise issue with self-scanners. That's what keeps me far away from them, or stores with them. They're always talking and beeping away at top volume -- very annoying!

                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Up With Olives

                                                                                                                                      the ones where I shop are all turned down low enough that if the store is busy, it's not easy to hear them at all (not that I need to hear them -- I usually can scan fast enough that the lady inside the scanner can't keep up) :D

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Up With Olives

                                                                                                                                        They aren't very polite. The machine speaks to me like I'm an idiot or something. Yes, I know I haven't put it in the bag yet, the bag is full.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                          Awww come on now GraydonCarter. The "machine" has no idea who you are or why you haven't put your item in the bag. It only knows you didn't. The machine is programmed to identify the next step. If it isn't taken, (entered into the pad but not placed in the bag) it tells you what you need to do. It isn't insulting you, it just does what it's supposed to do.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                                                                            I have a degree in computer science; I was just being a drama queen.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                              Huh, who knew. Now I feel bad bad about chewing out the last "machine" that got snarky with me. I didn't realize it didn't mean to be insulting.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                Hey wait a darn minute. You CAN'T be a drama queen. That's MY job. . ;-) And yes, I understand that you know a machine can't think. I was just being a.......what's the phrase? Oh yeah, a Drama Queen.

                                                                                                                                        2. bank machines have not replaced tellers at the bank. yes, there are fewer tellers than there used to be, and as a result the waiting time if you want a teller has only grown marginally shorter (yes I really believe that) but there is now an option that can make your time much shorter for the majority of your transactions.

                                                                                                                                          the same is going to be true over the long haul at grocery stores. there will be fewer and fewer items that can't be scanned, they will find ways to deal with produce, more and more people will become more and more proficient at scanning, and they will find more and more ways to improve the scanners. Remember standing in line behind the 'mouth breather's' at the ATM in the mid 70's? (not that we even called them ATM's, they were 'bank machines' or 'cash machines'. Now most people can darn near use the things in their sleep, it's second nature. Not that we use cash that much anyhow.

                                                                                                                                          i don't like to put people out of work. i don't mind paying a little bit more, and i only shop at walmart when it is the only place i can find something. at the same time, my local piggly wiggly or whatever is not a subsidized work center run by the government. it is a business that sells groceries No one gets to tell my accountant that he has to hire Bob Cratchit and fill out forms long hand in a ledger book with a quill on sheepskin parchment will iron and gall ink. Not doing so does not make my accountant a worse scoundrel than Scrooge. Why should my supermarket have to hire people to do tasks that can be reasonably automated?

                                                                                                                                          i was in sixth grade in 1968. One student brought in an article about UPC codes and told us that someday this day would come. A lot of us agreed with the columnist who explained what a ridiculous waste of time it was. Imagine, a scanner and a computer at every check-stand. It would never be economically feasible. And all those poor companies who had to put that silly bar code on their packaging. Too much government interference, thats what it was.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                            RIP Alan L. Haberman, who died on Sunday at 81.

                                                                                                                                            Mr. Haberman, a supermarket executive from Massachusetts, did not invent the universal product code, but he is chiefly responsible for standardizing the way consumer product information is represented.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                              it will be scarier when people have the bar codes on them also.......

                                                                                                                                            2. For a bit, some in Phoenix, AZ, USA, were leaning toward self-service, but I do not see that much anymore. Maybe it's just where I shop?


                                                                                                                                              1. The newest grocery store we frequent (open about a year maybe) doesn't have self-checkout lanes at all. They usually have enough staff, so much that at times there are empty lanes all ready for you when you're ready. This store is a chain but it is a franchise chain (Shop n Save) so they are independently owned. I don't know if this is indicative of the chain since I haven't been to any of their other locations. It could simply be indicative of this particular store's owner. (They own about 5 or 6 in the greater Pittsburgh area.)

                                                                                                                                                The dominant chain here, Giant Eagle, has not moved to take out the self-checkout lanes that I have noticed. Even their newest locations or those that have been recently remodeled still have them. They use both the short express-type self-check and a longer unit with belt. At our closest location there is often a bagger handling 2-3 of the longer self-check lanes (of which there are 5-6 total). At a really busy time they might have a bagger for each.

                                                                                                                                                Do not know about Walmart. Our nearest Targets don't have self-checkout and aren't moving to put them in seems like. Costco has none and is not moving to put them in looks like, unfortunately. (I usually only have a couple things there, where everyone else has a cartful. To be fair, though, it usually moves pretty well.) Home Depot and Lowe's, for what it's worth, usually have a group of 4 self-check stands and a staff member overseeing that at all times.

                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: CrazyOne

                                                                                                                                                  Crazy One, at my Giant Eagle (Shadyside Market District), I am able to do my own bagging. That's the whole point for me. I do NOT want someone touching my groceries after slathering lotion or that "sanitation" stuff all over their hands.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                    Heh, what do you do at stores without self checkout? How do you keep people from touching it when they stock the shelves? How clean do you think the carts or hand baskets or your own reusable shopping bags (if you use those) are? How clean are the checkout lane belts or other surfaces the stuff touches there? It's pretty crazy stuff man, I have to tell you. Picky about bagging is one thing but think the whole process through a little bit. It's all in an outer packaging anyway, and you effectively can't keep it from touching unclean stuff.

                                                                                                                                                    You always do your own bagging at the short style self checkout, but the ones with belts in my experience often end up bagged before I am finished paying. It's not guaranteed, though. Sometimes, and at some locations more likely than others and maybe some days more likely than others, there is no one bagging on those lanes. Still talking specifically about Giant Eagle here.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: CrazyOne

                                                                                                                                                      Obviously, you're more interested in mocking me than understanding me, but I'll try to explain.

                                                                                                                                                      "Clean" isn't the issue, per se. I don't want my groceries _smelling_ like that crap they put on their hands. I bought some ham and cheese at the deli counter the other day, and every time I open the bag to make a sandwich, I smell some kind of hand lotion. This is a day or two later.

                                                                                                                                                      As for stores w/o self checkout, i.e., Whole Foods, if I see them reaching for the slime, I ask them to wait until they've finished with my order before sliming their hands.

                                                                                                                                                      At the GE, I always use the smaller checkouts. I'm single and I never have 20 items.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                        On the same subject,sort-of: when I go to Costco I always ask for a different box for boxing my groceries, other than the one that has been used for all the soap products. Some people are sensitive to these smells.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                          I do the same thing at Costco. I get migraines from scented products.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                          Hm, well, obviously the mocking is on me for not considering the smell aspect in my previous post. (Plus, I think you'd be surprised at how many people hadn't thought the process out. I'm not more interested in mocking than understanding, just had a single-mindedness that perhaps wasn't appropriate. My apologies.) The smell never even crossed my mind for I have never experienced it. Truly, it's not just that I am not so sensitive to it, because I do hate excessive odors like that. I know people who have extreme sensitivities as well. But in fact I have never experienced this ever in all the times someone else has bagged things for me, which is more often than not. Never pulled things out and smelled any lingering smell. Just lucky I guess.

                                                                                                                                                          I usually don't end up with a box at Costco, but I've dealt with that one before.

                                                                                                                                                  2. SoCal girl here too.
                                                                                                                                                    I don't use them at HD or Lowes or at the supermarkets simply because as much as I've tried, can't usually figure them out. I'm fine if there's a rep there to help me or show me the way. I'll bet that pilfering occurs at the self checkouts. But I'm not sure, either way, I do see them popping up. When you see a checkout place that has no line and rush to it, it's usually a self help lane an my demeanor shrinks.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Some good news. Not only has my Giant Eagle (Shadyside in Pittsburgh, PA) put in some new self-checkout stands, they've placed them right near the entrance, so it takes me even less time to pay and get out of there.

                                                                                                                                                      1. You know, I used to use these all the time when they first came out. I even have several codes memorized, shallots 4662, red potatoes 4073, brocolli 3083. I used to know more, but I've gotten lazy and now generally just go to a checker.

                                                                                                                                                        It's a fad and will never catch on. :)


                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                            Bananas are 4011. I thought just about everyone has that one memorized by now.

                                                                                                                                                            BTW, IMO Wegmans has the produce problem solved (I guess they still do this, but I moved and it's been years since I was in a Wegmans). They have scales in the produce dept with bar code printers. You code what you have, it weighs it and prints a bar code label, you affix the label to the plastic bag of whatever it is, and when you check out the scanner just reads the bar code.

                                                                                                                                                            They do something similar to this at many stores in Latin America, except there there is always a little guy who does the bagging and bar coding -- no coding red peppers as green peppers.

                                                                                                                                                            One of Aldi's strategies to speed checkout and maximize efficiency is to sell all produce pre-packaged with bar coded labels already affixed.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: johnb

                                                                                                                                                              The Wegman's system you describe is the default in Europe, and has been for years. The hitch is when you forget to weigh and label something.....!

                                                                                                                                                              Aldi and Lidl in Europe weigh produce at the checkout (which is human-only -- no automatic)

                                                                                                                                                          2. I LOVE self checkout. I do most of my main shopping at a new store (King Soopers, owned by Kroger) that just opened in June, and they have 6 self checkouts. They also have 4 bagging "stations" at each checkout, on a rotating large "lazy susan" type thing, and an extra area to set full bags, so it's like they're encouraging people with larger orders to use them.

                                                                                                                                                            Also the store is never that busy when I go, so I'm never stuck behind some idiot who can't figure it out. They also allow you to search for produce by name instead of having to find that little sticker with the code, so I find that helps to make it go very quickly. The only time it gets a bit bothersome is if I have coupons and the 1 person they have stationed to help at the self checkouts is helping someone else so I have to wait for them to scan my coupons.

                                                                                                                                                            My first regular job was in a grocery store, so I'm very very anal about how my groceries are bagged, and maybe my "experience" makes the self check out easier for me? I don't know. I just know I HATE how most baggers bag my groceries, and if the cashier does it it takes twice as long. So, I prefer to do it myself. I keep things organized in my cart too (boxed items together, cold items together) so that helps speed up the checkout/self bagging too. Whenever I do that and a cashier checks me out, they end up messing up the "groupings" I've made.