Those Supermarket Self Checkouts

Posted by: Anne HolmesAdministrator

Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 04/12/12 04:54 PM

Anyone have any thoughts on those self-checkout aisles that seem to be cropping up at superstores and grocery stores? I just saw a clip from ABC News about people using them to cheat the store by not paying.

Maybe I'm showing my age, but I do my best to avoid having to use a self-checkout aisle when I'm shopping.

Not that I'm afraid of new technology. I'm not. I tried one of the self-checkout aisles once - discovered it is pretty easy to do - but regardless, I've decided to avoid them like the plague.

Call me old fashioned, but I like service when I'm shopping. Not that I like to be tailed by a clerk as soon as I walk in the door, but once I wheel my cart up to the checkout at Walmart, Lowes or my local grocery store, I want a store employee to scan my stuff as I place them on the belt - and then I want another one to bag them, load them into my cart, and cheerfully haul that car to my car, where this same cheerful person will load my car.

And no, I don't want to tip anyone for this service. But I do like it when the checker, bagger and hauler are friendly, quick, personable, and cheerful. Extra points for if they act like they remember me from past visits, and are happy to see me again.

I guess if I wanted a totally automated shopping trip, complete with self-checkout, well then I'll choose online shopping. And I do that, too.

I'm sure the stores with the self-checkout equipment see it as a way to save on personnel costs. And I appreciate their interest in reducing overhead - especially if they pass the savings on to me.

But I suspect that the savings that might accrue from self-checkout could easily be lost via customers who walk out and never return due to frustration, not to mention those who will inevitably try to cheat the scanners somehow.

Anyone else have any thoughts on their experiences with self-checkout? Love it? Hate it? Let's talk...
Posted by: Eagle Heart

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 04/12/12 06:50 PM

I like both. If we have a lot of produce, or a lot of groceries in general, we prefer to go through the checkout. But if we just have a few items and/or the lineups are long, we head for the self-checker. We've rarely ever had a problem with them, even hubby, at 71, likes the self-checkout for those small trips.

A story about the self-checkers at the best friend was heading home after a nice visit at our place. We underestimated how busy the airport would be and encountered a huge line-up for the ticket long, that it was clear she wouldn't make her flight. We noticed these brand new self-checkers, and decided to give it a try, since she didn't have any luggage to be checked...she put in her info and credit card (for ID purposes) and bingo, she was done and walking away with her boarding pass within 5 minutes. When the people in the lineup saw how easy it had been for her, many followed her lead. She not only escaped the long wait (and possibly missing her flight), she got a great seat on the plane too! Nowadays they're everywhere, but at that time, they had only just been installed a day or two before and everyone was afraid to try them.
Posted by: Ellemm

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 04/12/12 07:49 PM

I do both, no problem. Like Yonuh, I'll head for the self-checkout if I only have a few things. I think it all runs the gamut, at least where I live. Sometimes the checkers are whizzes and sometimes they're so slow I feel like screaming.

Oh, at Wal-Mart they no longer put the bags in your cart; they load them in the carousel and it's your job to unload them. If you're buying a lot, you need to keep moving! There's certainly no one to take the stuff out, either, although there are folks who do that at a smaller grocery here in town. To be honest, I just want to get it over with.

Oh, self-checkouts aren't new here. We have probably had them for at least 5 years or more.
Posted by: Anne HolmesAdministrator

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 04/12/12 08:02 PM

Eagle Heart, I'd forgotten about my experience with self-check in at the airport. You're right about that. We tried it last time we flew, which was probably two years ago... It WAS super fast and easy. But to me, that's different than having to self scan all my groceries.

And Ellemm, at MY Wal-Mart, they still load the grocery sacks into my cart. But I DO have to take my cart to the car and unload it myself.

However, at my local Piggly Wiggly (hate that name!) the baggers still take the groceries out and they have a drive-up area where they'll also load my car for me. I DO appreciate that extra bit of service....
Posted by: Ellemm

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 04/13/12 08:11 PM

Oh, they used to load the bags into the carts here at Wal-Mart, but seem to have quietly stopped doing it. You're expected to get busy loading them yourself as you try to keep an eye on the register and hang onto your coupons! Most of the folks are very nice, though; they're under a lot of pressure and still manage to be pleasant.

At a few of our smaller stores they'll carry out just about anything for you. I'm pretty darn good at using the scanners now!
Remember when we used to write checks to pay? I don't think I have done that at a grocery store for 5-10 years.
Posted by: Anne HolmesAdministrator

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 04/13/12 08:27 PM

I don't write checks at the grocery store anymore either. And when I get in line behind people who do, I get bugged by how long the whole process takes. LOL!
Posted by: orchid

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 04/29/12 10:23 PM

I haven't used those self-check out machines at grocery store lineups --yet. I guess I have to use my credit card? 'Cause my personal rule of thumb is never use credit card for my groceries. It forces me to pay cheaper basics in life, ie. food , by cash. It forces me to budget properly by experiencing the disappearance of money immediately when I buy basics.

And no, I don't use debit at all. Not safe.

Yea, have been using the airport check-in machines for past ...8 yrs. I've taken a number of trips 'cause Canada is a huge country. Very convenient those airport machines.
Posted by: Anne HolmesAdministrator

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 04/29/12 10:53 PM

Hi Orchid, I agree with your desire not to use credit cards at the grocery store. I too, think it is a "slippery slope" from a money management point of view -- and just generally a bad idea -- to buy necessities with credit.

But I was pretty sure the self-check machines DO accept cash. So I went and searched on Google, and found this "eHow" article which tells how to use coupons at the machines.

In the step-by-step directions, it mentions that you have to select your method of payment, and indicates that "cash" is one of the options.

SO: Not that I'm advocating that you use these self-check lines -- because Lord knows, I have been avoiding them, and you ought to know by now that I certainly wouldn't advocate that you do something I won't -- but it does seem that they DO accept cash.
Posted by: Eagle Heart

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 04/30/12 02:28 AM

Yes they do accept cash, that's how we usually pay for our groceries at the self-check.
Posted by: jabber

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 04/30/12 01:10 PM

Saw a TV news report that the stores are losing mega dollars on these type checkouts. Customers are not scanning every item, they're just walking out with big-ticket items.

Now don't you think the brainiacs should've foreseen such goings-on. I do!
Posted by: Ellemm

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 04/30/12 01:34 PM

Yes, our self-check machines accept cash. I have used it more than once. Plus, you can run your debit card as a credit card and still comes from the same account. I save my other credit card for special credit purchases.

I'm like you: things must be going very badly for me to consider using a credit card for ordinary purchases. Fortunately, I'm not in that position. You know, anyone who has any type of electronic device can run into trouble, so we're all stuck monitoring our accdounts, but it's also not safe or convenient to carry around large amounts of cash. Times sure have changed.
Posted by: orchid

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 05/09/12 12:35 AM

Since I bike for and with my groceries, my grocery bill certainly wouldn't be as big as someone who has a car.
Posted by: Sandy N.

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 05/09/12 06:12 PM

Maybe whoever dreamed up the self-check aisles figured the cost of stolen merchandise would be less than paying a clerk (hourly rate, benefits, etc.) to man the register. At my nearby Home Depot there are six self-check registers and one person to oversee them.
Like almost everyone else in this forum, I use both self-check and full-service checkout aisles. We use our credit card for almost all our purchases because it accrues airline miles. But we pay the balance in full each month. (And we pay attention to what we're spending!)
Posted by: Anne HolmesAdministrator

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 05/09/12 06:39 PM

Good points about the store management's decisions to use self checking. Though I hadn't given it prior thought, I am sure you are correct that an analysis has been done. Major retailers like Home Depot are on top of their numbers, I'm sure of that.

As for using a credit card in order to accrue miles or other benefits --- I agree that it's a smart thing to do when managed the way you do (paying off the balance monthly.)

We don't have a credit card that offers miles, but in a similar fashion we use a PayPal debit card to pay for a lot of our business expenses: Being that it's a debit Master Card, it can be used like a credit card, it pulls the money from funds available in our PayPal account (equivalent to paying cash) AND we get something like 3% back on every transaction. That makes a real difference.
Posted by: jabber

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 05/13/12 10:21 PM

IMHO loss at those self-checkout aisles were positively figured into the equation before they were put into use. That almost goes without saying. On the other hand, stores shouldn't complain about losing goods which are deliberately not paid for. If they knew it would happen, then chalk it up to overhead costs. A 5th Grader knows there are always a few folks trying to get away with a great deal. Pun intended!!!
Posted by: Louisa

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 07/08/12 01:40 PM

The first time I tried the self-check out, I was with my daughter and granddaughter. She showed me how to use it. 5 y/o Katie bagged the groceries. It was not a big order. Looked simple enough.

The next (and last ) time I tried it, I was alone. After placing several items on the belt and having them ring up, I tossed my reusable bags onto the belt. The whole thing stopped and it started telling me to take everything off and start over again. I got flustered and nervous. I didn't know if I took them off if they would ring up twice or what. I was holding up the line. There was no one to help. I didn't know what to do. I kept trying to just keep going and it wouldn't let me. Finally someone came by and got it going correctly. I won't do that again!

Stores won't do it if it's going to lose them money It's not for the consumer's convenience.

We have Stop & Shop here, which offers "gas miles," Every time we shop, we get a certain amount of gas dollars that add up. You can redeem them at a specific Shell station. I go by that station every day, but I don't use it. I noticed that the station down the street where I usually go is usually 5-10 cents less a gallon. Don't think I'd really be saving that much. This station is difficult to pull in and out of due to the flow of traffic where it is located.

The other thing I hate is the stupid plastic cards. supermarkets, CVS, Hallmark, etc. I wrote a story on this once, I was so disgusted with it. It costs money to produce those silly cards. Why not just lower their prices in the first place? That would get my attention and my business much faster than having to carry around these foolish cards. And yes, I know there is an app for my phone now so that I don't have to carry them or hang them from my keychain. But, I don't care to pull out my phone every time either.

I'm sick of gimmicks. If they really want to "help the consumer" they should lower their prices.
Posted by: jabber

Re: Those Supermarket Self Checkouts - 07/08/12 10:51 PM

Excellent points Louisa! Couldn't agree with you more. Not only do those cards cost money but all the fliers they mail out are costly. Lower the prices and forget the gimmicks! Here! Here!