Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes

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ces1948
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2011/07/09 11:33:34 (permalink)

Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes

DALLAS — Ten years after self-checkout lanes debuted in many American supermarkets, some chains are beginning to rethink the option.
Beginning this month, Albertsons LLC is removing the self-checkout lanes in all of its 217 stores in seven states, including Texas.
As it remodels stores, Kroger has decided to consider the metro or Euro style of checkout lanes, with one customer line for multiple staffed express lanes vs. self checkouts.
For Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons, self-checkout no longer fits with the customer-service experience it wants, spokeswoman Christine Wilcox said.
http://timesnews.net/arti...ng-self-checkout-lanes
We've had a few discussions on here about self checkout and I know some hate them. I like them myself when I only have a few items. This Euro or Metro style sounds interesting. Kind of like they do at most banks.
Call me cynical but I'm suspicions this has more to do with items "evading" the scanner then it does customer service.
Also it's ironic that Albertson's is mentioned as the one in our area has no self checkout or "metro" line and consistently has the least amount of checkouts open and is probably the longest wait to checkout in our area.
#1

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    mar52
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/09 11:44:50 (permalink)
    I've learned to love the self check-out lanes.  Saves me so much time waiting for others coupons to be scanned or writing of checks.  Waiting for a price check is maddening after waiting in line and it's almost your turn.
     
    Do you really think things slip out without being scanned?  There always seems to be one person around to help at the self check-outs.  Usually one clerk per four self check-out stations.
    #2
    ces1948
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/09 11:56:01 (permalink)
    I have heard that the reason Walmart puts self checkout lanes in some stores and not others is based on shoplifting stats. Don't know if that's true or not but we do have three Walmart supercenters in our area built relatively at same time. Only one of the three has self checkouts.
    #3
    felix4067
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/09 12:23:05 (permalink)
    I hated them when they came, based purely on the fact that it enabled stores to cut jobs. It only takes on person to oversee ten self-checkouts, where it would take ten cashiers to run ten real ones. Over time, however, they started to become the only option. Quite regularly at night there are no real lanes open, just self-checkouts. So I've had to use them more and more, as I don't go grocery shopping during the day.
     
    But as time went on, I came to hate them more. They are not cleaned regularly (at least not around here), which means there is always a patch of sticky something. One of ours at the local Meijer had a bag of cat litter spill open on it a few years ago, and to this day it grinds and hangs up. If you're getting something cold, you have to make sure to wipe the condensation (or frost) carefully from the BAR code or it won't scan. Things get stuck on the conveyor belt without falling off the end and you have to keep walking back and forth to push them down into the bagging area. At least twice per checkout it gets hung up so the person overseeing them has to come over and fix it. Quite regularly things like produce which are bought by weight screw it up and it has to be reset.
     
    As for shoplifting...it's not that I don't know it happens, but at all checkouts there is a pad you have to slide the item across between scanning it and putting it on the conveyor belt. If you don't, when you leave the store an alarm goes off, since they've got sensors you have to walk through to get out or in. Every time I'm there, and I don't go there at busy times, I hear the alarm at least once because someone forgot to swipe something.
     
    If they're making them go away, good riddance! Hopefully Meijer will tag along with the others!
    #4
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/09 12:34:28 (permalink)
    ces1948

    I have heard that the reason Walmart puts self checkout lanes in some stores and not others is based on shoplifting stats. Don't know if that's true or not but we do have three Walmart supercenters in our area built relatively at same time. Only one of the three has self checkouts.

    This is very true.  Our WalMarts had self checkouts and pulled them out.  When I asked why, they said it was due to shoplifting.  I have even seen customers at a manned checkout with large items on the bottom "shelf" of their cart who didn't place them on the counter to be scanned!  I will "rat" on them to the checker whenever possible.
     
    On the other hand, when our Schnuck's (a fairly upscale supermarket) remodeled about a year ago, they put self checkouts in for the first time.  Our Krogers also have them.  I will always use a self checkout whenever it is available, since I can get thru it so much faster with seldom a wait.
    #5
    Uncle Groucho
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/09 12:58:51 (permalink)
    My wife worked at a local grocery that had 8 self check out lines, If someone purchased alcohol my wife or another would walk over and enter a code in the machine and all was good , except someone memorized the code and shared this info with minors who entered the code themselves until they were caught. They have since started changing their codes frequently. I personally never use them.
    #6
    DawnT
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/09 17:17:45 (permalink)
    Maybe the stores around here use a different system. It's difficult to evade the system as the bagging area weighs the items placed on it. If the weight doesn't match the product scanned, the attendent is hailed. Only way to get something through is to leave it in the basket and they have cameras  checking out the shelf below the basket and alerting the attendant. Biggest problem here is that often the weights entered into the system don't match the product and everything comes to a stand still until the attendant clears it. There is no enterable codes that can over ride the system on these machines. Only way is for the attendent to swipe their pass card to get into the bypass menu. The biggest headache is out of 4 machines, 2 or 3 are usually not working and then they have 2, 10 items or less and the regular ones with the larger bagging area. If there is a failure and you're in line with a lot of stuff, you can't use the smaller ones and have to get into a regular line. These machines have been in the stores for nearly 10 years. It never fails that you're in line and someone gets up to the machine and is clueless and the attendant has to do it for them or they get to a machine that clearly is marked debit/credit only and they want to pay with cash. Even more irritating is that problems or intervention needs to occur and there is no attendant anywhere in sight and you have to wait until someone comes by. The entire experience defeats the purpose of a quick check out line. Thank goodness Publix down here doesn't use them and staffs all of their lines when demand needs it. Not like Winn Dixie that during the busiest part of the day has 12 to 15 lines and only 4 or 5 operational. The minute someone has a public assistance WIC check for dairy products, the entire line comes to a standstill for better then 10 minutes until a designated manager can approve it.
    #7
    ces1948
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/09 17:37:19 (permalink)
    I have never seen a self-checkout in a Publix supermarket. They also seem to have a way to open lines quickly if needed.
    #8
    ann peeples
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/09 17:45:54 (permalink)
    I cannot stand self check out aisles. I would rather stand in line.
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    jaylhorner
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/10 07:52:56 (permalink)
    I only use self check out lines.  I enables me to double check what I am charged.... the cashiers are too fast!
    #10
    chewingthefat
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/10 11:25:41 (permalink)
    I never could figure out how to use them!
    #11
    Sundancer7
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/10 11:40:40 (permalink)
    chewingthefat

    I never could figure out how to use them!

     
    I am not a techie but I have no issues with the process.  I simply wand my frequent shopper card at either Food City or Krogers and then wand each item.  Finish and insert cash or credit card.  You have to bag each item so that the computer will recoginize that you have bagged it.
     
    Outta there then.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN

    #12
    ces1948
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/10 11:52:06 (permalink)
    If I thought for a minute that doing away with self service checkout would result in more people being hired I would be all for it. I think we all know that they probably will just tell the kid stocking the canned goods  that he's the "code whatever" checker and will come open a register when called. Only problem is the person stocking frozen goods will have to wheel everything back to the freezer before they can open a register.
    #13
    ces1948
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/10 11:55:15 (permalink)
    I was wondering if any of you have these metro or euro lines they talk about in the article and if so how does that work out?
     
    #14
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/10 14:40:02 (permalink)
    jaylhorner

    I only use self check out lines.  I enables me to double check what I am charged.... the cashiers are too fast!


    This is another reason I like self-checkouts.  Late one afternoon I was buying four cartons of 12-pack can soda that was in their ad at 4 for $11, at one of our Kroger stores a few months ago.  Kroger has the practice of not taking ad price reductions off the bill until the bill is totaled at the end, and the regular price of the soda at that time was 4 for $13.  I noticed immediately at the end that the $2 reduction had not been taken off of my bill and notified the attendant, who put in the $2 credit on my machine. 
     
    If I had been going thru a regular checkout I probably would not have noticed the mistake until I looked at my receipt when I got home, and maybe by then I would have felt it was not worth the time and the gas to go back to the store.  For that matter, since I doubt if it was just an error at that one register and more likely one in the entire system, how many other people who bought that brand of soda that day had already been overcharged $2 whether they went thru the self-check out or the manned registers without ever noticing it until they got home (or maybe never finding out).
    #15
    Foodbme
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/10 21:25:40 (permalink)
    ces1948
    I was wondering if any of you have these metro or euro lines they talk about in the article and if so how does that work out?

    Fresh & Easy Stores in CA and AZ are British owned and have Euro scanners. You start like your using a Self checkout then start scanning and put it on a belt that takes it to a bagger who bags it in your cart or basket. There's no weighing involved. You're replacing the Cashier by doing exactly what they did. If you have a problem, the bagger/helper is right there. When finished you pay like at a self checkout, get your cart and thank the kid. I like them much better than the Yankee Scanners. WAY Fewer problems.
    I HATE the Yankee Scanners! At least 50 % of the time I have a problem with something and wind up spending more time there than if I was in a regular checkout PLUS raising my Blood Pressure about 20 points. I always let someone in management know how I feel about the Dammed Things when I leave.
    Like Al Gore and the Internet, I take full credit for their demise!
    post edited by Foodbme - 2011/07/10 21:28:44
    #16
    sk bob
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/10 21:42:37 (permalink)
    Google the "Hi & Lois" cartoon for todays , 7-10-11, newspaper comic section.
    it applies well with this topic.
    BTW the cartoonist for this strip lives in the Ridgefield-Wilton section of Connecticut & includes local establishments in the strip.   
    #17
    David_NYC
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/10 23:23:12 (permalink)
    I recently was in a independent supermarket on the road somewhere that was in the process of being remodeled. There were signs composed with a word processing software package and printed on 8 1/2 X 11 paper that were posted all around the store stating that the self service checkouts were removed because they wanted to provide more personalized service and had hired additional cashiers. This store was not in a scary neighborhood, either.
     
    I have noticed as the years went on that these machines were not being maintained as well as when first rolled out. In the NYC Metro area at least, they kept introducing more and more anti-shoplifting features. Canteloupes would always bomb out because they all have the same code but are sold in different sizes. During bumper crop seasons, they always required a manual reset of the lane because they were so heavy. Then, if I were to put the cantelouples in a plastic bag, the LED sensors in the towers would bomb out because it would appear to be oversize. The gestapo-like geniuses at A&P (now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization proceedings)-owned Pathmark supermarkets made all produce purchases manual - they had to be "keyed-through" by the attendant, including cello-wrapped iceberg lettuce with a UPC symbol on it. Walk away from the front of the scanner to put something in the further-most bag and the thing would bomb out and had to be reset by the attendant. With time, they got sloppy with programming price reductions into the scanners, and half the coupons would not be automatically accepted. The verbal prompts were stupid. The scanners programmers were probably offshore who knew nothing about American culture. I openly mispronounce the name of the Fujitsu scanners, replacing the "j" with a "sh".
     
    I hope it was the shoplifters who are making it better for all of us. As for long wait times on either conventional or metro lines, that is a function of how cheap the local manager is, and how well he corrals goofing-off employees.
     
    #18
    Foodbme
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/10 23:42:43 (permalink)
    ann peeples

    I cannot stand self check out aisles. I would rather stand in line.

    Around here you also stand in line for Self Checkout.
    It's not about customer convenience; it's about employee headcount.
    #19
    eruby
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/11 08:53:34 (permalink)
    ann peeples

    I cannot stand self check out aisles. I would rather stand in line.
    I agree, except since my parents were from New York, I stand on line.  

    #20
    aceoperative
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/18 15:15:51 (permalink)
    I hate self checkouts, I purposely wait in line even if the self check out is empty, my mom have been a checker for 25years they used to make decent money, now they are being replaced with a machine. I love the fact that companies are taking them out way to go.
    #21
    bartl
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/18 19:24:48 (permalink)
    I find that, 9 times out of 10, I have to call over the attendant in self-checkouts. Something always goes wrong, somewhere.
     
    Bart
    #22
    NascarDad
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/18 20:00:00 (permalink)
    Hate the self checkout with a passion.  tried them twice.  the second time kept bombing out and I had a cart overflowing with groceries. \, and I had to keep emptying them and starting over. 
    Finally after 5 start overs, no one showed up to help,  so I left the groceries right there and walked out of the store, 200 dollars worth of groceries sitting there and I didnt go back to that store location again, ever and didnt go back to Kroger until Ukrops closed.
    #23
    Cosmos
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/18 22:14:28 (permalink)
    I use them all the time and enjoy them. I know what produce I purchased...most of the cashiers don't have a clue...
    #24
    hatteras04
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/19 09:01:40 (permalink)
    There is a Kroger around the corner from my office that mostly caters to students and they recently removed the last two regular lanes so self-checkout is the only option.  I only stop there if I need one or two things as I hate chekcing out big orders on them. 
    #25
    PokeYerNose
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/19 14:03:58 (permalink)
    Last year I went shopping for a packet of flower seeds.
     
    I went to the self-checkout lane and scanned the little envelope of seeds.  The robot said "place your item in the bag".  I put it in the bag.
     
    The robot repeated "put your item in the bag".  I picked it out of the bag and put it back in.
     
    The robot said "put your item in the bag".  I finally gave up and got the self-check attendant, who used some sort of code to override the system.  I guess the little envelope with some flower seeds was so light that it didn't even register on the scale.
     
     
     
    #26
    ces1948
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/19 18:42:27 (permalink)
    Yes I would they were too light to register on the scale. Some of the self checkouts have a skip bagging option but that defeats part of the security as it is supposed to weigh what just scanned and compare it to the UPC. 
    #27
    ces1948
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/19 21:42:20 (permalink)
    That's interesting because Kroger was one of the chains that was talking about doing away with them.
     
     
    hatteras04

    There is a Kroger around the corner from my office that mostly caters to students and they recently removed the last two regular lanes so self-checkout is the only option.  I only stop there if I need one or two things as I hate chekcing out big orders on them. 


    #28
    David_NYC
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/21 09:15:00 (permalink)
    PokeYerNose

    Last year I went shopping for a packet of flower seeds.

    I went to the self-checkout lane and scanned the little envelope of seeds.  The robot said "place your item in the bag".  I put it in the bag.

    The robot repeated "put your item in the bag".  I picked it out of the bag and put it back in.

    The robot said "put your item in the bag".  I finally gave up and got the self-check attendant, who used some sort of code to override the system.  I guess the little envelope with some flower seeds was so light that it didn't even register on the scale.




    I would have taken a Magic Marker and wrote on the machine "This machine has a scale to weigh your purchases because we think all customers are thieves."
    #29
    ces1948
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    Re:Supermarkets consider replacing self-checkout lanes 2011/07/21 09:31:12 (permalink)
    A few years ago when these first came out a store manager told me this story. They had a salad bar which sold by the pound. I knew from experience that you could easily have 3 lbs of stuff depending on the type items you put in the container. I believe at the time it $4.99 a pound. It seems that some would load up at the salad bar and when they got to the self checkout they would enter the PLU for some cheap produce item and walk out after paying a $1 or so.
    #30
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