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Thread: Self check-out at grocery stores revisited

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Self check-out at grocery stores revisited

    So I found myself laughing at Oregonians that are afraid to pump their own gas and it has caused me to revisit the issue of self-checkouts at the grocery store. You've probably had self checkouts in your neck of the woods for the past decade or so. I believe we even had a thread here about it. I was opposed to self-checkouts at that time. But have my views changed during the last decade?

    I've used self-checkouts maybe a dozen times or so over past several years.......and no, I am still of the opinion I would rather use a non-automated checkout. Yes, there is the matter of providing humans a livelihood, but my biggest objection is still that they are usually not as fast as a non-automated checkout, particularly the larger the number of items purchased, and especially where produce that has to be classified and weighed and alcohol purchases are concerned.

    What's your take on automated checkout aisles? Do you use them? Do you think they're quicker than a manned aisle?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Big Owl's avatar
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    The phrase "unexpected item in the bagging area" is the battle cry of the machines who will ultimately defeat us.


    I all seriousness, I'd rather not use self check out but I will if it appears to be the fastest way out of the store.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Big Owl View post
    The phrase "unexpected item in the bagging area" is the battle cry of the machines who will ultimately defeat us.


    I all seriousness, I'd rather not use self check out but I will if it appears to be the fastest way out of the store.
    What you said, both times.

    My biggest complaint is more about the people in line behind me who start scanning their things before I’m finished packing mine. One of these times, I’m going to pack one of their items into my bag, since politely asking them to wait causes a fight.

    I’ll use the self scanners that are designed for 12 items or less if it means I get out of the store faster.

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    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I prefer the manned aisles. My philosophy is that if I wanted to check out my own groceries, I'd work in a grocery store!

    If I have more groceries than I can carry in my arms, I always go to the manned aisles. If I have just a couple things, I will still go to a manned aisle if there is one with just about nobody in line. If not, I'll go to the manned aisle. If I am just getting a couple things and don't need a bunch of bags, I think doing it myself is usually quicker but if I have a bunch of stuff, using the pros is much much faster.

    A couple of years ago Kroger closed down one of the stores a few miles from our local store and a lot of the staff got moved into our store. Ever since then, our store has had really good checkout service with every lane open almost all the time and, multiple baggers roving between all the lanes, and even a couple of clerks at the bank of self checkouts to help out.

    I wish Target had self checkout lines. I only go into Target a few times a year but it doesn't seem to matter what time of day, what time of year, or what day of the week, there is never more than two lanes open and there are lines of people snaking through the aisles. And I'm never there to buy more than one or two items, which makes it feel that much worse. Do the Target stores by other people have self checkout?
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  5. #5
    Only one of the stores I used has them. I normally bring my bags, so I avoid it because of the aforementioned unexpected item. Also, as Maister said, I'd rather support a store that has humans at the checkout. We need to put off Skynet as long as possible.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I'll use them when I just have a couple things. It gets me out faster. If I have produce I'll use the person. All those stupid codes to type in kill me.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

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    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I prefer the manned aisles. My philosophy is that if I wanted to check out my own groceries, I'd work in a grocery store!

    If I have more groceries than I can carry in my arms, I always go to the manned aisles. If I have just a couple things, I will still go to a manned aisle if there is one with just about nobody in line. If not, I'll go to the manned aisle. If I am just getting a couple things and don't need a bunch of bags, I think doing it myself is usually quicker but if I have a bunch of stuff, using the pros is much much faster.

    A couple of years ago Kroger closed down one of the stores a few miles from our local store and a lot of the staff got moved into our store. Ever since then, our store has had really good checkout service with every lane open almost all the time and, multiple baggers roving between all the lanes, and even a couple of clerks at the bank of self checkouts to help out.

    I wish Target had self checkout lines. I only go into Target a few times a year but it doesn't seem to matter what time of day, what time of year, or what day of the week, there is never more than two lanes open and there are lines of people snaking through the aisles. And I'm never there to buy more than one or two items, which makes it feel that much worse. Do the Target stores by other people have self checkout?
    The ones in Chicago do. I think I use them more than the human check outs. Off hand I think all the express lanes are self checkout.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian The Terminator's avatar
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    The Target I go to in The Bronx, NY has a loss prevention problem, so you can't leave the store now without showing a receipt to "the guards", it causes long lines to exit the store. I stopped going there and now I hit up a nearby Kmart that will probably close in a year so everything is perpetually on clearance. The "basic editions" shirts they sell rival thrift store prices, so I get all my throwaway work outfits from there.

    I dont mind self checkout unless I am buying Beer, than a human needs to come and look at my ID.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I prefer the manned aisles. My philosophy is that if I wanted to check out my own groceries, I'd work in a grocery store!

    If I have more groceries than I can carry in my arms, I always go to the manned aisles. If I have just a couple things, I will still go to a manned aisle if there is one with just about nobody in line. If not, I'll go to the manned aisle. If I am just getting a couple things and don't need a bunch of bags, I think doing it myself is usually quicker but if I have a bunch of stuff, using the pros is much much faster. ...
    "Staffed" is the term you're needing here.

    Speaking of pros, I can zip through a self-serve aisle much faster than a staffed one. Bananas are 4011 (do it enough times, you memorize the codes). Dn't scan a mango, the system won't recognize it. "Unidentified item in bagging area," jiggle the scale. Insert a coupon or bottle slip that's not acknowledged: add air to the the slot.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    If it's just a couple things, I'm with everyone else - I'll go to the self check-out if it's an option. If I'm buying alcohol, I go to a manned check-out. If it's an in-between amount of things, it just depends a little bit. A lot of our grocery stores don't have someone that exclusively bags, so the one person is both scanning your items, and bagging them, and it's up to me to get the stuff in my cart. That's probably my least preferred method since I always feel rushed to get my card and receipt back in my wallet/purse and then get the bags into my cart before I have a chance to get my stuff mixed up with the person behind me. And yes, I put the bags in my cart as they go, but you always have to pay before you're finished getting the bags from the little twirly bagging area into your cart...

  11. #11
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    Speaking of pros, I can zip through a self-serve aisle much faster than a staffed one. Bananas are 4011 (do it enough times, you memorize the codes). Dn't scan a mango, the system won't recognize it. "Unidentified item in bagging area," jiggle the scale. Insert a coupon or bottle slip that's not acknowledged: add air to the the slot.
    Bananas and Granny Smith apples are the only codes I can recall off the top of my head (the apples are 4017). I remember them from running into the store to buy one of each so many mornings on my way to work.
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    Mod Gedunker's avatar
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    I avoid the self-scan check outs to the greatest extent feasible. I will use the one at Target if everyone ahead of me has carts full of stuff and I have only one or two things. Otherwise, uh-uh. My Kroger is an older, smaller store (about 45,000 sq ft, vs the regional Kroger that just enlarged to 125,000 sq ft), but the staff are superfriendly and they get us through the line and bagged up very quickly. Plus, I just like some human interaction, even if it's just a "hey, how's it going" thing. Machines - blechh.
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian Salmissra's avatar
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    My grocery store here does not have them, but there's always at least one separate express lane only open. I don't mind the idea of automated lanes at the grocery store, but I really want the machine to know the codes and be able to self-replenish the receipt tape, scan my license if I'm buying alcohol, etc.

    Target has the automated lanes. I'll use them for quick trips in, or if I'm with my husband. He avoids the staffed check out as much as possible. He will take a full cart through the automated simply to avoid talking to a checker.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

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    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    I'll hit it if I have 5 or 6 items and no alcohol.

    Right now I'll keep it to very standard items too. No fruit or vegetables that need codes. Just boxed items that are quick and easy, otherwise there's no time savings.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

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    Cyburbian Big Owl's avatar
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    Sam's club, at least the local one has a scan and go app for your mobile device. I can scan as I shop and check out as I am walking toward the door. I like it because the lines at the registers for Sam's Club are typically long no matter when you go.

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    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I like them but I often get the "unexpected item in your bag" if I put it in the bag too quickly which is a pain
    Kim Wexler: Either you fit the jacket... or the jacket fits you.

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    Cyburbian MD Planner's avatar
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    I hate them on general principle but will use one if I have exactly one item and there is no one waiting to use the self-checkout. Otherwise I have no problem waiting for a person to take care of me.
    He's a planner, he's a dreamer, he's a sordid little schemer,
    Seems to think that money grows on trees . . .

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    I like them but I often get the "unexpected item in your bag" if I put it in the bag too quickly which is a pain
    The bagging area is a scale and can be very frustrating if you buy a greeting card or a big, heavy item.

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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I don't generally use them. Sams Club is the exception because of their scan-on-the-go tool and how stacked their checkouts typically are.

    One thing I do prefer is to bag my own groceries. I was a grocery checker & bagger once upon a time, and I am very particular about how my grocery bags get packed. This is especially true since I use reusable grocery bags that are larger than normal.

    I still have a lot of the PLU codes memorized, so I'll occasionally chime in if the checker is new and doesn't have them memorized.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    I tend not to want bags for things that have handles. Loose items need a bag. A drink 6-pk, don't put it in a bag. A pre-sealed mesh bag of oranges, don't bag that. Then when only one item gets placed in a bag, come on really.

    I have taken things out of the bag at checkout and said "I don't need a bag for that. I'll just have to recycle it" and left the bag on the counter.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  21. #21
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planit View post
    I tend not to want bags for things that have handles. Loose items need a bag. A drink 6-pk, don't put it in a bag. A pre-sealed mesh bag of oranges, don't bag that. Then when only one item gets placed in a bag, come on really.

    I have taken things out of the bag at checkout and said "I don't need a bag for that. I'll just have to recycle it" and left the bag on the counter.
    I take things out of bags at the register all the time. The baggers at my store tend to overdue things, especially when using the plastic bags, and will sometimes put way too many things in a bag all by themselves. I don't need a bag for a loaf of bread and another bag for a package of hot dog buns and a third bag for a bunch of bananas!

    I try to remember my own bags but am still not that great at doing so.
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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I try to remember my own bags but am still not that great at doing so.
    About the only time I seem to remember that is when I shop at Aldi's. And that's only because they don't HAVE bags for groceries
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post

    I try to remember my own bags but am still not that great at doing so.
    Mrs. P keeps those in the trunk of her car and uses them every time. I don't carry any so I don't use them.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I never use my own bags. I'm just picking up a couple things so plastic is fine with me. My wife uses the fancy bags all the time. I keep bringing them home from conferences so she doesn't have the usual Walmart/Target/Etc. bags. Hers advertise planning firms or FEMA. Of course when I bring the nice insulated bags, those seem to just disappear. No idea what happened to them.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I use self check-out almost exclusively at Club Sam. What slows things down a bit is the wine. A clerk needs to come to the check-out to verify my age--that only takes a few seconds. One of the clerks recognizes me and rushes over to assist. I've downloaded the scan and go app but have yet to use it. I'm somewhat of a luddite.
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