Skip to main content

Against the Self-Checkout

Retailers are finally starting to get rid of self-checkout lanes at their stores. I'm neither surprised nor heartbroken by this development. I've found self-checkout to be more trouble than it's worth, and I avoid it whenever possible.

(from pin add on Flickr)

My beef isn't with self-checkout itself, it's with the fact that it's poorly implemented in a lot of stores. It could be a great substitute for the "express" checkout, because there are some stores I don't even bother shopping at if I'm not buying a full basket of stuff, because I have no choice but to stand behind people doing their heavy shopping.

The real problem with self-checkout is that there's no predictability. When you get into a regular line behind someone with a cart full of stuff, you can reasonably guess how long it's going to take for the cashier to ring them up. When you get in line behind someone at the self-checkout, you have to wait for them to awkwardly try to find their produce in a big on-screen list, you have to wait for an employee to come over and properly ring up their beer and wine, you have to watch them fumble with coupons. It's often a total mess.

If self-checkouts were exclusively for customers with less than 10 items, all of which have bar codes and aren't alcoholic, then I'd be all for it. For that matter, I wish there were more express lanes generally, but stores have apparently decided they aren't worth it.

Comments

rg said…
Agree 100 percent! Another annoying aspect of self checkout is the way the computer flips out if you don't place your scanned items in the bagging area in a difficult to determine but very exact manner.
DK said…
Well I personally like self-checkouts, but agree that they're often abused. They should be for people who are only there to get one or two or a few items and get out as fast as possible. But too many people have a habit of doing their regular shopping with them.

I once was about to check out at one, and the guy ahead of me using it was kinda old and had his entire cart full (practically overflowing) of canned food. I'm like "I'm using a different checkout."
Brad said…
I don't think the self-checkouts at the 17th St Safeway have much improved life. But oh sweet Jesus, don't take the ones at CVS away, plunging us back into the Molasses Hell of "service" by CVS employees. Perhaps because everything is packaged and shopping lists are short at the pharmacies we love to hate, the self-checkout works at CVS.

Popular posts from this blog

In Praise of Southwest's 'C' Boarding Group

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from someone complaining that their Southwest Airlines boarding pass had been assigned A20 (meaning they would be at least one of the first twenty passengers to board the plane). Apparently this person though they should have been assigned a higher number, less their flight experience be considerably spoiled.

Despite the complaints, Southwest has resisted demands to assign seats on its flights, a decision which I personally applaud. I'll admit that I was skeptical when they rolled out the newest boarding procedure, assigning both boarding groups and a line number; but in hindsight it seems like one of the best operational decisions they've ever made. If nothing else, it effectively eliminated the infamous "cattle call" whereby fliers were getting to airports hours in advance and sitting in line on the floor as if they were waiting for the midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie.

When I was an intern at Southwest Airlines last winter, I…

So You Want to be a Southwest Airlines Intern?

My personal website must have pretty decent SEO - because in the past year, I've received about two dozen emails from aspiring Southwest Airlines interns looking to draw on my experience in search of their own dream internship. In the past two weeks alone a few new emails have already started rolling in...

(from flickr user San Diego Shooter)

If you've found your way here, you might be hoping for the silver bullet; a secret tip that will propel you above the competition. Unfortunately, I do not know any inside secrets. I can only share my experience as an internship candidate about two years ago and, rather than responding individually to future emails I anticipate to receive, I hope that potential interns will find the information posted here valuable.

Understand: Southwest Airlines is a very unique company. The corporate culture at Southwest is truly unlike that of nearly every other company. But you probably already knew that, since it now seems mandatory for every management,…

Good Advertising

The blogosphere seems to be one fire over Microsoft's new "Lauren" TV commercial. Frankly, I don't see what the commotion is about.



If the critics are correct, then "Lauren" is actually Lauren De Long, a Screen Actors Guild eligible actress; and apparently, if you look close enough, she never even enters the Apple store.

Even if all of that is true, it doesn't refute the fact that Apple's laptops are significantly more expensive than most PCs. It isn't a lie that Apple doesn't sell any 17-inch laptops for less than a grand. The advertisement doesn't make any reference to the quality of the machines (or contest any of the claims made in Apple's "I'm a PC" commercials) or provide any good reason to buy one other than price.

As far as I can tell, after years of horrible commercials and a series of flops, Microsoft seems to finally have hired an ad agency that put together a decent advertisement. It's not likely to persuad…