No More Checkers In Grocery Stores? : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

I go to this store specifically to be able to use one of the two self-checkout counters. I have actually gone in, grabbed a cold drink, checked out and exited the store in less than 4 minutes.

People who try it and get confused are always helped by customers who are veterens. They are monitored by camera's but not many people have tried to cheat. My daughter once left something in the shopping cart partially obscurred by my purse and we were informed that we needed to "check it out" so I am more careful now. Since even the fruit now has a sticker, it is easy to use and fast.

I like them. I always lke to bag my own groceries so I can bag items for different storage areas together and save time and hassle at home.

No More Checkers In Grocery Stores?

Click here to see a video of this story. July 19, 2000


The checker, and the wait: They've always been a part of the grocery store experience.

But now technology let's you bypass both, with do-it-yourself checkout scanners.

You just drag the items into the light beam and the machine tallies them up. You settle up using credit, an ATM card, even cash. Just feed bills into the machine and it will spit out your change.

The new machines have been used for a year now in the Albertsons store on North 130th Street and Aurora Avenue in North Seattle and they'll be going in at all new and remodeled Albertsons.

Similar devices have just been added to 11 Fred Meyer stores, and more are on the way.

The devices are similar to the scanners checkers use, with technology to help you do a lot of the work yourself.

You put produce on the scale and then punch in the code, or choose from a list of items. And "age-sensitive" items like wine, beer, cigarettes, and inhalants set off a red light and stop the process until an employee checks the I.D. of the buyers to make sure they aren't minors.

Also, the devices have security measures in place that detect if an item isn't being scanned.

Mixed Reactions

So far, the scanners have mixed reviews with customers

"It was fast checking it out," says Chris Facey of Seattle. But he thought paying was slow.

"As far as transaction, it took a little while," he says.

Joan Sungreen of Seattle had a different take.

"I love it," she says. "I've done it many times, and my grandchildren are terribly impressed that I can do it."

Of course, the convenience this technology has to offer does raise the question of cost in human terms. Do we lose the smile, the personal touch that comes with a real checker? Will they just become a high-priced premium?

Stay tuned.

-- Cherri (, July 20, 2000


I haven't seen those yet. I could lose more icons in my life if this becomes commonplace...not that I wouldn't use it.

-- Anita (, July 20, 2000.


Thanks for fixing the bold font I forgot close :o)

What are you doing up so late?

Something new also is where you can get a bar code reader and scan items in your home to order replaceement, you down load the info from the hands held bar code reader into your computer so you can order on-line. I have lost the url to the website where this was offered, but maybe a trip through my history will help me find it.

-- Cherri (, July 20, 2000.

When ATMs were introduced, the main goal of the banks was to reduce their labor costs, as well as brick-and-mortar expenses. More recently, instead of just saving the banks money, they decided that having their customers do the work of tellers (to some extent) should be a profit center, and now customers are charged fees for using ATMs.

Self-checkout saves stores money. Not only are the savings not being passed to the early adapters, but soon customers will be charged MORE to do the job of checkers .

-- Scarecrow (Somewhere@Over.Rainbow), July 20, 2000.

Spend the day conducting e-business over the web. Self-scan your groceries at the store. Drop by the local ATM to deposit a few checks and withdraw a buck or two. Get some gas at the self-service station by inserting your card and pumping your own. Answer a couple e-mails in the evening and drop by a Chat Room to insult a few people you've never met and never will... There are probably people who've become hermits and don't even realize it.

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), July 20, 2000.

1. Spend the day conducting e-business over the web. Crossed off my list.

2. Self-scan your groceries at the store. Crossed off my list.

3. Drop by the local ATM to deposit a few checks and withdraw a buck or two. Crossed off my list.

4. Get some gas at the self- service station by inserting your card and pumping your own. Crossed off my list.

5. Answer a couple e-mails in the evening and drop by a Chat Room to insult a few people you've never met and never will... Yo mama so fat that she took out all of the seats in her 12 passenger van and when she drives she sits in the back seat (an is still crowded). Crossed off my list.

-- Butt Nugget (, July 20, 2000.

No, no, no. BAD IDEA.

Here in Columbus, two of the chain food stores hire the developmentally disabled for cashering and bagging positions. It's already tough enough for folks like them to find low-level jobs that aren't "make work." I don't mind an extra few minutes in line now and again (I generally shop at off-off peak hours, 7 am and such) so that they aren't just collecting some public money. Meijer has added a few of these auto-checkouts, and I've already sent several blistering letters to their management about not getting more.

-- (, July 20, 2000.

I'm with KB8 and scarecrow on this. I do not want a future where human interaction is eliminated. It is hard enough, as kb said, for some folks to get a job who are disadvantaged. There is also the problem with items scanning incorrectly-there are huge errors every day with this, up to 12% a day during the last study. Recently I had mushroom that were $3.99 a pound scan at $39.99 a pound. I am glad I caught that one. Anyway, with those kind of errors now we can stop a human in its tracks. With these stupid systems, they are going to ask for our money first no matter how many errors are made in the scanning. You will either pay, or call for help-in the call for help scenario, the line gets held up while a supervisor checks the price. And will these systems be able to make the adjustment en route to the final total? Or will you have to complete the transaction, and then have to go someplace else in the store to take care of the overcharge? So much for saving time.

I do not trust this. I have noticed many. many errors over the year with items scanning improperly. Nix this idea now.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), July 20, 2000.

The real problem will be when there's no GROCERIES in the store.

-- Sure (, July 20, 2000.

Anita, I tried it, it was fun......But they also had a checker in place for those of us cashierly challenged....grin.

-- consumer (, July 20, 2000.

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