Are Grocery Store Self-Service Checkouts Over?

Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, self-service checkout lanes at the grocery store may become a thing of the past

When first introduced nearly 10 years ago, supermarket self-service checkout lanes were intended to cut labor costs and get consumers in and out of the store quickly and efficiently. But according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, it seems their popularity is waning, with most customers opting for a cashier rather than a touch screen computer. According to a recent report by the Food Marketing Institute, about 16 percent of supermarket customers used self-service lanes last year, down from almost 20 percent in 2006.

Issues with scanning barcodes, coupons and finding produce codes as well as having to bag your own groceries all cause backups in self-service lanes, oftentimes resulting in a checkout experience that takes longer than having a cashier scan and bag your haul.

And that whole saving on labor costs thing? Well, the number of employees on hand to deal with these problems pretty much takes care of that.  Some supermarkets are eliminating self-check lanes entirely for that very reason.

The majority of those in favor of self-check are younger, more technologically savvy, and can breeze through the computerized process with no problem at all. They say that self-service is much quicker, especially when it comes to smaller orders.  

Whether or not self-checkout lanes are here to stay remains to be seen because, after all, a trip to the grocery store is all about choice, even when it comes time to decide how you'd like to be rung up.

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