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Self-Checkouts Remain Hot Topic Locally and Nationally

Monday, November 4, 2019 @ 12:11 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

Kathleen Holmes-Smith, Chris Finley, Mary FinleyCLARION CO., Pa. (EYT) – Lauded by some as the wave of the future and detested by others who prefer cashiers, self-checkouts remain a hot topic both locally and on a national scale.

(Photo by Gunnar Rathbun/Invision for Walmart/AP Images.)

While a report from RBR, the London-based firm which tracks the global self-checkout penetration rate, indicates that self-checkout sales continue to reach new highs, consumer reactions to the trend remain mixed.

ExploreClarion.com asked local residents for their input in this matter, and
one of the primary complaints about self-checkouts is the fear that they are taking away jobs.

“In a community where jobs are scarce, and businesses are closing doors left and right such as the glass plant, K-mart, Label Shopper, Kay’s, Comet, and the dealership, just to name a few, I think it’s important we promote jobs as much as we can. Whether it be a local mom and pop store, or a corporate company, we need jobs in this area. We can’t afford to lose employment opportunities. So, I say promote the cashiers jobs. Yes it takes a couple minutes to wait in line, but those couple minutes helps someone else keep the lights on,” Karrie Langworthy said.

Lilly-Ann Keister said that she wishes stores would simply hire more check-out clerks for the stations available and cut back on the number of self-checkout stations.

“Self checkout stations are helpful, but should not be the norm. Could we not get more people working in the community and provide better service to the shoppers? How many times have I walked into a store equipped with many many check out lines to discover that only one or two clerks actually running the stations? More often than not.

“Currently for example, in a local store, instead of manning the registers, there are employees checking receipts at the door. Really? This is customer service? The store doesn’t have enough registers open to service the clientele, check them out in a timely manner, and keep the lines shorter, but someone is at the door seeing that shoppers are honest with the items in the cart? Of course shoppers opt for the self-checkout because they’re not getting true service from the facility,” Keister added.

Others also feel like they are doing some of the work of the business by checking themselves out.

“If you want me to check out my own purchase, I want an employee discount,” Art Peterse said.

“Why should we have to check ourselves out? What’s next – stocking the shelves?!?” asked Cara Brosnahan Rugh.

And, Donna Yeager Kandor said that she doesn’t want to work at Walmart or Target or Giant Eagle.

“I feel like I’m paying them and working for them,” she noted.

However, on the other side of the coin, the claim that self-checkouts do not eliminate jobs and actually provide for more jobs in the long run.

Kevin Ora Wurster Jr. said, “I don’t see them taking jobs either as you need programmers to keep them updated, as well as maintenance to fix them should one break.”

It was suggested that take away the element of social interaction, which can be a plus for some individuals with social anxiety or someone who is an introvert.

“I have pretty bad social anxiety so I prefer to use the self checkout,” Jaclyn Robinson said.

“I love them. I’m highly introverted, and I don’t want to have to engage in conversation or exchange pleasantries when I get groceries,” noted Tina Horner.

Yet, Jodi Stutzman sees self-checkouts as a hindrance to people who like and need to interact with others.

“They take away the experience of social interactions and jobs. We all need to communicate and interact with others for our social and emotional well being. For a person who doesn’t get out much except to go to the store this is a needed experience. People need people and I enjoy talking to and interacting with my cashier,” Stutzman explained.

One of the other major problems some individuals noted with self-checkouts are issues with malfunctions and receipt checks.

“There is always something that doesn’t scan properly or is rejected or I can’t find it in the produce lookup. So then you’re looking around, pleading with the lone person watching over the self check-out folks, to come over and fix it for you. The time that takes, you could have checked out at a regular cash register already,” noted Claudia Thies.

“I like them when they work properly. I can’t remember the last time I used one and didn’t have to signal an employee to come fix an error message on the screen,” Chelsey Trumbull added.

Theresa Zacherl Edder noted that she doesn’t see self-checkouts as time-saving because of their receipt check at the door.

“If self-check out is intended to be convenient and save the customer time, it is a wasted effort when you reach the door and you’re expected to produce your receipt to show you’ve paid for all the items. I don’t think Walmart thinks through their processes.”

The issue of thefts at self checkouts is also a concern.

“The reason I don’t like them is every time you read about someone stealing from Walmart, it almost always have something to do with the self-checkout,” Matthew Pyne stated.

“Just an easy way to let the dishonest people steal easier and more,” noted Rose Marie.

Some even see self-checkouts in the context of larger societal issues.

“These self checkouts are just another example of the ‘immediacy’ of our society. People seem to be in a rush – rushing from one activity to the next, almost robotic like, and the quicker they can accomplish each activity, the better. Where is the enjoyment in that!?” asked Liz Graham.

Whatever issues there may be, there are still many people who find the self checkouts a handy option.

“I love them! Quick and easy plus I get to bag my own items keeping my frozen items with the frozen items and the bread with the bread,” noted Jillian Benn.

“I prefer to use the self checkout. I can scan and bag a whole cart full in the time it takes a cashier to do half of it. Its quicker and less stressful. Another good point, it’s easier when you need to use a bunch of loose change,” said Jaclyn Robinson

“Self-checkout is great! Faster checkout, no awkward human interaction, and can bag your items as you see fit,” Kiersten Rhoads added.


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