Is Self-Service Checking Out?
Good riddance as far as I'm concerned. If I'm good enough to shop in your store, you should be good enough to bag my items for me. A wink or a smile doesn't hurt either.
Start waving goodbye to what was once hailed as the wave of the future -- self-service checkouts.
Several nationwide grocery chains recently reported that they're bagging the automated checkouts. But the DIY machines have been losing their luster for a while. In 2010, only 16 percent of supermarket transactions were done at self-checkout lanes, down from 22 percent three years ago, according to the Food Marketing Institute in Arlington, Va.
The checkouts, which debuted 10 years ago, were designed to cut the time spent waiting in line for shoppers and reduce labor costs for stores.
Some retailers also hoped they would be a surefire way to make a positive impression on customers, said supermarket analyst David Livingston of DJL Research in Waukesha, Wis.
"Not all stores can hire friendly, attractive employees who leave a favorable experience," he said. "Sometimes a self-service checkout leaves a more positive feeling."
While some shoppers enjoy the autonomy, Madeline Forbes of Minneapolis said she uses self-service only as a last resort.