Before self-scan kiosks, there were and still are express lanes in stores. These lanes are dedicated to customers who have a smaller number of items (between 8-16, depending on the store) and enable them to get through the line quickly to make their purchase. Dirty confession time: Alright, so sometimes I will sneak in a couple of items so it may be more than the required amount, but who doesn’t do that?? There’s a BIG difference between one or two extra items versus ten, so please don’t be that jerk in the express line, who claims to have not read the sign as the cashier is ringing in your purchases.
Before I delve into the setbacks that self-scan kiosks have, I will emphasize its benefits. The wait time can be pretty short IF people know how to use them and are efficient. I almost always go to the self-scan kiosks if there isn’t much of a line. There tends to be no line or shorter lines for the kiosks.
The downsides to these kiosks, especially when it comes to grocery stores is that if you have discounted produce, you need an attendant to key in the discount. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of self-scanning if you need an employee to help you out? I don’t recall ever seeing an option to use coupons either for the kiosks. Sometimes it doesn’t scan properly or scan right away and then you end up scanning the item three times. Thus, you need the attendant’s help again.
Imagine that situation happened simultaneously at the 4-8 self-scan kiosks and there is only one kiosk attendant to help resolve the issue. The wait time at the self-scan kiosks just got longer.
I am NOT encouraging this practice in any way, but it makes it easier to not scan an item at all. Since there is only one attendant to so many kiosks, not scanning an item or scanning only one item of three of the same item can easily go undetected. The attendant isn’t always watching and their attention can be shifted to someone else who needs help, who are often (but not always) elderly people.
Self -scan Checkouts At Ikea and Home Depot
All of a sudden I am thinking of that lady in the Ikea commercial running out of the store and screaming to her husband, “START THE CAR!! START THE CAR!!” Does anybody remember that? The only difference is that she paid for all her items. They just happened to all be on sale, rather than a five-finger discount.
While improper scanning practices may seem trivial at grocery stores because most food items aren’t too expensive, I can’t help but wonder about improper scanning practices at stores such as Ikea and Home Depot in which there are larger items and items with a larger price tag. Large awkward items make it hard to find that bar code and scan it.
I’ve noticed that in the grocery stores I shop at, the self-scan checkout has a sign that actually says how many items you should have. As far I know, Ikea and Home Depot don’t have a limit for the self-scan checkout. People often scan a shopping cart full of stuff at these two stores. There isn’t any room on the self-scan checkout to place the item so you have no choice but to leave the item in the cart. Some of them scan so fast, it can be hard to tell whether or not the person has scanned absolutely everything. I have yet to see an attendant watch a customer like a hawk.
At least two attendants. While one is assisting a customer, the other attendant can watch over the rest of the kiosks.
Security cameras specifically focused in the self-checkout area or maybe within the machines themselves. The store would have solid proof of who didn’t scan all their items.
Maybe items should have security tags embedded in them, (similar to the idea of security tags on clothing) so that when you leave the store the alarm would go off and then everyone would be shocked to find out you stole or accidentally stole a box of crackers.
Clearly stores like Home Depot and Ikea aren’t hurting financially, but it’s not fair for them to take a hit on their profits due to some people trying to beat the system. It’s not fair to us honest people who use the self-scan checkout and actually pay for the item. One store that doesn’t have self-scan checkout, at least the ones I’ve been to is Wal-Mart. Every time I go, it seems their express lane is just as long as their regular lanes. Perhaps Wal-Mart values human interaction more than efficiency. To be honest, I am perfectly fine if someone doesn’t greet me when I enter the store, but I know it’s their job to acknowledge your presence.