Lowe's Self Check Out Is Apparently Just A Huge Pain In The Ass

Reader Jason says that the self check out system at his local Lowe’s simply refuses to process his debit card transaction properly. After the third time, he’s finally given up and will be shopping at Home Depot. Aren’t self check out systems supposed to be convenient?

Just had to share our recent experiences with the self-checkout POS (ironic acronym) terminals at our local Lowe’s, as this was the third and most ridiculous time this has happened:

After the long process of selecting our few meager items in a disorganized store with unhelpful employees, we make our way to the self-check out, hoping for a quick escape from the endless corridors of merchandise. Scan item, place in bag, etc.

We would like to use the debit/credit card associated with our checking account as a credit card (gotta love those bonus points), so we select the “Credit” option as our payment type. (Note that “Debit” is a completely separate option, which we did not select.) Slide card. Asked to enter PIN number. Since we do not want to use as a Debit card (with the PIN) we select the only available option: “Cancel”. We know that virtually every other self-checkout that we use will then proceed to process the transaction as a credit card transaction. But Lowe’s?

No! “Cancel” brings us back to the payment selection mode. More time wasted starting over: Re-select “Credit” as payment type. Re-swipe. Wash, rinse, repeat. In our previous two visits to Lowe’s (when the same thing happened!), the POS would finally give the option to accept the card as a credit transaction after about the 3rd or 4th cycle. Fed up that this was happening yet again (with a different card and at a different self-checkout terminal, by the way), we decided to ask for help from a clerk whom we will descriptively refer to as GrumpyOldLady.

GrumpyOldLady proceeds to emulate the futuristic characters on Star Trek as she brings up screen after screen on the POS in rapid succession, meanwhile keeping us waiting for additional minutes when we should have been long gone by now. She manually codes in all of our personal details: card number, zip code, name, on and on — some details entered more than once.

After what seems like an eternity, the result flashes on the screen: Error, cannot process transaction. (Note that there was plenty of money in the account for this measly little $6.xx transaction, so this is not an issue of insufficient funds — just a POS POS.) GrumpyOldLady then proceeds to blame us for some reason; something about not being able to read the 3-digit security code on the back of the card (cataracts?).

She offers no solution to rectify the problem.

We do, however. Thanks, but no thanks. We take the card and leave, vowing to NEVER return to any Lowe’s store. We are forced to go to the Home Depot at the other side of town.

Long story short: Lowe’s is trying to force people into Debit transactions that cost them less in processing fees. Great idea – save the Credit processing fee and waste customers’ time, causing customer to never return.

Thanks Consumerist, and goodbye Lowe’s!

Does this happen at every Lowe’s? Or is something rotten at this particular location?

Comments

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  1. nexweb says:

    Never had that problem at my Lowe’s and I use credit all the time.

  2. Dyscord says:

    You shouldn’t have had to put in the pin number if you chose credit in the first place. If a POS tells you to enter the pin or hit cancel for credit, it’s because it didn’t give you a choice before hand.

    I’ve never had this problem at ANY self checkout that I’ve been to.

  3. shoelace414 says:

    The last time I was at Home Depot there was no checkout where an average joe could go to that wasn’t a self-checkout. I wanted to use a cashier and it wasn’t an option.

    Luckily I have a really good Ace hardware in my neighborhood, so I can avoid both Lowes and Home Depot.

  4. gorckat says:

    My guess: They’ve identified the bin numbers (first 6-8 digits of a card, iirc) for

    -credit card only cards
    -credit/debit and debit only

    and use the system to steer towards the cheaper to process debit transactions.

    At least debit used to be cheaper to process.

  5. mac-phisto says:

    yeah, well good luck at home depot.

    please scan item.
    please place item in the bagging area.
    it is in the bagging area.
    please remove item from the bagging area. ok.
    please rescan item. fine.
    please place item in the bagging area. it is.
    please place item in the bagging area. it IS.
    please place item in the bagging area. IT IS DAMMIT!!!1!
    please remove item from the bagging area. ARRRGGHH!

    *head explodes*

    attention maintenance, please report to the front-end for a bio clean-up on self checkout.

  6. laserjobs says:

    After waiting in line, Home depot’s self checkout would not let me input a lenght of chain I was buying. The cashier said you can’t check that out here and pointed me to the long line with the checker. I left my absolutly full cart blocking the line exit and told her “now it is your probelm” and walked out. If a store provides a service, they should really make sure it works first.

  7. billbillbillbill says:

    Never had a problem hitting cancel and getting to sign the screen at Lowes. I try to avoid the self checkout machines when possible though. In my opinion, the Lowes around me are cleaner, more organized, and have employees that will help.

  8. Fatty Shcock says:

    In theory, self checkout is great, but in practice, it sucks.

    The Lowe’s that I go to actually is a cinch, unless the bar code reader malfunctions (suffers from bipolarism).

    At Wal-mart, it is nothing but a giant mess (at least at the one I go to), where in order for you to use coupons, the attendant has to enter them in. Also, people who seem to use it, the least experienced ones, always, and I mean ALWAYS, scans in the SAME item twice, thinking that the item didn’t go through the first time, and requires the attendant to come over and correct their mistakes.

    Also, at the Military NX, they just installed self checkouts, but they have the cashiers ring them in for you! Why call it self checkout when you can’t do it yourself?

  9. henrygates says:

    Never had that specific problem, but Lowe’s and Home Depot self checkout always have the whole “replace item, remove item, item removed, etc” repeatedly. I also wish they would give us one of those little scanner guns at the station to scan awkward large items.

    @mac-phisto: x2! Oddly, the one at the grocery store works almost flawlessly. Sounds like HD went with a cheaper system!

  10. samurailynn says:

    Our Lowe’s doesn’t have self checkout. The Home Depot self-checkout is as annoying as mac-phisto suggests though.

    It sounds like there also could have been some problem with the card communicating on the credit card network. Is it possible that it was the bank’s fault?

  11. tempest667 says:

    “After the long process of selecting our few meager items in a disorganized store with unhelpful employees..”

    You just described the Home Depots in Maryland. Usually the Lowes around here are much more organized and well lit.

    As for the POS, my debit card has to be manually entered in no matter what when I go to Lowes. I had the same issue when I used the self-check out and the women walked up and saw the bank name. She said those won’t scan and have to be manually entered. Took her about 30 seconds. Still faster than regular check out and the system beats Home Depots chaotic weight sensor. The one where if you breath on the product it requires an employee to come over and make sure your not stealing.

  12. I have experienced these at multiple locations, and I can say that it is completely dependent on the User Interface software installed. The ones I used at Stop&Shop on the east coast were great. The ones I have experienced at Home Depot are middle of the road. The ones at Lowes are abysmal

  13. Platypi {Redacted} says:

    I can’t decide which is worse. Luckily, we have Lowe’s and Home Depot side by side, in the same lot. Whichever pisses me off least, gets the business on that trip. Pricing is essentially the same, although one will sometimes carry something the other doesn’t have.

    I love the comment re: Ace Hardware. If I could go there for EVERYTHING, I would. Unfortunately, they are somewhat limited in scope as to what they carry, and they don’t carry lumber!

  14. Protector says:

    Sounds like a case of user error. I use my debit as credit all the time at Lowe’s with no problem.

    It’s worse at the grocery store when the little old ladies decide to “venture” away from the cashier and try the self check. You just want to strangle them.

  15. Velifer says:

    Never had this problem, but whenever I go through the POS, I always have an armload of bulk items (screws, bolts, and other widgets that don’t have UPCs on them) or several large items (most often lumber).

    With that cart-load, GrumpyOldLady does the cashier job like the old days when customer service meant something, and “do-it-yourself” was for the project after I got home.

  16. jharrell says:

    Possibly the card’s mag stripe is going bad. I have yet to experience this at my Lowes. Always an easy and quick self check using credit. Even if I had a bad experience I would never go back to Home Depot. Just not worth the stress. Try out ACE.

  17. nataku8_e30 says:

    Good luck with Home Depot. I tried using a gift card at one of their self checkout machines – the system had a problem and it debited the amount from the gift card and didn’t credit it toward my payment. It looked like the transaction just hadn’t gone through, so I tried again, and it took the remaining few dollars off the gift card, and then said I still owed 3/4th of the bill. I spent about 45 minutes at the customer service desk while they looked up the transaction history on the gift card and then fixed the issue. I think both Home Depot and Lowes are incredibly incompetent and I really wish I could find a good alternative in my area.

  18. bradite says:

    I wonder how much loss they are seeing through these things. Several times I have seen people not scan items and put them right in the bag. Hilarious.

  19. CodeMunkey says:

    Never had a problem at my Lowes. Right after swiping the card, the pin pad pops-up and in the lower right corner it has a CREDIT button. Simply press this button and it closes the pin pad and opens the credit signature screen.

  20. jharrell says:

    - actually thinking of OSH.

  21. @shoelace414: Yes! They do this at our local Home Depot too! It drives me crazy how you have to call the attendant over if you have something large or awkwardly shaped so they can use the handheld scanner.

    It’s a home improvement store! Everything is large and awkwardly shaped!

  22. Self checkout is evil.

    I try to buy local when I can, using local lumber stores (better quality wood than Home Despot or Lowe’s anyway), hardware stores, etc. It’s worth it to seek out a local store and patronize them, they’ll get to know you. Nice.

  23. B says:

    My biggest complaint with the self-checkout systems is it’s such a pain to use them with your own bags. Putting your own bags in the bagging area sets off an alarm as the system thinks you’re bagging an item without scanning it. The only solution I’ve found is to bag everything in plastic bags after scanning, and then, when the transaction is complete, transfer the items from the bags to your bags.

  24. Asvetic says:

    (Note that there was plenty of money in the account for this measly little $6.xx transaction, so this is not an issue of insufficient funds – just a POS POS.)

    It might be that your total was too low for a credit transaction… in some places you have to spend over a specific amount to justify the fee transaction associated with credit cards… hence the auto switch to debit.

    Personally, I’ve never had trouble with my Lowe’s and find the reasons of this OP to switch ridiculous. But, it’s his money he can spend it anywhere he wants.

  25. Rachael says:

    I’ve had machines steer me towards debit when I didn’t want to use that card that way, and for some reason it quite often rejects when used as debit. I always have trouble with Lowe’s self-checkout.

  26. carso says:

    I work for a major retailer, and I can testify that PIN Debit is by far the least expensive way to receive payment. It’s obviously much, much cheaper than counting paper money and processing paper checks. It’s also significantly less expensive than signature debit/credit, because of the fact that fraud and stolen cards are relatively common (and signature debit/credit doesn’t prevent fraud) whereas PIN debit transactions are legitimate 100% of the time – so the credit card companies pass the savings on to the retailers in the form of lower processing fees for PINs (low risk) and high processing fees for signatures (high risk). Every company obviously negotiates their own rates, but at my company PIN debit is less than one tenth as expensive as signature debit.

    I think consumers should consider themselves fortunate that they have not yet been asked to pay additional fees for signature debit/credit transactions, and I really think we’re likely to see that in the very near future.

  27. t0fu says:

    The Lowe’s POS creditcard machines have an option labeled “Credit” on the screen that asks you to input your PIN.

    Reading is hard :(

  28. sir_pantsalot says:

    @xAnarChisTx: The Wal-mart I go to (when I absolutely have no choice) does not have any self checkout stations. This is annoying but then I just assume they are doing a good job of knowing who their customers are. When I look around I doubt many of the people I see could navigate a self checkout.

  29. cwk5014 says:

    I am a cashier at Lowe’s and I frequently find myself behind the self checkout station. I can undoubtedly state that there is nothing malicious in the system to force any customer into using Debit. When a card is swiped, IF it does not read properly, occasionally the Credit button will not appear when the customer is prompted to enter his/her PIN. At that point, I usually would rub the customer’s card against my apron and have them swipe the card again (this usually works!). If it continues to fail, then the option to manually enter the information comes up. You cannot process anything manually entered (everything typed in) as Debit. I’m not entirely sure of the reason why, but it seems a bit uppity to state that some kind of error is a malicious attempt to force a Debit purchase. I know people love to claim big businesses like to screw with people, but honestly, retaining a customer is far more important to Lowe’s (or probably any other company) than getting them to type in their magical 4-digit number. Get a life.

  30. startertan says:

    I love self-checkouts where ever they are. I just hate that some people don’t know how to use them. I always use Lowe’s self-checkout unless I have a coupon or a huge item. I’ve never had any problems.

  31. mike says:

    This problem has to do with the POS. I’ve noticed most stores will ask you for a PIN EVEN IF you hit CREDIT!

    I hate that! When I hit CREDIT, I want CREDIT. Not debit.

    I understand why stores ask if you want to do debit. It saves them money. But you shouldn’t trick people to enter their PIN after they’ve decided to do a Credit transaction.

  32. Snarkysnake says:

    The Lowe’s in my town doesn’thave these yet. When they do, (and fire a few cashiers) I will find another place to get my materials.

    The Home Depot next door has these but it’s usually not a problem because they ran most of their customers (and skilled,give -a- damn employees) off long ago. 9 times out of 10,the single cashier on duty has no line whatsoever.

    Does anyone else resent being turned into an unpaid worker bee for these companies ?

  33. mike says:

    @carso:

    …whereas PIN debit transactions are legitimate 100% of the time…

    You assume that the person is legit.

  34. Goatweed says:

    the self-checkout at Lowe’s and Depot by me are horrendous, and like someone noted above the biggest problem is when it asks you to place your item in the bagging area, you do, then it insists you didn’t over & over until the red light comes on (which prompts an annoyed employee to come over and work some magic).

    The only self-checkout that I’ve used without incident is the setup at Stop and Shop, and I can;t explain why but it just works and it works well. The machines and process are more or less the same but theirs do what they’re supposed to.

  35. Invalid_User_Name says:

    I don’t do self-checkout: You don’t come to my job and do it for me.

  36. bravo369 says:

    i’ve had that same problem in some places. I choose credit, scan debit card and still prompts me for my pin. what was the point of giving me a choice if you are going to choose for me?

  37. steveliv says:

    my issue with Lowe’s self checkout, is that when they have all 4 self checkout areas open, they either have only 1 or none regular checkout lines open.

  38. backbroken says:

    Was at the local Wal-Mart this weekend. Noticed that there were 3 employees helping at the 4 self checkout registers.

    Self-Checkout….you’re doing it wrong.

  39. rpm773 says:

    > Aren’t self check out systems supposed to be convenient?

    I think their primary purpose is to replace the human cashier, in order to reduce costs.

    I’m always amazed at the people I see who use them at my local supermarket. There’s always at least one geriatric doggedly taking one on. I’d think they’d be scared to death of the machine for many reasons, but no, they’re in there doing battle, and just as slowly as I’d expect.

  40. GiselleBeardchen says:

    We don’t have self checkout at my Lowe’s yet. The scarce, indifferent, avoid eye contact at all costs when passing by a customer, staff, we do have though.

  41. vliam says:

    @Serenefengshui: Self checkout is evil.

    This.

    I won’t use them because I worked my way through college in retail. These systems only deprive others of the same opportunity.

  42. carso says:

    @linus: I’m sorry, I mistyped, what I had meant to say there is that PIN transactions are legitimate -almost- 100% of the time, because a person’s PIN is generally known only to that individual. There are, of course, cases where PINs are stolen are used without the cardholder’s permission, but they are rare. Sorry for the mistake. ;-)

  43. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @xAnarChisTx: In theory, self checkout is great, but in practice, it sucks.

    I disagree. In theory, self checkout sucks donkey balls. If they want me to do the job that their cashier is supposed to be doing, then they can give me a discount when I use the “self checkout” lane.

    Maybe next they’ll have the “self unload the truck aisle”

  44. boomerang86 says:

    The Lowe’s here in Newburgh, NY does not have self-check out yet BUT really needs them… there never seems to be more than one (sometimes two) checkers on duty besides the CS desk.

    FWIW the Home Depot across the street has them, and they work 100% better than Wal-Mart’s SCO systems.

  45. cwk5014 says:

    One more point I forgot to mention: Had the man helped the cashier read the security code from the card (of which being mis-typed prompted the error), he would have been given the Credit option he was after all along.

  46. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    I too have experience the frustration of self checkout… and now refuse to use it.

    Two reasons. First, if the system was at least friendly and helpful when it decides to screw with you that would make it interesting. Rather the systems are frustrating to use, staff rarely helpful as they seem to get just as frustrated by the systems (granted, by way of customers problems)and generally people end up walking away grumbling about the F-ing corporate stupidity… “I’ll never shop here again”. Granted this will disappear as we “self checkout immigrants” disappear to be replaced by “self checkout natives” (today’s kids who grow up with this level of corporate abuse of customers and assume it to be the norm). I have on a couple of occasions walked away from carts filled with hundreds of dollars worth of products because the self checkout has decided to screw with me. Even when the checkout supervisor tries to come to the rescue I have had to let them know I am not enjoying my shopping experience at this point and have decided to terminate the experience and leave. Unfortunately as the self checkout is rarely their fault, they then get to clean up the partially checked out mess I leave behind. I am thinking of a couple of specific Home Depot experiences with this one where a live person checkout was not available when I was done shopping. Actually, at Home Depot I try the lumber checkout first as their is almost always a live body there.

    Second reason, these self checkouts replace people who had real jobs and paychecks who in the course of their lives spent the money they earned buying the services of the people in their communities… like you and me. Of course the corporations tell us that the cost savings made possible by the self checkout is passed on to us, their customers, in the form of reduced prices. Well isn’t that just the pile of fertilizer my garden needs. Let them prove this practice before they BS us with this excuse. Even, assuming they actually did reduce prices and pass this savings on to me the consumer, I would prefer to spend the extra couple of cents from my bill on the employment of my neighbors.

    (Caution: Rant ahead) I am tired of the lying cheating bastards that run the majority of corporations that own our lives and would love to see them all have to provide proof for all the spin doctoring, deceptive, down right dishonest crap they feed us on a daily basis… whoops too late, it will never happen ’cause they own the politicians and legal system too… and that is a rant for another day…

  47. Benny Gesserit says:

    @mac-phisto: I always wanted to hack the system at our grocery store.

    “Please put the item in the bag.”
    “Please remove the last time from the bag.”
    “Please put the item in ANOTHER bag.”
    “Please toss the item over your LEFT shoulder.”
    “Please toss the item at the checkout clerk.”

  48. SadSam says:

    I stopped using PIN number transactions when it came to light that the stores were saving the PIN number info (which they are not supposed to do) and even worse not protecting that info.

    Also, I receive more protection when I use my Visa debit card as a credit card (no PIN number)and I also get reward points.

  49. GMFish says:

    shoelace414 “Luckily I have a really good Ace hardware in my neighborhood, so I can avoid both Lowes and Home Depot.”

    Platypi: “Unfortunately, they are somewhat limited in scope as to what they carry, and they don’t carry lumber!”

    And Ace Hardware employees are clueless about their products or how to use them. I have three in my area and they all seem to employ clueless high school kids. And their tool selection is worthless chinese crap. And they never have what I want. If I need a particular spark plug, they won’t have it. If I need a particular sized bolt, they won’t have it. If I need a link to a bike chain, they certainly will not have it. Instead the stores are filled with crappy home decorations and crafts I’ll never need from a hardware store.

    I have best luck with Tractor Supply Company. Sure the employees won’t help, but if you search around you will almost certainly find what you need. And they have decent tools too. Too bad they don’t sell lumber.

    Another good hardware chain is Gilroy’s. They employ people who know their stuff and they usually have it in stock. However, their tools are of a very low quality.

  50. dondiego87 says:

    The self-checkout at my local Wal-Mart sounds just as bad. I have tried it on at least 4 separate occasions, and it has never once gone without a hitch. Random products often require that an associate put in a confirmation code for no apparent reason. The system wants to make sure that I put every single item in a bag. If I want to leave an item in my cart (say, 12-packs of soda), I have to press a button that takes 10 seconds to register. And I’d better hope that I don’t fill up two shopping bags, because taking one off the bagging area to make room for more gives a warning. Oh, and once my credit card didn’t go through and the associate cleared all of my scanned items in her attempt to correct the problem.

    I keep trying it whenever I have some spare time, just because I really want to see if it CAN go smoothly.

  51. tande04 says:

    I don’t understand.

    Not trying to blame any poster or make any type of “bend over and take it” comment, I just genuinely don’t understand why it would matter if you process a debit card as a credit card or just enter your pin and be done with it.

    Are their Debit cards where you actually will earn points of some kind in addition to taking the money from your checking? Is it part of deal then that its processed as credit and not debit? Where could I get one of these cards?

  52. If it was only $6, and he was using the credit for the points earned… how many points would he have really earned on that? Would it not have been easier to just use the debit instead of the credit and be done with it? Why waste all that time, and then end up not buying it and driving all the way across town to a different store.

    Sorry, it may have been annoying but I don’t really have sympathy for this one.

  53. savvy999 says:

    I use CC at self-checkout at Lowe’s all the time too. No problems in 100+ trips (we are remodeling an old house, lots of trips).

    Unless I have something really big or weird that it won’t take– and I admit there has been quite a bit of trial and error to figure out what that is– then I seek it out.

    What’s also sweet about Lowe’s is that if you use a CC they can keep track of what you bought and when, so returns are a breeze without a receipt. I don’t know if this will work with cash, or debit.

    Use your credit card for home improvement purchases. If whatever you bought breaks/sucks and you use your debit card, what’s your recourse?

  54. mariospants says:

    @mac-phisto:

    I, too, have experienced the “please remove item from baggage area” at Home Depot and it was totally intermittent and was driving my wife and I nuts. I then realized that this stupid lady at the next self-help register (who was watching her husband check in their purchases was constantly rocking back and forth on her feet and leaning against the metal rack at the end of the bagging area (reserved for tall items). Every time she touched the sensor with her back, it would set off the warning. I had to tell the lady to please move aside. From the look on her face, you’d think I’d told her she was fat and ugly – which she was.

  55. Marshfield says:

    @GreatWhiteNorth:

    these self checkouts replace people who had real jobs and paychecks who in the course of their lives spent the money they earned buying the services of the people in their communities… like you and me.

    Well, that’s the argument that states that don’t have self-serve gasoline have been using for a long time. So it creates a number of boring, low paying jobs. And reduces choice for people who don’t mind pumping their own gas.

    I say let freedom reign and give people the choice of using the crummy self-serve lane or getting in line for a cashier.

  56. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    Long story short: Lowe’s is trying to force people into Debit transactions that cost them less in processing fees.

    This isn’t uncommon actually. They pay (on a guess) 1.5% for a credit transaction but they can avoid fees at all (and possibly charge your bank a minor fee) by you doing debit.

    Lowes isn’t actually the worst POS in this regard. One of the gas station POS I went to a bit back refused, utterly refused to run my card as credit until a freakin’ manager came up and entered a code for the clerk. All of this while customers piled up behind me.

  57. satoru says:

    I’ve used the Lowes self-checkout several times it’s not rocket science to use, though I have seen people like the OP that seem infinitely confused by how it works.

  58. bravo369 says:

    I’ve never had a problem with self-checkout other than the asking for PIN when choosing credit i mentioned in my other post. One thing I would like them to improve on though is to add an item limit to the selfcheckout. I hate when I have 3 items and all selfcheckout lines are filled by people with a cartful of stuff. stop wasting my time. Since selfcheckout is basically a computer, it shouldn’t be too hard. Just have the register programmed for 12 item max, display a message saying item limit reached and then go directly to the pay menu. Either people will go through 7 transactions or go wait in the other lines.

  59. Shadowman615 says:

    @mac-phisto: LOL, I’ve had the same exact problem with Home Depot’s self-checkout. It also does the opposite:

    POS:Please Remove the last item from the bagging area
    Shadowman: (Removes last item)
    POS:Please Remove the last item from the bagging area
    Shadowman: Ummm…
    POS:Please Remove the last item from the bagging area
    Shadowman: (Tries to put something else down and removes it)
    POS:Please Remove the last item from the bagging area
    Shadowman: (looks around)
    POS:Please Remove the last item from the bagging area
    *a scene of unimaginable violence ensues*

    Not only is it a pointless and completely ineffective anti-theft system, it’s also horribly broken, to the point where the weight of a single plastic bag or a fly can set it off…

  60. Elusive_Pastry says:

    “Long story short: Lowe’s is trying to force people into Debit transactions that cost them less in processing fees.”

    A rather far-fetched conclusion based on nothing in particular. Can’t say I’ve ever run into this problem at my Lowe’s. Sounds like they simply need to get the POS terminal fixed.

    There’s a Home Depot across the street from my Lowe’s. The staff at HD is nowhere near as friendly or helpful, and the store is much less tidy and organized.

  61. jenl1625 says:

    @B: YES! WHY do stores sell reuseable bags, then set their weight sensors so sensitive that they assume the weight of the resusable bag is an unscanned item?

  62. dcaslin says:

    I’m a computer programmer and I despise self check out machines. I’ve had issues with Lowe’s due to the silly “please put item in bagging area” logic that’s built in, but never any issues with the card processing system. I generally love Lowe’s and now only use their self check-out if I’m getting a few small things.

    The worst self check-out I’ve seen to date is at BJ’s. I actually had it crash back to the main Windows OS screen. I had a younger version of GrumpyOldLady deign to fix the problem and acted like it must have been user error (“Oh sorry, I hit the ‘Crash the program’ button. I’ll be more careful next time”).

    I appreciate that it’s difficult to build a self check-out application that is stable and useful for all types of customers, but if there are any possible issues with the system a store ought to have a reasonably well-paid and helpful CSR on hand to quickly and politely fix the problem (even if “fixing the problem” involves walking the customer over to an old school register and doing it the regular way). The store is still saving money since that one CSR can handle 3-6 functional registers.

  63. Edge231 says:

    Sorry, but Home Depot a POS. I will never shop there again due to their lack of customer service.

    Lowes’ service is the best, even if the OP couldn’t figure out how to use the self-checkout machine.

  64. TouchMyMonkey says:

    In my experience, self-checkouts are a big pain in the ass. Lowes self-checkout is better than most, but these are just inherently PITA systems, even when well-run. Unless I have only a few small items, I usually avoid them.

  65. jenl1625 says:

    @tande04: My bank recently sent out a “skip the pin” advertising flyer, pointing out that I’d rack up “reward” points quicker if I used my credit/debit card as a credit card. Given that I really don’t care for the alleged “rewards”, I make a point of using it as a debit card – especially when it’s a local shop and I care whether they’re getting gouged on the cost of doing business with me.

    @cwk5014: I got the impression that the little old lady only complained about being unable to read the 3-digit number off the back of the card once it was too late for the OP to assist.

  66. kegtapr says:

    “Long story short: Lowe’s is trying to force people into Debit transactions that cost them less in processing fees. Great idea – save the Credit processing fee and waste customers’ time, causing customer to never return.”

    Overreact much? Logic, it’s a lost art.

  67. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @tande04: Yes, there are debit cards that you can get ‘reward’ points on when you use them as credit cards.

    Our Lowe’s doesn’t have self checkout, but they have 16 registers of which I have seen at the most TWO open at any one time. If there are customers four or five deep at each register, they will ring you up at the ‘service’ counter.

    I don’t really see how self checkout is taking anyone’s job when the bastard managers at these places can’t/won’t hire enough people to work as cashiers in the first damn place.

  68. macinjosh says:

    @Juice Box Hero: Someone should open up a store improvement store.

  69. krom says:

    It doesn’t cost the OP any more to use debit over credit. The only difference is they don’t get their points bonus.

    I’m not convinced this is a self-checkout issue unless the OP or someone at the same store can confirm that this issue does not occur in human checkout. Ever since FMF spazzed out over being faced with the unfathomable rocket science of scanning barcodes and pressing buttons, there’s been a fair amount of irrational Luddism regarding self-checkout lanes lately. TWAGOS.

  70. Fatty Shcock says:

    @TinyBug: lol, I do agree. But the way I look at it, in a perfect world, if self checkout was absolutely flawless, then you can get what you need, check it out yourself in under 30 seconds, and leave.

    How simple is that, without the hassle of waiting in line, and having to speak to an incompetent cashier (not saying all cashiers are incompetent, mind you).

  71. themute says:

    The self-check outs at HD and Lowes use the same hardware and software. The only difference being the color schemes on the screen and stickers on the actual machines, at Lowes its blue, HD’s are orange.

  72. toddkravos says:

    Never had this type of problem as I do not bother with self-checkout for one reason: The company/store/merchant offers absolutley NO DISCOUNT to me for doing THEIR JOB.

    I equate it to entering restaurant (ie: McDonalds) and they hand you an empty cup for you to fill yourself.

  73. cristiana says:

    @SadSam:
    I have not heard of stores retaining the pin info, can you point to any information regarding this?

  74. Trai_Dep says:

    You’d think that they’d make screwing their cashiers out of a job, they’d at least make it more convenient. Unconscionable!

  75. Canino says:

    I had an experience at Lowe’s almost exactly like the OP. I was buying $24 worth of stuff and tried to use my debit card. The self-checkout machine said the transaction could not be processed several times in a row. The person monitoring the self-checkouts wasn’t paying any attention because she was trying to help someone else whose items wouldn’t scan. After I got her attention she came over and did the exact same thing I had been trying and told me to swipe the card and put in the PIN. I told her it wouldn’t work but I guess she thought I was some kind of idiot because she just walked back to her station with a huff. Of course it didn’t work again so I got her attention and she took my card over to her station and went through screen after screen entering information. Then a screen came up on my self-checkout station telling me to enter my name as it was on the card. I started to do it and I messed up, and then found that there was no backspace! No way to fix an error at all.

    So then I told her to just give me back my card and forget it and she said she could do it from her station. So she stood there holding out my card in front of herself and two other people, slowly entering all my information while these other customers stared at my debit card and watched the screen as the numbers she entered showed in large font right in front of them. No sense of security whatsoever…just entering my card number slowly on a large screen while other customers stood there and stared at my information.

    I asked to see the manager and explained what had happened and he claimed he would “have the computer guys look at it,” but I could not get across to him the issue with credit card security. It went right over his head. The fact that his employee had shown someone’s debit card information to other customers didn’t register even after repeated attempts to explain it. I wrote an email to corporate but of course no answer from them either.

    I drive across town to Home Depot now.

  76. tom2133 says:

    I’m not crazy about the self-checkout idea, really. Am I getting paid to do self-checkout? No? Then I think I’ll just have a cashier do it for me.

  77. citybuddha says:

    Going to Home Depot huh?
    He will be back.
    Ping pong home improvment store

  78. Squeezer99 says:

    i know how you feel, i used to use the paypal debit card, and when ran as a credit card you’d get 1% cashback. well petsmart autodetects its a debit card and charges it as a debit transaction. now i use a cashback credit card.

  79. tellervision says:

    When you want to use your own re-usable bags, put them in the bagging area before starting your transaction. That way, the scales will not sense them.

  80. ageekymom says:

    @tande04: My sister-in-law, a banker, says that you have recourse from the bank when you make a purchase as “credit” rather than “debit.” If you have a problem with your CC purchase, you can ask the bank for a charge-back if the merchant won’t help.

    Also, can’t remember who suggested it but, merchants are not allowed to make you purchase a minimum amount in order to use a credit card. It is expressly forbidden in their contract with the merchant.

  81. mac-phisto says:

    @cristiana: the TJX breach involved stored PIN data (among other things). retailers are specifically instructed not to save this data, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t.

  82. pal003 says:

    @mac-phisto: “please remove item from the bagging area. ARRRGGHH! *head explodes*”

    LOL. Too true that this happens to me at the grocery stores. But I blame the software programming – and curse the thing together with the self-checkout monitoring person. I feel their pain.

    I have had no problems with credit or debit at Lowes. Please don’t blame Lowes – they recently did me a huge favor, something Home Depot (cheapos) never would have done .

  83. temporaryerror says:

    I just hate it when people with full carts at the grocery store (or other stores that dictate a 10 item or less limit for self checkouts) go through the self checkouts and of course have trouble with their $200+ worth of groceries…do they not read the sign or do they just not care?

  84. QuantumRiff says:

    @Juice Box Hero: I can understand large and awkward, what really pisses me off is when I go to home depot and buy a lightbulb, or a small package of seeds, or a few washers.. The scale isn’t sensitive enough to know you already put it in the bag, so it sits there and asks you to please place your item in the bag, until an employee clears it. What a royal pain when I bought 10 packages of seeds for my garden..

  85. bohemian says:

    Our Lowes store is newer so maybe we have a newer model of POS registers. They randomly demand either your zip code or your 3 digit security number, but have not been forced into a debit transaction yet. I use their POS if I do need to get something there because some of their staff are outright hostile to customers. I would rather fight with a computer than deal with a-hole staff that seriously need anger management therapy.

    So far the best POS registers I have seen anywhere are at Lunds grocery stores in Minneapolis. They have a much faster processing system, things don’t lag at all. The screens are high res and easy to read and I never had one error or freak about something not being bagged.

  86. bohemian says:

    @temporaryerror: People like that are simply morons that Darwin hasn’t caught up with yet.

    I accidentally ended up in line behind some middle aged woman at the self checkout doing just that. She was clearly totally computer illiterate and she had a cart overflowing with items. I moved lanes and just watched the show while waiting for my turn at the other register.

  87. mattmill says:

    @Snarkysnake: Snarkysnake “Does anyone else resent being turned into an unpaid worker bee for these companies ? “

    It’s for this reason that I will not use a self service checkout anywhere if there is an option. I was at Home Depot last month for pvc plumbing fixtures, 85 in all, and I was in the line for regular checkout.

    Clueless helper came up to the guy in front of me who had 2 panel carts of plywood and 2x4s and told, not asked, him to go to the self serve it would be quicker. He refused and she actually argued with him but he stood his ground instead of trying to back the two carts around from one end to the other. Then she told me to go to the self service I showed her the basket of the pvc parts and I said no way was I going to scan all the parts. She then said that she would scan them for me. Ok, I’ll bite.

    It took her 10 minutes of scanning and dropping parts that bounce like crazy all over the floor and I, not being in a hurry declined to tell her how many parts of each I had, just couldn’t remember ;) Some have no clue…

  88. iamlost26 says:

    I’m thinking his problem is the same one my dad had a while back, and it’s not a problem with the POS.

    When you select “credit” on the self-check out, it will tell you something like “Use PIN pad to complete transaction”. This doesn’t mean you need to enter in a PIN number, it just means you need to use that little contraption with the numbers on it to select all the right choices. I think the employee didn’t understand this, and neither did OP.

    I might be wrong, of course, but that’s what my dad’s problem was.

  89. Nik in Denver, formerly in NOLA says:

    I actually had a problem with Lowe’s self checkout last week. All I needed was an air filter and didn’t feel like waiting in the long lines (especially on my lunch break), so I went to the self checkout. I scan it, put it in the bagging area and swipe my card. It prompts me for billing zip, prompts for my signature, and then, after saying my transaction is complete, refuses to print out a receipt (in order to get past the door checker) and shuts down the POS terminal while starting that siren on the top of it.

    The employees were at least helpful and nice, but really didn’t know how to work the system at all. After waiting around for about 20 minutes, 3 reboots, and three different employees pressing buttons, the machine finally started shooting out receipts. One of them was mine.

  90. doireallyneedausername says:

    @gorckat:

    Ditto. Cheaper for debit cards to be processed as a pin-based transaction than a signature-based transaction. Significant savings. So kiddos, remember (esp. when you’re in a mom-n-pop shop):

    If you have a debit card, hit debit and enter your pin. It’ll save the store tons of money. Never force the cashier into a signature based transaction unless its a credit card.

    Lowe’s isn’t stupid…they know how to lower the amount of money they dole out to big bad VISA in transaction fees and force you to go along with it.

  91. pmcpa2 says:

    I’ve had this happen at the only Lowes in the area with self check… Plymouth Meeting. Same thing, I request credit, and they do the enter card manually. It’s exactly what the OP thinks it is, they want to force you over to the cheaper processing of debit.

    Jokes on them though, by having to enter all the information manually it costs them more then swiping!

  92. wiggatron says:

    For a very short period of time here in Cleveland there was a Walmart (notice proper use of the now non-hyphenated name) that refused to process debit cards as credit cards. There were signs at every register and the cashiers were all “kind” enough to remind you if you somehow managed to miss the signage. It lasted about a week before they scrapped the idea.

  93. Jon Mason says:

    Self-checkout: If you are half technically competent and organized and can follow instructions easily they are much faster.

    To the people who say they are “putting people out of work” well they could also employ people to push my cart around for me, but I do it myself because its unneccessary to pay someone for such a menial task. The same reason I hate other people bagging my groceries (Im from the UK where this baggers are the exception rather than the tule). If I’m only going to be standing there while someone else does work that is neither mentally nor physically taxing, why wouldnt I do it myself if they can provide a convenient method? You could create many many jobs if you paid people to do things that we can do ourselves, but it’s called progress – technology has advanced to the point where self-checkouts are (almost) as easy as being checked out by a person and if they are designed right are much more convenient than waiting in line to be rung up.

    Yes, self-checkouts suck from time to time, but for example at my local Kroger they have at least 8, they work great, only people with few items tend to use them and it prevents me from having to wait behind 2 families loaded with groceries to pay for some bread and milk.

  94. justinleon says:

    I hate self checkouts. They are easy to use, but they get very finicky if you miss the bag by one millimeter.

  95. Mozoltov, motherfucker says:

    @mac-phisto: That annoys me to no end. Why cant Home Depot fix this? And the same thing at Ralphs.

  96. Jon Mason says:

    Sidenote: the Walmart nearest me has just finished refurbishing and has removed ALL of the self checkouts they used to have and put in more “express” less than 20 item checkouts.

  97. tellen says:

    I am not a big fan of Lowes, so perhaps my comments are biased, but the store in Brooklyn has exactly the same problem – the self checkout is often down to two or three stations as one is ALWAYS broken, and it seems which ever you use, it is a major hassle. It almost always fails to process the order, whether it is incapable of reading a card that every other store has no problem processing, or it glitches-up on the purchased item not being in the bag, not weighing enough or some other problem. The only advantage of using self check out is to avoid having to deal with any Lowes employees, which at this particular store are either the most apathetic bunch of loosers I have ever seen, or have become completely institutionalized in the sense that they have completely given up fighting the machine. If you think self check out is bad, trying buying propane for your BBQ as a way to really spike your blood pressure.

  98. eelmonger says:

    @B: Most self-checkout terminals I’ve seen have a “skip bagging” option after each item. If you leave your bags in the cart and hit “skip bagging” you should be able to use your own bags without setting off the weight alarm.

  99. DeeJayQueue says:

    -The prices of things would be higher if not for self-checkout lanes. Notice how they don’t have them at Banana Republic or Restoration Hardware? They seem to only exist at discount stores or “big box” stores where profit margins are the only thing that matters.
    So, while it doesn’t seem like it, you ARE getting paid to ring out your own merch, in the form of lower prices. Managers can’t hire more people, because they’re only granted so many payroll hours per week, which they have to use to staff key areas of the store. More often than not, when sales are down, payroll is the first area to be cut, so there are less hours to go ’round, so less people on the floor.

    -I too wish that they’d have hand-held scanners for large or bulky merchandise, just like I wish they’d let you key in the UPC or SKU in instances where the barcode is too buggered up to read, or if you’ve picked out single-piece hardware.

    -Debit vs. Credit, everyone’s got their reasons for using both or neither, and they’re not backing down. I prefer using debit over credit because it’s faster, and the funds come out of my account right that second instead of in a few days.

    -Complaining about the shitty, inattentive service at Lowe’s and thinking you’d remedy this by shopping at Home Depot is, well, it’s just dumb. Plus, the people at Lowe’s don’t care. The cashiers don’t get paid out of the till anymore, and their check doesn’t change one cent whether or not you ever set foot in the store.

  100. TACP says:

    Our local Lowe’s doesn’t have self-checkout yet, but Home Depot just got it. I normally never go to Home Depot, but was in the area and stopped by.

    I tried it and didn’t have any trouble. I noticed they use the same software and hardware as Walmart; even the computer voice is the same.

  101. userboy says:

    I haven’t had any issues with payment at my Lowe’s self checkout. Even when using the scenario you describe.
    However, my biggest complaint is that they don’t have a skip fucking bagging button!!! How in the fuck am I supposed to put an 8′ foot board in the fucking bagging area?!?!?!?

  102. MMD says:

    @tande04: I get more reward points from my Citibank debit card if I process it as credit.

  103. suzy-q says:

    @linus: When I worked at Publix, our POS asked for a pin if you swiped a debit card and then hit credit. All you have to do is hit “enter” and the transaction processes as normal.

    I think it’s probably user error – again with the Publix POS, if you hit credit and then hit “cancel” when the pin came up, it would go back to the original screen. Even after we labeled all the pin pads telling customers to hit “enter” and not “cancel” when they got to the pin screen, we still got customers who said “But I want it to run as credit!”

  104. Antediluvian says:

    You can actually MAKE the cashier staffing the self-checkout do the work for you. He or she will be cranky as all heck, but I have done this on a couple of occasions when the regular line was huge. Self-checkout doesn’t work well for some things — plants, for example (soil spills on the scanner) — but the overseer has a gun to use for these situations.

    And my theory: if they realize the store is NOT saving money w/ self-checkout (because the sole cashier is overworked), they’ll get rid of them.

  105. Ragman says:

    I’ve gotten pretty good with the wallyworld self checkouts, even using my own bags on the bagging platform. The trick is to scan a heavier item that isn’t an exact weight when starting to fill a bag – milk, juice, tortillas, etc. They have some variance and the bags weight can usually fall into the allowed range of the POS. Also, with lighter(not seed packet light) items, pressing down lightly when you put them in the bag sometimes helps with the POS detecting them. Self checkout is definitely a learned skill.

    I don’t like to buy a lot of stuff using the cashier and my own bags – too many of them don’t know how to actually bag.

    Hitting the “skip bagging” button will require cashier override(from their station) if you do it more than twice in a row where I shop.

    I’ve also noticed that the POS systems can vary from store to store in the same chain. Which is likely why some of you don’t have the problems others do.

    Another peeve of standing in line at the self checkout – if you’re gonna buy $100 in groceries using cash, try not to pay with small bills. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor and stop at the little bank they have in there and get some nice crisp twenties. Yesterday, some woman with a cart full took started paying with a stack of bills in her hand at the same time the guy in front of me started to scan his half dozen items. He paid, then I scanned my dozen items, paid and left while she was still putting wrinkled bills into the POS.

  106. Spamboy says:

    Yes, this crap happens at all Lowe’s — at least the several I’ve frequented in the North Texas area over the past few years. The biggest issue I have is the boundary of the signature area — heaven forbid if you cross the border with your pen; instead of just not registering the out-of-bounds marks, the system will beep loudly, chastise you to draw only within the box, then hold you up for several seconds displaying the message. It can take forever to check out there, and the trouble it causes does make me seriously consider shopping elsewhere.

  107. cottercutie says:

    hmm I always have the opposite problem at Lowe’s… their self checkouts won’t accept my transaction as a debit and the cashiers always have to come over and process it through as a credit.

    I use my card everywhere, Lowe’s is the only place where I have this problem….

  108. ELC says:

    I’ve NEVER had this problem at Lowe’s – and I just rang up a $900+ sale 2 days ago. Sounds like something is wrong with their terminals, nothing more.

  109. kretara says:

    I don’t understand why people use self checkouts.
    You are paying the same for the items as you would if you went to a cashier. All you are doing is letting the company hire fewer workers because they can get the customer to do all the work.

    I’ll do self checkout when the company gives me a discount on my purchase.

  110. grandzu says:

    You can’t really write “Long story short” after 5 paragraphs.

  111. howie_in_az says:

    At the Lowe’s by me, the cashiers almost always direct us to the self-checkout line. I try to go to their lines but they’re too busy chatting on cell phones or whatever. Apparently they don’t realize (or just don’t care) that the self-checkout machines are replacing their jobs. There’s a Home Depot that’s closer but we find that Lowe’s generally has better paint.

  112. Amethyst02 says:

    I am a Head Cashier at a Home Depot, and we also have Self Checkouts. I understand your frustration when it’s the only place to checkout, it frustrates us as well. With the economy the way it is and sales down overall it’s common to be understaffed. We hate it, but we can’t change it either, that has to come from higher up. If SCO is the only option for you the attendant at the SCO can and should help you ring in large or otherwise problem items with his/her scan gun. Also, many have a full service register at the SCO station so that is sometimes an option.

    While the machines are annoying here are some tips to get out quickly.

    Do not try to self checkout with items that have weight issues such as:
    Paint
    Plants
    Large items that cannot fit in the “bagging area” (lumber, pipe, etc)
    Small items that don’t weigh much (bagged hardware, mailbox numbers, etc)

    This is because (as most of you probably know) the machines know how much each item should weigh based on the UPC, so if the item varies in weight as in the case of paint and plants chances are you will need assistance. Small items don’t always weigh enough to trip the scale, and large items aren’t always practical to place in bagging are.

    Items that you cannot ring completely by yourself include:
    Spray Paint (at least in my state the cashier needs to enter a birth date)
    Measured items such as molding or high end woods (cashier must measure)
    Insulation (it asks the attendant the quantity)

    Items that you cannot ring without assistance include:
    Anything with a handwritten tag (cut wire, chain, carpet)
    Loose hardware
    Items with a yellow sale tag (at least at my store the bar code is for internal systems only) a cashier must enter these manually.

    Also remember not to lean against the bagging area, many people (myself included) don’t even realize they are leaning on the tall item rack and wonder why it is yelling at them.

    I know they are irritating (I think I hear them in my sleep) but hopefully this helps you guys.

  113. mermaidshoes says:

    i LOVE self-checkout and wish every store had it. i’ve just decided to shop almost exclusively at shaw’s because they have a self-checkout lane, which no other store in my immediate area does. it’s a real blessing to be able to get in and out of the grocery store in less than 15 minutes if i’m only buying a few items. there’s no reason i should have to stand in line behind families with multiple giant carts, or wait in a “speed” checkout line with 15 people in it.

    sometimes i think there should be grocery stores targeted to single people. frozen foods, chips, booze, movie rentals, no carts, no kids, self-checkout. it could be a good way to meet other sad lonely people, too. ah, what a life i live.

  114. Fredex says:

    When minimum wage jobs go away (like checkers) they don’t really go away; They become your job at the true minimum wage of zero.

  115. raisitup says:

    @carso: “I think consumers should consider themselves fortunate that they have not yet been asked to pay additional fees for signature debit/credit transactions, and I really think we’re likely to see that in the very near future.”

    I’m sure the future is 10 years ago and the costs have already been rolled in to the prices everyone pays.

  116. u1itn0w2day says:

    @Fredex: ‘They become your job…’

    Self checkout is cashiering no matter how you look at.They try to spiff it up by saying things like you don’t have to wait but you wind up waiting for assistance anyway.

    Yeap,unless I get a discount for checking my own stuff out I refuse to use them.I was pushed into one at HD,I had some paint color samples and it kept on saying more items scanned than processed or something to that effect,so I tried scanning the strips bar code to satisfy the machine.even the defacto cashier/customer assistant couldn’t get rid of that message.

  117. Kevino says:

    Not sure what is worse, the POS machines or the hoards of idiots with no ability to use them. I am not referencing the person submitting this story by the way, I just seem to run into people who are confused by “select payment type”.

  118. theora55 says:

    Welcome to our store. Please find everything you need; take it to the front of the store, ring it up, bag it, and get the hell out. We do not wish to have any human contact with you. We wish to take your money as efficiently as possible. Got it? Good. Now leave.

  119. donkeyjote says:

    You know, you can also press enter instead of cancel, without putting in a pin. That should run it as credit.

  120. catnapped says:

    As others have stated, some POS readers (that are a POS) do in fact autodetect some cards as being debit cards and not give the user a choice (usually you can “cancel” out and get the choice). As for the reasoning why the choice between using it as debit (PIN) or credit (signature), some banks do give points or rewards for using it one way or the other and some banks (including mine) whack the user with a POS fee for using it one way or the other (rarely both).

  121. kspray--dad says:

    I’d rather wait than use a self checkout.

  122. jimconsumer says:

    My Lowe’s does the same thing, FYI. You can’t process a debit card as a credit; it will process it as a debit no matter what you select. Also, their machines SUCK! They refuse to read my bank’s debit card 95% of the time. It’s not just my card, either, it’s all of the cards from my bank. My American Express card works a little better, able to correctly scan about 30% of the time, so after a few tries it will usually go through.

    Also, they NEVER have cash registers open. ONLY the (4) self-checkout registers are open. The other (6) or so actual registers sit empty, shut down and helpless.

    But I still go there. I fucking hate Home Depot.

  123. ihaterabbits15 says:

    My experience with designing POS systems taught me to never use a debit card. Too many bad things can happen. Every time the cashier screws up or a self checkout doesn’t act the way you want it too will start racking up holds on the amount of the purchase in your checking account that may take days for the bank to release the funds(and up to a month). This is whether you try to process it as debit or credit.

  124. KenManiac says:

    the new lowes by me has self-checkout, the old one across the river (poughkeepsie) does not

    they used to hire people called ‘employees’ to do the cash register thing. i don’t want a job doing that, much less for free.

    i refuse to use the self checkout on principle. often i’ll walk down to the contractor checkout cause the lady down there is nice.

  125. allstarecho says:

    And on the flip side, I have issues with Home Depot because of their self check out. 2 weeks ago I used it.. 3 out of 4 were out of order and the 4th one, the one I obviously was using, froze up. Took 15 minutes for it to reboot. They wouldn’t let me check out in another line. Told me I had to wait in case it didn’t or did charge me. If it didn’t, I’d have to go through the checkout process again. If it did, I was free to leave.

  126. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    The self-checkout at Lowe’s is great, unless you have:

    1. Heavy items.
    2. Akward items.
    3. Lots of little items (like nuts and bolts).
    4. Very light items (like PVC pipe fittings).
    5. Specially cut items like wire or chain.
    6. A palette full of cinder blocks.
    7. An item without a stick-on bar code.

    Fortunately, there aren’t any items like that in home improvement store!

    But hey, at least they keep on cashier in the “Contractor Lane” open, as long as you don’t mind waiting for the guy in front of you who’s buying a box-truck load of lumber to check out.

    UNEXPECTED ITEM IN BAGGING AREA!

  127. dragon:ONE says:

    Can I ask why people just don’t hit the “Skip Bagging” button? The local Walmart self-checkouts have it.

    Also, speaking of Walmart self-checkouts… [www.flickr.com]

  128. crypticgeek says:

    @laserjobs:
    Wow, you’re a jerk.

  129. farker says:

    I’ve used self checkout once or twice at Home Depot and not had too many problems with it. But so many items there are large and bulky, it just seems like a retarded idea in the first place.

    Sounds like this Lowe’s might be having some sort of software issue with their card readers, as the Credit option should immediately have the reader communicate with the credit card network and issue an approval/denial to the computer.

    Anyways, I don’t go to Lowe’s or Home Depot much, since I work at Ace Hardware part time… no self-checkout for us!

    @Platypi: Our store has some lumber!

    @GMFish: Ouch! I think our store is pretty well-staffed, guess it depends on your location. I would stay away from the PowerGlide brand of tools ,they are crap. We’ve got good DeWalt tools, but also the cheapy B&D ones as well…Our store also has a good selection of spark plugs for lawn equipment…replacement chain links for a bike chain…and an entire 32-foot aisle (both sides) of fasteners. If you live in the Houston area, you should come by and check it out!

  130. ogman says:

    Lowes machines are a pain, but at least they have real checkout lines. Home Depot sometimes has no real checkouts, so I stopped shopping there.

  131. ogman says:

    @KenManiac: Good points, Ken. I refuse to work for the places where I shop, unless they suddenly want to start paying me. And don’t anyone say that self-checkouts keep prices low, because I have NEVER seen prices go down or stay the same because of these machines. I have only seen profits and executive pay increase.

  132. wintersfootsteps says:

    I work at self-checkouts every day, and it seems that people get incredibly annoyed with the machines as quickly as possible.

    If you knew that this was going to happen (the person mentioned it happened 2 times in the past) why did you suddenly think it would work this time?

    Cashiers need to have the 3 digit code on the back of the card in order to process the card manually. If they don’t have that code, there is nothing they can do. It’s not really the cashier’s fault.

    There are plenty of people who use self-checkout and love it (me included). You just have to be patient while learning to use them, and understanding with the cashier that is trying to help 4 self-checkout POS machines at the same time.

    I suppose I might be a little biased when I say this, but Self-checkout cashiers get treated like crap when the person is unhappy with something the machine is doing. It’s not the cashier’s fault! Once, someone even threw a bunch of items right at me when the got annoyed with the “skip bagging” button. It can be very annoying, I understand this, but it’s there for a reason. The cashier didn’t create the machine, or the program that runs on the machine. They are just trying to do their jobs.

    Frustrating.

  133. wintersfootsteps says:

    Just one more thing to add, please forgive me for not putting this in my first post…

    Self-Checkout machines are fantastic in my opinion. If you are visiting the store on a super-busy day, and you just have a few items, the self checkouts are a HUGE time saver. If you don’t like self-checkouts, don’t use them. I don’t see why it’s so hard to understand… again, I am probably biased for the comment.

    You can always ask the people at customer service or the person behind the return counter to cash you out if there are no other registers open.

    The machines are not there to make prices go down, they are there for convenience for the people who like them.

  134. wintersfootsteps says:

    @mac-phisto: If the item isn’t heavy enough to register on the scale of the self-checkout, you will get that message. It’s annoying, but it’s certainly not anyone’s fault. Just expect it, because there is REALLY nothing the cashier can do about it. I wish there was.