Giant Eagle Says It’s Doing Customers A Favor By Requiring Loyalty Cards At Self-Checkout

Many consumers have a love-it or hate-it feeling about self-checkout, but regardless of one’s personal feelings about the system, if a store makes it available, it should be open to all customers. Not according to the folks at Giant Eagle supermarkets.

The Pittsburgh-based chain, which has more than 200 locations in the region, has recently decided to only allow customers carrying Giant Eagle loyalty cards to use self-checkout.

When the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette asked why, the store just touted all the benefits of using the card.

“Scanning a Giant Eagle Advantage Card ensures that customers receive all available weekly specials, fuelperks!, personalized register coupon offers and other savings, while also making available vital customer contact information in the instance of a product recall,” a company rep tells the paper, adding that if a customer doesn’t have a card, “a store team member will be happy to assist with the checkout process.”

But while Giant Eagle says this is all being done for the benefit of you, the customer (assuming you’re a customer with a loyalty card), others believe this is more than likely intended as a deterrent against theft, which has always been a concern with allowing customers to scan and bag their own items.

And theft-deterrence seems to be a more likely reason behind this shift, as customers with loyalty cards would get the same benefits mentioned above regardless of whether they go through self-checkout or through the regular staffed checkout lines.

However, the founder of a company that uses checkout scanning tech to combat shoplifting says his research shows that 45% of customers who steal at self-checkout are voluntarily swiping their loyalty cards.