Poll: Check Yo Self Out

Speaking of self-checkout, reader Mike asks,

“Aside from dodging an occasional line, what’s my incentive to help a major chain save money on a cashier by checking myself out? I feel like, if I’m saving them their $6 an hour on employees, then I should maybe see a return on that in the form of 5% off each time I self-checkout. If I’m going to pay full price, then I would just as soon take advantage of full service.”

What do you think? Passing on the savings? Overly self-entitled consumers? Point of purchase chaos? A nation of robots?

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Edit Your Comment

  1. Vinny says:

    F that. The time I save doing myself is well worth it. I guess if your time isn’t worth anything then go right ahead and hope for a few nickels off your receipt.

    I don’t care if it helps the store or not. I do it to get my ass outta there quicker.

  2. Mauvaise says:

    I’m with Vinny on this one. As much as a 5% discount for doing what I’m
    already doing seems sweet, I don’t want the stores doing anything to
    encourage more people to use the self-checkouts. Especially since there
    are already too many people that use them that aren’t smart enough to
    do so.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    Maybe if stores had more than 1 self-checkout line.

  4. Paul D says:

    If a store gave 5% off for using the self-checkout, they’d just make up for it elsewhere.

    Those self-checkout machines are expensive. Moreso than a drooling human button-pusher.

    Having them at all is a convenience to the shopper. And if you can’t
    work it, that’s your problem. Some of us have used them for years
    without incident.

  5. Vinny says:

    Plenty of stores have more than 1, dude. In fact, most stores have either an aisle with 4 (one on each corner of the aisle) or a few lanes devoted to it (Stop and Shop in Yonkers has 5 of them).

    Only problem is that, invariably, some ass will step up to it and not be able to use it (as Mauvaise said).

  6. AcilletaM says:

    The drooling human button-pushers can cost money too. That’s why a lot of stores have the machines that return the coins now. Can’t have the human button-pushers actually counting, it cuts into the bottom line.

  7. Ben says:

    I’d love to get 5% off my gas for paying at the pump, sure!

    Oh, wait, you just mean groceries?

    For me: if I have a bunch o’ crap, I see a checker. If I have a couple things (pizza, beer) I fly through self checkout. It’s just a choice. I’m not really saving them money – there’s still a cashier standing there to check my ID when I buy the beer.

    I’ve also used self checkout at Home Depot since it’s usually faster and at the Post Office where it is almost ALWAYS faster as long as you are just sending letters and small packages and only domestic. I don’t think they need to give me a discount to use their service, I’d rather not deal with the clerk who is working as slowly as they possibly can.

  8. Ben Popken says:

    Vinny, I meant more than one aisle of self checkouts, which are yes, usually in blocks of 4.

  9. A discount for using the self-checkout has got to be the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a while. Why? Because in some stores the customers are experienced and know their way around the machines and know what they can check out quickly and what will cause a hassle (coupons, cases of soda, large detergent bottle, etc).

    But the majority of people, if they see there’s a discount, will start using the machines without the patience to slow down (as those machine want you to do) and then I might be paying a little less, but spending as long if not longer than if I’d let the store’s employee check me out in the first place.

    I’m gonna have to go with self-entitlement for the win, Wink.

  10. LTS! says:

    I wonder if one doesn’t consider the alternative. With the constant raising of the minimum wage I would bet that unless people start using the self-checkouts we’ll see our prices go up even more.

    So should you get a 5% discount or are you content that your prices aren’t increased 10% to offset rising costs of keeping employees, regardless of how unhelpful they may be.

  11. Drinker Nisti says:

    Urban Bohemian nails it– most people are still pretty clueless when it comes to those machines. A discount incentive would result in gridlock.

    I haven’t used the self-checkout since a fellow customer mistook me for a cashier and asked me where the diapers were. Said customer got very pissy when I shrugged and returned to my own purchases. Oh well– Albertson’s has bigger problems these days… My ego, however, is irreparably damaged.

  12. mschlock says:

    I hate those machines with a fiery passion, and agree that the last thing I want is having to watch more clue-free people try to use them.

    Perhaps a discount for completing your self-checkout process in a reasonable amount of time, that I could get behind.

  13. DeeJayQueue says:

    Keep the discount a secret. It prints on the receipt discreetly, or tacks on like the “spend $500 and get a free ham” offers they have around txgiving and xmas.

  14. GenXCub says:

    Constant Raising of the minimum wage, writes LTS… despite the fact that minimum wage has been $5.15 since 1997, and when a bill was written in the house to raise it to $7.25, the republitards tacked on an estate tax cut, which makes it sure to fail.

  15. Ishmael says:

    Interesting how it seems that a majority of the voting is for “yes,” but a majority of the comments is “no.”

    I don’t like self-checkout lines. At WalMart I don’t mind as much, because the prices are already low and I already have to carry out my own groceries. However, at grocery stores like Albertson’s and Brookshire’s, where part of the price of my items are the sackboys and the cashiers (especially at Brookshire’s), I want to get what I pay for. So I want the little 16-year-old cheerleader ringing me up and her football captain boyfriend lugging my groceries to the car.

    Albertson’s really ticked me off when they reduced their number of regular checkout lanes from 7 to 3, kept the one express lane, and put in 4 self-checkouts. Their prices are twice as high as Walmarts, yet to get out of there inside of an hour, you have to check yourself out. Not to mention the part where they’ve cut back on sack boys, so you also have to carry your own groceries to your car. Needless to say I don’t shop there anymore.

    I would be just as happy to see more express lanes vs. a discount for self-checkout.

  16. any such name says:

    depends on what I’m purchasing if I use self-checkout at all or not (and even then, self-checkout is only an option at the big chains… my local store, Tony’s Finer Foods in Chicago – the “10 items or less” lane is a goddamned joke.)
    anyway, if I’m getting like 4 things and the line is short at self-checkout, I’m all over it.
    UNLESS any of those 4 things is produce. no way I’m ever memorizing those 4-digit codes for broccoli or fuji apples, and looking them up is the biggest pain in the ass.

  17. Vinny says:

    Don’t like matching pictures with products, do we? :-P

  18. kostia says:

    The apples have stickers on them with the numbers to type in. The screen doesn’t say so, but it works.

    I use the self-checkout except when I have things I know from experience don’t work. Like stuff from the meat or seafood department with those $1-off coupons cause it’s the last day. Those crash the self-checkout at Giant. Or little stuff that’s more than a couple bucks but doesn’t weigh enough to trigger the weight-sensitive belt. It took me fifteen minutes to get out of the store the day I went in and bought a pair of tweezers.

  19. any such name says:

    oh sure, the apples have stickers. but as someone pointed out in a previous post, if that’s not available, and you’re not buying the “popular” produce… no thanks, i’ll have some pimple-faced teen whose job it is do it for me.

  20. aka Cat says:

    God. I’d pay a surcharge would discourage the jerks who let their small children do the self checkout.

  21. LintMan says:

    I hate self checkouts. Invariably it seems their weight-sensing system gets confused, it practically calls me a theif and locks up, and then I have to find the (always-MIA) supervisor person to come over to reset it.

    Ever try using one of these things if you have more than one or two bagfuls of (bulky) stuff? Forget it. The weight system won’t let you remove the bags to make room.

    Or it stops because I bought something that happens to require age verification (ie: beer) and I gotta track down the missing supervisor bozo to OK it.

    Maybe I’m just mad because the local market put these in and reduced their human cashier staff to one lane except at peak hours when it’s three lanes so it always takes you 15+ minutes to check out regardless of whether you use the self-checkouts (because there’s 12 people on line for the two non-broken self-ones). And yes, it’s an Albertson’s.

    So yeah, if the store’s too cheap to hire cashiers, the least they could do is pass some savings on to me. But I’d really just prefer if they brought the cashiers back.

  22. HaxRomana says:

    You know, that’s a great idea. And with all the new customers (and
    extra revenue) that they picked up with that discount program, they
    could give their employees a raise. Stands to reason, right?

    Sorry, that’s not how it works. Businesses do that to save money. If
    they give you a discount (or give their workers a raise), it ceases to
    be savings.