Over the last several months, I have watched our local Walmart expand its self-checkout units exponentially. These days, only a few of the checkout lines are manned by humans during the busiest shopping hours. Because our community tends to be older, the queues are long. My husband, for instance, enjoys interacting with the cashiers and refuses to do self-checkout, even though, if we only have a few items, we could be out of the store in a flash.



While I don’t mind doing it myself sometimes, it gets complicated when you have fruits and vegetables, alcohol, want to refill your propane tank, or your cart is full to overflowing.

Recently, I went into the store at 6:30 a.m. to pick up a few items. As expected, no line with a live body was open and, to make matters worse, only one self-checkout lane of approximately fifteen was available was operating.

The first item I attempted to scan wouldn’t ring up. I tried it several times and, as I was fiddling with the package, moving it around various ways, a man came up behind me. Finally, I realized that the reason it wasn’t scanning is that the box had two different bar scans. Then, I punched something and, “whoops” the machine started misbehaving. All this time, I apologized profusely for delaying him. Just in the nick of time, a real person came to save me.

I was teed-off and grumbled all the way to my meeting. What is the sense of forcing everyone to “scan and go” and then requiring them to wait in line for one machine? Can’t you just turn on two or three?

But then again, maybe I’ve just gotten too logical in my old age.

What has been your experience with self-checkouts?

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