Supermarkets are always trying to improve the speed of your shopping trip as well as keep the labor costs down and still provide you with a complete savings-filled trip each week. The self-checkout saves them money and it allows them to pass that on to the consumer in the highly competitive, low profit food industry.
The self-checkout has come to be a basic in most supermarkets after 15 years of growth. In most stores, a good 4 to 8 checkouts are now functioning for those tech-savvy shoppers who are in need of a quicker shopping experience for their very busy lives while still being able to offer all the discounts, coupon usage / distribution, and other perks.
Popularity of the systems started in the late 1990’s and at first had some kinks to be worked out. Errors in pricing, malfunctions of the machines, programming updates for sales, etc. were slower to be fixed than most would have liked. But by 2012, we saw progress with many improvements such as store aisle scanners that now allow you to shop, record prices, and bag while you walk through the store, and then simply scan the scanner’s bar code screen to check out, thus saving time and energy. Even your produce items can be scanned in the produce area for your handheld scanner to transfer that information at checkout.
Don’t be intimidated by any of this technology if you need a time saving device. Once you get acquainted with it, you’ll begin to see it has real advantages. You can still use your coupons at checkout. You still get new coupons from transactions. You can use many forms of payment from credit to debit to check (depending on the store). You can even get cash back from your debit card and avoid the bank line or drive-up ATM.
The wave of the future is clear. Even drug stores, warehouse clubs, home improvement stores and gas stations use self-checkout lines and with the new technology, astute shoppers appreciate the time and money savings it has been generating. If you need a quick tutoring, ask your supermarket customer service to show you how it’s done. It will only take a few minutes to become a tech expert!
And while we’re on the subject of self-checkout lines, just a few notes about etiquette:
- As with the other checkout lanes, respect the express lanes (12 items and under for example) and don’t use them if your purchase doesn’t qualify.
- Be aware of the line customs. If there are 4 self-checkouts in a square, there may be 1 line for all 4 checkouts, or 2 lines for 2 checkouts each. If the self-checkouts are simply side-by-side, each has its own line.
- Don’t start ringing up items until the previous customer has finished bagging their purchase.
- If you need help, there is generally a designated person to assist the self-checkouts. Get their attention, and be patient as they have multiple checkouts to handle.