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IPFS News Link • Robots and Artificial Intelligence

Walmart And Costco Considering Ditching Self-Checkout Lines Amidst "Backlash"

•, by Tyler Durden

British supermarket chain Booth's is leading the way, removing them in all 28 of its stores. Managing director Nigel Murray said: "Our customers have told us this over time — that the self-scan machines that we've got in our stores … can be slow, they can be unreliable (and) they're obviously impersonal."

"Some customers don't know one different apple versus another, for example. There's all sorts of fussing about with that and then the minute you put any alcohol in your basket somebody's got to come and check that you're of the right age," he added. 

The report says that at Booths, customers often incorrectly identified the fruits and vegetables they were purchasing at self-checkout stations. Additionally, buying alcohol via self-checkout encountered difficulties as it required staff intervention for age verification.

Initially introduced in the 1980s to reduce labor costs, self-service machines transferred the work from employees to customers. They gained popularity in supermarkets in the early 2000s, especially during the pandemic, as they allowed shoppers to avoid close contact with others, according to the Yahoo report

However, retailers are now reassessing self-checkout due to its association with increased merchandise losses, both from accidental errors and deliberate theft, a phenomenon known as "shrink."

This issue has been escalating, with some attributing it to shoplifting and advocating for stricter penalties. The contribution of self-checkout systems to this problem is also recognized.

A study across the U.S., Britain, and Europe revealed that retailers with self-checkout lanes experienced about 4% loss, more than twice the industry average. Issues contributing to this include products with multiple or non-scannable barcodes, and the need for customers to manually enter codes for items like produce and meat, leading to accidental or unnoticed errors in scanning.