• Walmart and other big retailers in Arizona are rethinking a major store policy
  • Retailers are looking at eliminating a big source of customer complaints
  • Cutting costs is a big motivator

Why Stores Added Self-Check Outs

In the beginning, stores like Walmart and Cosco added self-checkouts as a way to bring down labor costs. First introduced in 1986, self-checkouts were the beginning of a largely unpopular trend for retail outlets.

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Adding self-checkout lanes began transferring the workload away from paid employees, who required salaries, leave, benefits, and other compensation - to unpaid customers. According to CNN, stores estimated the change would reduce cashier costs by as much as 66%.

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Why Stores Are Rethinking Self-Checkout Machines

While the reduction in labor costs initially benefited retailers, many other problems associated with the machines have surfaced over the years.

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Simple kiosk mistakes by customers who misidentify vegetables are common. Customers who struggle with the technology or don't properly scan an item before putting it in a shopping basket can be an issue.

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The biggest problem retailers have seen is an increase in shoplifting, especially since the pandemic. This has left stores in a quandary about how to handle the growing problems.

The Dangers of Using Self-Checkout Kiosks

While some consumers intentionally set out to shoplift, for most it's a simple mistake. Some stores began stopping customers on the way out to check receipts, further slowing shoppers down.

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Others instituted a zero-tolerance policy, often detaining or arresting otherwise honest citizens without any other recourse. Shoppers were being warned about the dangers of using self-checkouts, for this reason.

Retailers Like Walmart and Cosco May Remove Self-Checkouts

What started as an effort to simplify the checkout process, reduce costs, and save time with customers has turned into a retail nightmare.

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Self-checkout kiosks have drawn a lot of complaints from customers. They complain of being overcharged, don't like having to wait around for a customer service rep to assist with specialty items or machine problems, and dislike the anti-theft monitoring systems that record them at eye level as they "do a store employee's job," and ring up the groceries they're buying.

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According to CNN, Walmart and other stores are now making plans to scrap the self-checkout machines. They've already pulled them from stores in New Mexico returning to traditional cashiers.

When will this change come to Arizona? Only time will tell, but for those of us who shun practice, it can't come soon enough.

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