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Supermarkets Dump DIY Registers

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Self-service check-outs are falling out of favor.

Shoppers have hailed self-service supermarket registers as a solution to long lines and surly salespeople. But stores counter that they’ve become a big problem.

Several supermarkets – including Big Y and Albertsons – are phasing out machines that let consumers scan and bag groceries solo, reports CBSNews.com. Now, it’s back to the regular check-out lines.

Part of the problem: shoppers aren’t honest. A study from Big Y Foods, which has 61 locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts, found both accidental and intentional theft common. Some people incorrectly identified produce. Others just took the opportunity to bag items without paying. In a statement, Big Y told Pay Dirt that self-checkout also makes it easier to misuse coupons because there isn’t someone looking over your shoulder to check that the coupon is being used for the right product.

On top of that, self-registers may not be the time savers many shoppers believe they are, say experts. “For fruits and vegetables you have to find the code, key in the code and sometimes you get it wrong,” says independent retail analyst Jeff Green. “It’s a big hassle. Plus, if you make a mistake it takes a human to come over to you to fix it.” Indeed, fewer people are using the machines. In stores where self-service lanes are available, self-checkout represented 16% of transactions last year, down from 22% three years ago, according to a study by the Food Marketing Institute.

Do you find these scanners convenient or a hassle?

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    • if anyones on here today im a little late but just back off holls, happy new year to yous all
      greg

    • hello every one – hope yous had a good xmas – iv blew 3 months of dieting in one day ha , all the best defos

    • hello blogs.smartmoney.com -ers

    • I use the self checkouts at one store only so I can use internet coupons, which they won’t take at the regular registers. I’m an honest person and the coupons are legit, so there’s no reason for them to ban them, especially when they scan the same as newspaper-insert coupons.

      Most other times, though, I prefer the regular checkout, since they can scan and bag far faster than I can.

    • I find that they are a mixed bag, pun intended. While they can save time, if the manned check outs have lines and the self serve’s dont, I just find that machine voice ” put your item in the bag.. PUT YOUR ITEM I THE BAG… DONT REMOVE THE BAG” to just be too annoying. When they work, its great, but if there is even the slightest problem, it takes more time correcting it than waiting on a line. But i think part of the problem is that the stores don’t have enuf of the checkout lines manned. Our store has eight check out lines, but ive never seen more then 4 open at once time.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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