No more queues in grocery stores

We got the computerized food scanners, but we've still got checkout lines. What happened?

North Bay Nugget - May 29, 1974

     Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 18, 2023
     Category: Technology | 1970s | Yesterday’s Tomorrows

The way I see it, when the checkout process became easier and faster, fewer checkout operators were needed. For every action, is an equal and opposite reaction.
Posted by Teri on 09/18/23 at 10:44 PM
Lines still exist. In WalMart today, with their 24 self-checkout units (only 2 of which were down (surprisingly)), all were full, and there were people waiting their turn.

Self-checkouts are inherently slow because a customer can put items on the belt while a checker is processing their first items, but at self-checkout, the processes are consecutive rather than concurrent.
Posted by Phideaux on 09/18/23 at 11:57 PM
I bet the self-checkout gurus didn't think that customers would take ages to find the barcode, apply it to the scanner (where it would fail to scan because technology is allergic to said customer), deposit the toilet paper rolls in their cart (causing a self-checkout hissy fit), check their tomatoes for a non-existent fruit sticker (probably stuck on a toddler's hand or the stand the tomatoes are standing on), search for "tomatoes" under T and discover that their Italian tomatoes are not on special like the regular ones, discard the tomatoes, and put a piece of ginger the size of their thumb nail on the scale, causing another self-checkout hissy fit. In other words, they forgot to test the things with actual customers instead of the IT team. No wonder the lines are still there.
Posted by Yudith on 09/22/23 at 05:33 AM
The ones at Price Chopper are still so prone to problems, they sometimes have two people to help you check out (for eight scanners). Their "all items must be put in bagging area" and "only one item at a time" are bad management decisions, not true tech problems.

The ones at Wal-Mart made great strides a couple of years ago. It's rare now for me to need help except for age confirmation.
Posted by Phideaux on 09/22/23 at 04:51 PM
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