Self-checkout lanes in New Jersey are everywhere. Almost all supermarkets have them (like ShopRite, Stop & Shop, etc.) Convenience stores like Quick Chek also have them, and mega-stores such as Walmart have switched over to self-checkout in the most dramatic way of them all.
Wegmans of Raritan gets self-checkout
And they just got them installed last month.
So what is your take on these relatively new ways of buying your things? Does it matter to you?
What is the purpose of self-checkout anyway?
On paper – a common reason for self-checkout at stores is to “reduce overhead,” (i.e., fewer employees).
All it takes really is one or two “overseers” to manage sometimes up to a dozen checkout lanes or more. Especially at Walmart.
The systems have all sorts of technology in them. Cameras, scales, and much more. They do everything to prevent theft.
However, it’s been said that theft – whether intentional or not – apparently is 500% more frequent when customers use the self-checkout lanes.
Many stores have also indicated that they’re okay with the increased theft – as it’s still more profitable for them over having paid attendants at every checkout lane.
No real savings for the customers?
One thing that gets us is, that they still have staffed checkout lanes. And you do not save ANY money by “doing the work” yourself.
Sure, there may be some lines when using a manned checkout, but most often it’s not a big deal. And even the self-checkout lanes do indeed get lines during peak hours. So why put the burden on the customer?
Is it possible that the prices would be even higher without all this new-fangled technology?
Either way – it would be nice if the self-checkout customers received some kind of incentive (financial or otherwise) for literally helping these stores out.
This is just the beginning! More robotics to come
We believe this transition to self-checkout is just the start. This time in 2030 – most “big box” stores like Walmart will be 100% fully automated.
Put your stuff in the cart – and just walk out of the store. Your debit card will be automatically billed. In fact, Amazon was testing this technology last year already.
The time between now and then – will be filled with incremental improvements to the systems. While supermarkets may have issues with fresh produce, It may even happen sooner than that. They may just individually package all items with barcodes or RFID sensors. Don’t think it can’t happen as the cost of these technologies drops dramatically over the next few years.
The human customer service will remain for the foreseeable future
This automation cannot be stopped. However, we don’t think it will take over entirely.
For one, the older generation will indeed still prefer human contact. So we have a few more decades of that desire. And even the younger generations (millennials, etc.) have not turned into total lemming-robots (yet), although “most” of them are.
100 years from now – we suspect that there will still be plenty of “niche” markets that keep the “old school” method of people helping people. But the majority of stores (what are left of them) will certainly be as automated as they can get away with. Anything to make a bigger buck!