Will Retailers Bag Self-Checkout Option?

CHICAGO (CBS) — Supermarkets across the country are beginning to bag self-serve checkout lanes.

Industry experts say shoppers can expect some changes here in the Chicago area.

CBS2’s Dorothy Tucker reports on why retailers are taking a second look at this convenience.

The human voice inside the automated machine, guiding us through the self checkout lane, was introduced about 10 years ago.

“I think it’s fantastic. Because you want to get in and get out,” Dominick’s shopper Curtis Turner says.

Turner is in the minority.

According to a survey by Food Marketing Institute, only 16 percent of supermarket transactions in 2010 were done at self-checkout lanes. Those who avoid the lanes complain about confusion, problems weighing produce, among other problems.

“A lot of times I want to cash a check and you can’t do that self-checkout,” Jewel shopper Sharon Casey says.

Consumer complaints are one reason experts say some retailers are removing self-checkout lanes on the East Coast and reconsidering it in other areas. The rising cost of food is another incentive. Prices are expected to jump nearly 10 percent this year, so the stores are pushing service.

“It’s now going to be all about relationships,” says Phil Lampert, editors of Supermarketguru.com.

But don’t expect all the self-serve lanes to disappear in the Chicago area. Lampert says stores like Jewel and Dominick’s and CVS will make the decisions based on location. 

Lampert predicts self-checkout lanes will stay in the city, where there is a younger lunchtime crowd, but be reduced in the suburbs where older customers have more time.

More from Dorothy Tucker
  • Joann Butkus

    I happen to like the self-checkouts when I don’t have too many items and no “free product “coupons. those are best done at a full-serve register.

  • Bernard

    Self-checkout means I get to bag my groceries not some person who generally could care less about the time I took to select items … and just “drops” or throws my groceries into the bags.

    • chicago48

      THUMBS UP Bernard

  • Kelly

    I only use self checkout for a number of reasons.. First prices, when a cashier rings things up, they go so fast, you end up finding out afterwards, that a sale price didn’t register, and now you have to make a special trip to the service desk to get the difference. .. Second, bagging. I don’t like 50 bags for 50 items. Yes there was a time, mainly with paper bags, when there is a set way to pack the bag, but with plastic, they still fall over, so I don’t care if my cans of cat food are in the same bag with the chips and bread.. Finally I like to take my young nieces and nephews shopping with me, and they love to bag… Seriously they get a kick out of the self check out line… There is another store that doesn’t have self checkout, and sometimes it is a pain,.as you are relegated to the speed of the cashier and the limit of how many are working, and how many baggers are on hand… I don’t know who they questioned, but I never received any opinion poll…

    • chicago48

      THUMBS UP! Kelly

  • chicago48

    I agree with Kelly ,self checkout is the only way to go! Then I get to bag it may way! I do not have to watch the cashier nor the bag person. Some baggers seem no difference between diffent items – canned goods vs perishables. Others just do not care.

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