Good morning, shoplifters! Kroger location converting entirely to self-checkout

Originally published at: Good morning, shoplifters! Kroger location converting entirely to self-checkout | Boing Boing


Yay, just one more way that the “need” of the already wealthy for even more money means an even shittier existence for the rest of us.


I use self check out all the time and I love it. There have never been that long a line for checking out. Yes this will cut down on the employees They need to pay but I don’t think it’s the problem for the customer you think it is.


Considering the self checkout lanes at Costco are manned with more people than the actual checkout lanes, yeah, it is a problem for the customer.


I disagree. Having no chance at all to interact with a human being while buying something sucks for many of us.

Here’s a good explanation of why a conact-free existence enjoyed by the wealthy isn’t actually a good thing:

No paywall:

We should not want what the rich have got.


I despise self checkout. I don’t want to bag my own groceries, let alone check myself out. Also, there are so many errors in making it work. Also where I have been, you cannot buy alcohol. I am glad to hear there are people who like it, but to me it seems like a blatant reduction of services letting the company save money.


My local Aldi recently switched over to predominantly self-checkout. The second time I was there after this change, it became clear to be that it’s helpful to have a mix. The self-check got so backed-up that they had to open the other lanes. The employees are much more efficient with the whole operation, especially the more full the cart is.

I’ll still advocate for self-checkout when there are only a few items. Those people need neither wait in line behind fuller carts nor take up space for those waiting with those carts.


Why pay employees to checkout when you can have the customers do it for you.

Ikea mastered this concept with flatpack DIY furniture.


This is the primary issue I have with self checkout, as well as self order kiosks at McDonalds, etc. Rich people and people who have deluded themselves into believing that they can be rich someday if only the government would keep their hands out of business love to complain about taxes and minimum wage laws redistributing wealth away from the people who earned it. Without getting into a discussion of whether rich people actually earned their wealth, automation, robotics, self-checkout lines, self-ordering kiosks, AI, and the like are without question redistributing wealth back to the already wealthy. It’s not like they’re cutting prices when they automate all this shit. They’re just pocketing the money they used to pay humans to do the work. Corporations all over the US are experiencing record profits, but the federal minimum wage hasn’t changed since 2009, and compared to the cost of living, peaked in 1968. But yes, let’s all be happy because it makes shopping convenient. Meanwhile, more and more people are relegated to gig economy work without guaranteed income or health insurance. Yay!


Well, me ol’ mum can’t be shopping there. She can’t deal with all the can’t scan a zucchini but can scan a box of tomatoes errors combined with the coupons and patron cards and pass-codes. Plus she really does like interacting with people. Ah well, brutal maximizing of profits was never about making customers’ lives either convenient or stress-free.


In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is.

In theory, I have no problem with self-checkout. If I just have a few things, it should be faster.

In practice, there’s usually a line at the self checkout. There’s a small but significant number of people using it that (to be charitable) shouldn’t be, and they clog things up. It would have been faster for them to go through normal checkout.

And I’ve noticed that the scanners in the self-checkout aren’t nearly as fast as the ones in the staffed lanes. The staffed ones will scan as fast as you can pass the items over them. The self-checkout scanners take a few seconds to process each item - this may be due to needing to sync with the scale on the output. Or not.


My preference for assisted vs self check out depends based on what I’m buying and which lanes are busier - it’s fine if you are just mostly buying packaged and labeled items, but if you buy produce or … gasp… alcohol so you need to be carded anyway?

But yeah groceries have been cutting down on staff, often only one or two manned lanes are open.

Most Kroger stores are also unionized so … of course the owners want to get rid of these folks. Maybe that’s why they trial it in Tennessee - the article didn’t say either way but those are less likely to be unionized than say the ones in the Midwest


you mention mcdonalds and I was shocked at how bad their self-checkout kiosks and that whole process is. It actually has convinced me not to use it and if they were to remove people from inside a mcdonald’s so you had to, I would not go inside a mcdonald’s. (let’s leave out the ‘eating from mcdonald’s’ issue entirely.)

It’s like it’s actively user-hostile, like somehow ordering a burger is actually complicated for staff to do and they do it for you, and they mirrored that into the kiosks where talking to a human is “I want a #2, here’s my credit card”. If you can actually do that process in under one straight minute of fussing around with the screen, I will be surprised.


At the Marks and Spencer where I used to live I once waited for nearly five minutes to have someone come and assist with an issue with self checkout. Timed it. Showed the store manager on the way out, since it wasn’t the first time.

It 100% is the problem I think it is.


Which is on Costco. They seem paranoid about some type of customer experience, but when the entire check out is jammed with people I don’t care about small talk.

I also have a membership to BJ’s which also has self check out in multiple sizes. There is one or two employees who oversee all of the self check area. They aren’t paranoid about letting the actual customer use the self check out kiosk. It’s simple and hardly ever an issue.


It’s hard to understand why McDonald’s would enshitify the ordering process with the kiosk considering how much slower they’ve gotten with preparing food thanks to how many cook-to-order items they have. Now it takes longer to order food and to get the food.

I eat McDonald’s far more often than I would like thanks to my family and the rewards/deals on the app.


while I feel I’m veering off topic, I also wonder if I’m not - you’re right, the experience has been degrading a lot.

it seems fast food has less employees, and the sort of no-interaction mechanisms (ordering online/in app, gig-worker delivery) has completely torpedoed user experience.

example: my area used to have 4 24hr mcdonald’s restaurants a ‘trivial’ drive from my home. now, there is only one. at 10pm at night, that one restaurant likely has one (1) employee, and yet is so swamped with doordash orders that it will take AN HOUR to prepare the food. they will indicate that the food is ready for pickup, but the DD driver will sit there for A WHOLE HOUR waiting to be able to pick it up.

Surely there are a whole bunch of converging problems here. it’s trivial to order food from an app; the food is only made for corporate app customers when they arrive; doordash/grubhub food is made immediately; there aren’t any employees; the pay is so low that no one wants to be an employee; etc etc.

it makes me wonder how this enshittification process works its way through. consumers seem to bend to it to some degree, as in they still want fast food so they tolerate poor service at least for a while. then eventually something will pop up that isn’t enshittified yet and people may flock to it (?). That sounds like ‘the market will solve things’ and of course, maybe it won’t, if nothing pops up to solve it.

same with grocery store experiences. if they get worse and no one pops up going “hey I’m doing this better!” then we all just live with the worse…


A totally self-checkout setup is a waste of resources in most places. Like others have said, there is a decent percentage of the population who are going to need assistance, who have larger than average orders, or really just want to talk to someone.

From my time as a grocery worker I came across 3 general types of people.
-People with large orders who liked the interaction. They wanted to talk to you.
-People with orders who wanted to be done with it, they wanted to move on in life.
-People who had fewer items and were fairly causal with the situation. If you were busy they’d move on, if not they might chat a bit. (This was more typical for the later night customers.)

I was a very efficient and fast cashier. That first group didn’t really appreciate that, they really wanted me to slow down and chat. The second group loved it.

A counter to some of the points brought up here is Chik-fil-a. They are all about the customer service, but are focused on how to make things faster for people who WANT to use it. I order in the app and do drive thru and in store pick more than in person. It works great. But I can just as easily go in or drive thru and order face to face with someone.


If you like to take only an American coffee, you have to wait more like that. Luckily the McDonalds near me it’s old school, but the writing for that it’s on the wall because they opened a new one at 600 meters, with the self checkout. Luckily a nearby bar has a drip coffee machine, so I’m ok when I need a lot of caffeine.

By the wat there’s a pub nearby. Their burgers are more expensive, but they are bigger and tastier. And of course they serve you a fine selection of draught beers. No McDonalds radio, but Sky Sport.

I am very much mixed on self-checkout. Mainly because I feel you need both. The local Target almost never has an actual cashier anymore which means we have insanely long lines at the 4 self-checkout stations while 12 registers sit empty. In that case, they don’t make sense.

I wonder where this will progress to. Will we have a time where we unload our own stuff off the truck next?

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