Disadvantages of Self-service Checkouts

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    What are the disadvantages of Self-service Checkouts



    Some of these may be specific to a particular system, others not.

    Instructions not clear – too much info/distraction, including all the pictures representing payment methods, that make it difficult for the customer to find the specific bit of info they need at the moment
    They can make customers feel stupid when they’re trying to figure out how to use it
    Customers must overcome the fear of making a mistake, especially because they may feel stupid in asking for help to correct a mistake
    Customer must learn different systems at different stores
    Process is less robust (For example, I hate the system at my local Home Depot, where – apparently – the bag sits on a scale or sensor plate and you have to place each item in the bag or it squawks at you, making you feel stupid. What happens if an item doesn’t scan right? What if I want to bag things differently?)
    Can create fear of being accused of shoplifting wrongly or over an innocent mistake
    Creates a feeling that someone must be watching you closely as a potential shoplifter, as opposed to being served by a cashier
    Makes you feel like you must be stupid and/or helpless if you prefer to go to an actual human being

    Expected savings not realized, as you can’t actually eliminate all the people.
    Likely increased risk of shoplifting attempts, especially among customers who wouldn’t otherwise have considered it
    Each station can be significantly slower, as customers must take time to figure out the system.


    Bill W

    Having to purchase alcohol. I never buy beer at the store that uses these cause I know I will have to wait for approval. These machines were supposed to take out the wait, so I just don’t buy beer there any longer.


    Mu Joe

    I HATE those things!
    The first time I tried one of those, I was in a hurry, I only had one item and my choice was to either use the self-checkout or wait in line behind the little old lady with the cart full of groceries. What a disaster!
    My only item was very light in weight, I think it was a light bulb. When I scanned my item, the nice computerized voice instructed me to please place my item in the bag. I did as instructed. Nothing happened. After a few more seconds, the nice voice repeated her instruction to place the item in the bag.
    Now I’m stumped. The item IS in the bag. How to I finish my purchase?
    “Please place the item in the bag.”
    $*%@! It’s in the bag!! You big stupid shiney pleasant machine!
    “Please place the item in the bag.”
    Now I’m starting to get peeved and I’m looking around to see if there is a live human being to help. Nope.
    “Please place the item in the bag.”
    So I start looking for instructions to just cancel my purchase so I can go wait in line behind the little old lady with the cart full of groceries, who by now is almost finished with her transaction.
    “Please place the item in the bag.”
    Finally, the electronic voice gives up and says that if I have no other items to scan that I should conclude my transaction. At that point, a new menu option appears on the screen that had not been available before that allows me to conclude my purchase.
    I go to insert my two-dollars and change but the bill reader keeps rejecting my ratty bill. In, out. In, out. I give up and resort to using my visa card for my $2.20 purchase, for which I already had correct change. Just as I’m completing my transaction and grabbing my receipt, the lone attendant for the self-serve area comes over to ask if I need any assistance. “No, I’m fine thanks.” (where were you five minutes ago?)
    You guessed it, the little old lady with the cart full of groceries was already outside loading up her car as I walked out the door. What a complete waste of time.

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