OPINION: Why I Love Self Checkout

For all of its flaws, I really have to say that I love self-checkout. These are all the reasons why I think it's awesome.

By Kristi Eckert | Published

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self-checkout grocery prices

Let me preface this by saying that I am keenly aware that self-checkout is FAR from perfect. In my personal experience, the ones located inside ShopRite stores (a regional grocery chain on the east coast) are particularly abysmal. There have been plenty of times when I’ve opted to choose to go to a traditional cashier versus a self-checkout station when I shop at ShopRite. So, while I recognize that self-checkout has a lot of room for improvement, there are still so many reasons why I love it. 

I’M QUICKER THAN A CASHIER

First and foremost, in general, I find that I am so much quicker than a cashier. The expeditious speed at which I can scan and bag my items is more often than not far quicker than the speed at which a cashier works. The fact that I can expedite the process by choosing self-checkout is a major plus in my book. Thus, I love having the option.

Second, I find it utterly pointless to stand in line for the sake of having someone else ring up my items. Having the choice to skip the line is something that I really value. While some may make the argument that they refuse to do the job of a cashier. I think cashiers could be so much more valuable on the floor helping customers. This could also be far less mind-numbing than being glued to a register for hours. Also, I think it’s worth it to consider how a reduced headcount on a company’s payroll could free up more funds to pay individuals more.

I HATE SMALL TALK 

I am not one for small talk. Self-checkout allows me to skip this societal pleasantry entirely. I can go into a store, pick up what I need, checkout, and then leave without ever having to utter a single word. For someone with a busy schedule and far better things to be doing than shopping in a store, this is a huge win for me. 

CONTROL

Piggybacking off the fact that I utterly detest small talk, self-checkout allows me to control my entire shopping experience. From the moment I enter until the second I step out the door, I am the one that gets to call the shots. When I reach the self-checkout I get to pack my bags the way I want to. Packing my own bags is something that is especially beneficial now given the fact that I reside in NJ where plastic bags have been banned. Hence, when shopping reusable bags are required. At self-checkout, I can make sure that they are not packed too heavy, or with items that I don’t want to be packed together. 

It’s also worth mentioning in the coming years self-checkout is poised to become even more seamless. Some grocers have been testing out app integrations that allow shoppers to scan as they go with their phones. And when shoppers are done shopping they simply pay via the app to complete the process without ever having to take the items out of their carts.

CONTACTLESS 

The pandemic served to highlight how valuable self-checkouts are for their contactless characteristics. Given that we are all still living through the pandemic and just now nearing the endemic phase, I really value the fact that I don’t have to engage closely with strangers that I know nothing about. Suffice it to say, I’m not too keen on getting sick. And if I can avoid people, that’s a major plus in my book

THE CONCLUSION

You may be one who loves self-checkout like me, or you might despise it. However, I think that the value of self-checkout far outweighs the ingrained and outdated societal expectations of needing a cashier to scan and bag items. And while there is still so so much room for improvement, I think the pros of self-checkout are much greater than the present cons. When it comes down to it, self-checkout suits me and I have no shame in saying that.