, Phil Miller
and Don Boudreaux
all wonder about the popularity of self-service checkout stands in retail stores. I've used one regularly at a local grocery for about a year. In an attempt to answer some questions, here's what I've observed.
- Don notes that one big user of the scanners are foreign speakers. The one at the grocery store and at our Home Depot are both bilingual Spanish/English. It would make sense, over time, to introduce other languages. The discomfort or uncertainty in dealing with a language problem at checkout is removed. I know I would have loved one in grocery stores in, say, Macedonia or Ukraine.
- Most of these machines handle the theft problem by sensing when something moves into the bagging area without first being scanned. And it's not unusual for a store employee to stand watching three or four self-service lanes. As Phil notes, this also cuts down one source of employee theft.
- Self-service means also self-bagging. More savings.
- It entertains the kids. Littlest Scholar insists on using the scanner and bagging. I just sit there and wait to run my debit card through the machine.