Just asking…

Whenever you shop, do you prefer self-check to whisk out of the store, or are you a traditionalist and favor the customary sales clerk handling your purchase?

Many stores are embracing and enlarging self-check; many folks prefer this method quickly exit the store.

What’s your choice? Traditional cashier check-out, or self-check?

The elderly — me included — prefer waiting in the shortest line for the usual clerk check-out. In many instances, you get know one or two of ‘em at the cash register – regularity and constancy make you engage in fun small talk with your cashier, swapping views of the humid weather, the election, or approaching holidays.

A shopper at self-check means one less hire.

But on the mainland, key brands stores have eliminated cashiers for wholly self-check. My worry: each vacant check-out stand means someone no longer is on the payroll. And is honesty the prevailing notion among self-checkers? Will this do-it-yourself method encourage “shoplifting” with a possible alibi that the scanner didn’t scan? And does the store have a means to flag the unscanned item?

You’ve seen the expansion of self-check, at Costco, Longs, Target, Walmart, Safeway and more. It’s the future. And the future is now. Aides are visible for queries, but essentially, you take stuff out of your shopping cart and scan purchases as the cashier. Have you seen that overfilled cart at Costco? Does a self-scanner have the smarts to include each item – and will there be delays at the exit door, when checkers suspect a non-scanned item?

So if you willingly do the work to scan your goods, do you expect a small a discount off your bill? Is this what retail has come to?

I know one person who no longer goes to a merchant without a live cashier. Can’t blame her; she has to do the work, with no perk.

What’s your take on self-check or cashier? Share your views.


  1. I shop at Kahala Longs and have a wonderful check out pal named Mari. She helps me get the best buys, chats while she swipes and gets rave reviews. It is easy to find the place listed on the receipt to send in a comment. I have no interest in a machine. Whole Foods also has lines with “real people !”

  2. I’m in the middle. When I only have 1 or 2 items, I don’t mind using self check. But at our neighborhood Longs/CVS, the “aides” are usually not that helpful. Especially when it comes to using a coupon or a Longs gift card, etc. I feel like even they don’t like that job as they’re just standing around most of the time. When I have more items, I’ll only go to the clerk that I’m used to i.e. the helpful Auntie at Foodland that’s been there for decades. I don’t want her job to go away. My Mom who is 90 years young, prefers to go to a person. She likes to make chit chat with the clerks that she’s been going to for years. She will only do self check out when I’m with her and if lines are too long, say at Target.

  3. Often there are not enough check stands open, so if I have just one or two items, it makes perfect sense for me to self scan, rather than wait in a line that’s due to understaffing.
    When I have a normal amount of groceries, I’ll wait in line and enjoy, greeting the cashier and exchanging quick pleasantries. What I don’t enjoy, is listening to the person in front of me exchange a five minute chat with the cashier, ignoring the growing line full of impatient customers.
    It never occurred to me that there should be a discount for self check out. Might not be a bad idea. Sort of like a credit for bringing your own bag.

  4. I shop at Costo, Sam Club, Safeway , Longs and Target…always use self cehck out…faster for me….I have plenty of people to make conversations with other than checkers…At Whole Foods I use the checker…..They should offer a DISCOUNT FOR SELF CHECK OUT….

  5. I agree with you. We need the personal touch whether we know it. In Japan, where it has the fastest-growing aging population, increasing number of businesses are introducing “slow lanes” to take care of the seniors who can’t keep up with technology and want the personal touch. Self-service checkout is fine but there will always be a need for personal “live” service in an aging society. Everyone gets old.

  6. Hi Wayne,

    You feel like I do. Self check out is taking a job away from someone so I always go in the line for a human cashier! Aloha Dolores

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