The Disadvantages of Self Service Checkouts

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Many shoppers prefer self-service checkouts because of their perceived convenience, but there are instances when a self-service checkout can be less convenient than letting a cashier scan your order. Some customers deliberately avoid the self-service checkout method, opting for a more traditional shopping experience, complete with human interaction.

Price Discrepancies Cause Delays

Occasionally, whether in a self-checkout or cashier-controlled lane, an item may scan at a higher price than advertised. This causes more of a problem with self-checkout, as you do not have the ability to override the price. In this case, you either call a store associate to make the correction or continue the checkout process, and then take your receipt to customer service for a refund. Neither method is ideal, as they both take more time than it would take for a cashier to resolve the issue while scanning your order.

Some Items Won't Scan

There are ways to manually enter a bar code for an item that isn’t able to be scanned, but many users either don’t know how or don’t have access to this method. If an item doesn’t scan, often the only answer is to call for help. This means waiting for an associate to come and enter the bar code for you, which causes a delay for you and those waiting in line behind you.

Cash Payments Slow the Process

Customers who pay in cash can hand a cashier a collection of currency in almost any condition. Many people try to organize them neatly, but it isn’t necessary to remove every fold or crease. With the self-checkout method, though, customers must enter each bill separately, making sure it is as flat as possible, which can cause a significant delay depending on how many bills and coins you must enter. In addition, from time to time a checkout machine simply won't accept a particular bill, leading to more loss of time while a store associate replaces the bill.

Buying Alcohol Causes Delays

Many stores now require that an associate check your identification when you purchase alcohol, regardless of your age or apparent age. The delay this causes generally is much longer than in a cashier-controlled lane.

Split Payments

In a cashier-controlled lane, it's easy to split the payment - for example, part cash and part card. This option often isn't available in self-service lanes, which require a single payment for the entire order.

Sometimes Minor Annoyances

Some stores provide only a confined space for bagging, but their bagging scale nags customers who don't place every item on the bagging platform. In other cases, the bagging scale doesn't register that the customer's actually bagged an item, and holds up the process while insisting that the errant item be bagged. In addition, if a customer accidentally leaves an item behind, there's a greater change that a live cashier will notice.