The popularity of self-checkout lanes at our favorite stores has increased over the past few years, and honestly, it’s not hard to figure out why. 

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The usual weekend shopping trip to our local grocery store used to come with a massive headache. Now, self-checkout lanes, with their combo of convenience and speed, let us speed through the store without having to suffer through standing in long lines. 

Self-checkout is especially clutch after a long day, when all we want to do is get home and plop on the couch. Running into the store to grab a few things for dinner doesn’t seem nearly as exhausting when we know there’s self-checkout there, and it’s no wonder so many fellow shoppers love them. 

Unfortunately, the love may not last. Many retailers are seeing self-checkout lanes as more of a hassle than a convenience. How will this affect us the next time we go through the self-checkout lane?

Why Many Stores Are Getting Rid Of Self-Checkout Lanes

Massive chains  like Wegmans, Walmart, and Targe  are becoming less and less supportive of self-checkout lanes for several reasons.


Stores with self-checkout have seen an enormous increase in “shrink” since they began using them, prompting many to reconsider having them or removing them altogether. 

"Shrink," retail slang for a loss of inventory, can happen for various reasons. Some shoppers take advantage of the lack of staff around self-checkout areas and use it to bag items they never scanned or swap prices with cheaper ones. Other times, it could be accidental, like a customer entering the wrong code for their produce or scanning the wrong barcode. 


A recent study showed that retailers offering self-checkout had a loss rate of 4%, more than double the industry average.

Technical Challenges

To combat their losses, several stores have implemented security features into their self-checkout machines, many of which can be frustrating for shoppers. 


How many times have you used a self-checkout kiosk at a store, only to have the machine start blasting “PLEASE REMOVE ITEM FROM BAGGING AREA” when there’s nothing there? Or doing everything right according to the instructions, but the machine locks up and starts flashing “Please wait for employee assistance,” defeating the purpose of checking out yourself? It’s so annoying.

Longer Wait Times

Self-checkout lanes were introduced into stores with the intention of saving time, but that’s not always the case. 

Glitchy machines with technical errors, as mentioned above, can cause delays and lead to long lines at self-checkout (the self-checkout line at my local Target is often longer than any cashier's line). 

But one of the biggest factors in self-checkout taking up more time than it should has nothing to do with technology - it’s our fellow shoppers who use it without common sense. 


We’ve all seen customers rolling through the self-checkout line with a massive cart stacked to the ceiling with groceries. How could this average Joe or Jane, who likely doesn’t work in retail, think they could scan and bag 100 items faster than a trained cashier who does it every day? It makes our blood boil just thinking about it.

The Latest Self-Checkout Updates From Your Favorite NY Stores

Of course, there’s always the option of not using self-checkout when shopping at the store.

Today, we have the convenience of online shopping that can get you whatever you want and need delivered right to your doorstep. Also, several stores (like Target and Wegmans) have in-store or drive-up pickup options available through their mobile apps, so you don’t even have to do the shopping yourself. 

Or, you could just go the old-school route and use a regular checkout lane

Sometimes, the service of an actual human ringing up our stuff is worth waiting in line for. And isn’t it a nice feeling when the cashier greets you with a smile and asks you how your day is? (We’ve never seen self-checkout do that for us.)

If  you’re a self-checkout king or queen at your local store, keep in mind that some new policy changes could affect your shopping trips down the road. 

Here are the latest self-checkout changes and updates from popular stores across New York State.

Self-Checkout Policies Changing In These New York State Stores

Here are the latest self-checkout changes and updates from these popular stores across New York State.

Gallery Credit: Getty Images/Canva

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