Would you like paper or plastic?
How about a human?
Self-checkout lanes will disappear at a quarter of the Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions throughout Southern California, with the chains' parent company saying customers will get better service with a shift back to in-person cashiers.
"They're eliminating them because there's shopper dissatisfaction," says grocery analyst Burt Flickinger from the firm Strategic Resource Group.
Self-checkouts were most effective in understaffed stores, but customers had several issues with them including coupons not scanning and longer wait times when there were issues.
Plus, they just preferred a human interaction.
"Customers definitely missed people," says Flickinger.
Machines were not always as effective as manned registers, either.
"The chains that do not have self-checkout – CostCo, Smart & Final, etc – have always gotten good grades for having staffed cash registers and being more efficient with people," he says.
He believes other grocery chains in Southern California may follow suit.
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