Sunday, July 10, 2011

Albertson's Removes Self-Checkout Lanes in All Its Grocery Stores

Some supermarkets replacing self-checkout lanes. (Seattle Times, 7/8/2011)

Excerpt:   Ten years after self-checkout lanes debuted in many American supermarkets, some chains are beginning to rethink the option.

Beginning this month, Albertsons is removing the self-checkout lanes in all of its 217 stores in seven states.

As it remodels stores, Kroger is considering the metro or European style of checkout lanes, with one customer line for multiple staffed express lanes vs. self checkouts.

For Boise-based Albertsons, self-checkout no longer fits with the customer-service experience it wants, spokeswoman Christine Wilcox said.

"Our customers are our highest priority, and we want to provide them with an excellent experience from the time they park their car to when they leave," Wilcox said.

When Albertsons installed self-checkout lanes nearly a decade ago, "it was in response to a growing trend in retail for stores to be even more self-service" than ever before, she said. Albertsons is replacing the self-checkout lanes with regular lanes and opening more staffed lanes during peak shopping hours

An "I-told-you-so" response at CNET News.  

Harlowe Thrombey, on the other hand, takes Albertsons to task.  (See comment.)

Interesting move on Albertsons part.  It will be instructive to learn how their customers react.

Maybe this admittedly unscientific survey will give us a hint.

I always use the self-service lanes in grocery stores, though for some people they are self-service in name only.  Cub Foods has the most temperamental machines, which is probably why I never see them extensively used -- at least the ones on Madison's west side.  The self-checkout lanes at Middleton Copps and Metcalfe's at Hilldale Mall get a lot of traffic, and there's always an employee hovering nearby to keep an eye on things and provide assistance.  The new HyVee on Madison's east side does not provide self-check lanes.

1 comment:

Lemastre said...

I'm always curious about how much merchandise walks out of stores without being rung up. Old-fashioned shoplifting accounts for plenty, but I assume that any form of self-service checkout will be vigorously gamed by folks who would not risk being caught shoplifting but will slip something into their pocket at the self-check machine without properly scanning it.I I note that the self-check lines are very often not being monitored. Thus, when a machine screws up, instead of calling for help, you can simply walk out without paying, instead of moving to a manned line as I always do.