Grocery chain demands self-checkout

Read time 1min 40sec

Grocery chain demands self-checkout

A grocery chain focused on self-service is expanding throughout California, Arizona and Nevada, says Retail Customer Experience.

Apparently, the Fresh & Easy Neighbourhood Market, a subsidiary of British-owned Tesco, not only offers a self-service option, it's a requirement.

Shoppers bag their own groceries, find and scan barcodes and even manually enter numerical codes for vegetables.

They also complete their transactions, choosing their preferred payment method. However, employees are dispersed throughout stores to assist shoppers who need help.

According to Kiosk Market Place, Drew Voros, business editor at the Mercury News, isn't a fan. Writing in a recent blog, Voros noted: “When you are only buying a few things, self-serve checkouts are bearable and may even get you out of the store faster. But if you have to check out a heavily loaded grocery cart, you might feel like filling out a United Food and Commercial Workers Union card when finished.”

He went on to write, “where there is a choice between human help and a faceless cold machine barking prices and instructions at you, the general public still gravitates towards living and breathing checkers.”

The Gazette says in an industry that employs nearly one in 10 Americans and has long been a reliable job generator, companies increasingly are looking to peddle more products with fewer employees.

Robots that can process packages more efficiently than humans are replacing shipping and warehousing workers. Virtual assistants are taking the place of customer service representatives. Kiosks and self-service machines are reducing the need for checkout clerks.

Vending machines now sell iPods, bathing suits, gold coins, sunglasses and razors; some will even dispense prescription drugs and medical marijuana to consumers willing to submit to a fingerprint scan. And shoppers are finding information on touch-screen kiosks, rather than talking to attendants.

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