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How often do you use self check-outs at supermarkets and convenience stores? Do you prefer them over human checkout counters?

21 Comments

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21 Comments
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At supermarkets, whenever available. At convenience stores, I've never come across a fully automated one.

It's not that I prefer one over the other, I choose on a case by case basis.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

In many cases you don't have a choice anymore. Also many of the supermarkets have the workers only scan the items and all monetary transactions are done by a machine! I feel bad for elderly people who sometimes struggle with the machines!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

They're badly designed, so I don't like them.. I can't figure out the Lawson machines. I've just left them in limbo a couple of times after they refused to proceed to payment.

A supermarket one tried to charge me twice for milk. There was no delete or cancel option, so I just left that machine as well. That set off an alert and a couple of staff rushed to try to fix it and they struggled to figure out what was happening. So yeah, I'm not exactly an enthusiastic user.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

If I see them, I walk out and go somewhere else, I don’t want to support the downsizing of human employees. I love human interaction. I hate these things with a passion. Good for the industry, bad for the human community.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Just a few times, but I prefer a cashier. By the way, I have heard that shoplifting has also increased a lot because of self checkouts.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

If cashiers are available we will use them. If not the check-out machines. No problems with that.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Either way is all right with me. Usually, at least where I live, a supermarket will have 16 check-out lanes, but only two of them are open. Sometimes I have to get my stuff and go. The human interaction is iffy dicey. An over-worked, under-paid cashier who's had a bad day doesn't need me waiting impatiently in line. I'd rather get my business done and go.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Never. They are self defeating. Taking jobs away or at least intended to do that.

Thankfully, they don’t. Just like at self check in counters at airline companies there is always staff to help in case people have problems. Well, actually to check if everything is scanned and paid. Saves no time either as the client is slower than the experienced cashier. And no price reward for the customer doing the work himself. So. Never.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Never. They are self defeating. Taking jobs away or at least intended to do that. 

Thankfully, they don’t. Just like at self check in counters at airline companies there is always staff to help in case people have problems. Well, actually to check if everything is scanned and paid. Saves no time either as the client is slower than the experienced cashier. And no price reward for the customer doing the work himself. So. Never.

I agree.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Which ever one has the shorter line.

It's not even a preference, just common sense.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The 2 OK stores near my house have done away with the self check outs (six) and gone back to cashiers (two). Maybe too much theft? Too many problems? Too slow?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Depends on how much stuff I'm buying at the moment.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I often use self check-outs at any stores since flow of customers wanting to pay is much faster than those who wait in line at human check-out counter. Also self check-outs counter requires me to register all merchandise on the machine. This task reminds me of how much money I spend in the shopping. However, I think human check-out counters are need for those who are elderlies or require physical assistance.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I prefer self checkouts. I hope more and more stores will do the same thing for swifter and smoother payment.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Human checkout 100%.

If the self-checkout machines were more like the ticket machines at train stations, they'd be fine. But the ones at the stores have a rigid order in which you have to do everything, forcing you to press lots of buttons and answer questions (no, I don't have your silly point card) just to finish a simple transaction. And they're loud. Sometimes I think that if I have to hear some high-pitched machine voice screech オシハライホーホー... one more time, I'm going to have a panic attack.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I use human checkouts wherever I can. I don't want to contribute to eliminating the human workforce-and still pay the same prices for doing their work for them-if I can avoid it. The local Daiei has checkout staff back to the bare minimum and has installed a truckload of self-checkouts that I only use if the lines are way too long for the time I have.

One thing I notice about Japanese supermarkets is that they don't seem to have a benchmark for scan rates, Most of the checkout staff are like snails on sleeping pills, so the lines move with according swiftness. In Australia the supermarkets do measure scan rates for staff, which helps to keep lines moving. And they still manage to pack your bags for you. Not so here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Human checkout 100%.

If the self-checkout machines were more like the ticket machines at train stations, they'd be fine. But the ones at the stores have a rigid order in which you have to do everything, forcing you to press lots of buttons and answer questions (no, I don't have your silly point card) just to finish a simple transaction. And they're loud. Sometimes I think that if I have to hear some high-pitched machine voice screech オシハライホーホー... one more time, I'm going to have a panic attack.

I'm afraid I have to agree. A lot of supermarkets here have dealt with self checkout in their own way. Instead of using and adapting existing systems, a lot of supermarkets have decided to develop a new and proprietary system. In some supermarkets here it is easy and efficient. But in some Aeon/Max Value supermarkets, self checkout is an ordeal and almost like a real life RPG where completing the main quest is contingent on completing side quests. At my local Max Value, the first thing I have to do is choose whether or not to buy a bag. Second, I have to choose whether or not I have a point card, and if I do, I have to choose exactly which one. Why they didn't do this in the last step (just before or during checkout) and just scan the point card barcode for example, boggles my mind. OK, so be it.

Now comes the scanning of the goods. If the goods have a barcode, then it's quick and easy. But if I am buying goods without a code, e.g. white onions, then I have to manually select the goods button. The main menu contains pictures of the most common vegetables. But white onions are not "normal onions" and so one has to go through several screens full of text where the goods are not even sorted in any way and so next to salmon is melon, then shallots...

Self checkout was supposed to make things easier, save time and maybe even money for staff. But instead of a simple solution here, self checkout in many places has created a ridiculously complex and inefficient system.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Can't speak for check-out systems in Japan, but I love self-checkouts where I am. Quick, efficient, and easy to use. In and out; no muss, no fuss.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I haven’t used them at supermarkets or convenience stores. Always use them whenever I go to my nearest UNIQLO because it’s all they have (though there’s usually someone at the checkout ready to assist).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Gill -- totally agreed on how complex and inefficient the whole thing is.

Particularly the order in which you have to answer the "side quest" questions: they make you tell them how you want to pay before you even know what your total will be, so unless you've been keeping a precise running total of the bill as you put stuff in your basket, you can't really asnwer. If you've got 3000 yen in your pocket and are figuring you can use a credit card if the bill is more than that, how can you say how you'll be paying at the very beginning?

Similarly, if you've brought your own bag but the goods you buy aren't going to fit, you won't know until you've rung everything up. Ask the bag question after that!

Why even force people to answer that stuff at any specific time? The train companies had all this figured out 20 years ago: you can select your train ticket and then pay, or you can put the money in first and then buy the ticket. You can press a button for audio help but also keep things quiet if you don't need it. Super efficient, flexible, and fast. I have no idea why they haven't been hired to create the supermarket machines, because the ones in the supermarkets are a loud, stress-inducing mess.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I hate them with every fiber of my being. However, I will use them on occasion if the regular checkout lines are ridiculously long, or if they are the only option. I don't mind the self-pay machines on the staffed checkout lines, though.

I also don't mind the ones at Uniqlo that much, where no scanning is required. You just throw all your stuff in the pit, and it senses what's there. I assume the price tags have some kind of IC/RF capability.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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