Self-checkout systems are an increasingly common practice in supermarkets around the world, being the United States the country in which they spread the faster. The idea is as simple as shoppers have dreamt for decades: instead of those tedious, boring queues at the (human) cash register, customers can scan and pay for their products themselves using a self-service terminal. That sounds, actually, amazing, but there are some turn downs that are affecting this supposed-to-be easy-going experience.
At first glance, this seems like a good idea: it speeds up the checkout process, reduces the amount of staff needed and, in theory, should make the shopping experience more pleasant for customers. Just in theory. But as with any new technology, there are pros and cons, and Dos and Don’ts that you must learn in order to better your shopping thanks to self-checkout stations.
Follow This Five Trick to Improve Your Self-Checkout Experience
To begin, you will know that most self-checkout have a limit of products that you can scan and pay for, so try to stick to it to avoid delays to other customers. Because, come on, if you were behind someone who brought more products than allowed, you wouldn’t want to waste too much time waiting for this person to return what he won’t take. Right?
Like any machine, it has its speed limit to process data depending on the installed capacity. That said, learn to see how fast the machine where you usually shop at on a regular basis is. Do not scan the barcodes too fast so as not to overwhelm the machine and avoid that it delays you with some error.
These machines work by scanning barcodes, which are small bars of different thicknesses in a specific order that reveal information to the machine, such as the product you are buying, its weight, its size and its price. Some codes may not work well for different reasons. Generally, a barcode that does not work is because it has not been entered correctly into the system. So, sometimes the machine won’t read it. If it doesn’t work after the first time, it’s probably not going to work, so don’t keep frantically scanning it. Call someone from the supermarket to help you (there’s always dedicated to the self-checkout area), or put the product aside to continue marking the rest of the groceries.
When you’re done scanning, put attention to the payment instructions of the machine and know the payment options accepted by it. There are self-checkout machines that only allow payment by credit or debit cards, while others accept both cash and coins. Therefore, take some time to check the available payment methods before starting to scan the items, in order to avoid unnecessary waste of time.
When You Are Done Scanning, Be Nice to the Next Costumer
After grabbing your receipt, and putting back your card in your wallet (don’t forger your card!) take your time to put your groceries with patience and order in the bags. When using paper bags, open them completely until they take their square-like shape. Don’t overload your bag, because they can tear due to excess weight.
When you’re done, clean the self-checkout area for the next costumers. Once again, imagine you are the next costumer: you do want to find the station clean, tidy up, and ready to scan your products.