New cashierless checkout isles at Albertsons

The other day I went to Albertsons to stock up for a party. This Albertsons, before Henry’s moved next door, was the closest grocery store to my apartment. This Albertsons has also traditionally had extremely long lines (mainly because of understaffing). However, the other day I noticed four new self checkout isles. Well, I’m a fairly tech-savvy guy, and I didn’t want to stand in line, so I decided to check out this newfangled technology.

Before I tell you about my experience with these particular cashierless checkout isles, let me tell you of my only other experience with one of these automated wonders. It was at Home Depot quite a while ago, and I was buying a single sub-dollar item. I scanned in my product, inserted my dollar, got my change and the change somebody else had left, and I was on my way. A pleasant, quick experience had by all (except maybe the guy that left his change in the machine.)

These Albertsons self checkout machines were not nearly as easy to use. They only provide you with enough space to put three smallish items, so you can’t unload your entire cart before scanning in your items. Then, they only provide enough space to put six smallish items after you scan and bag them, so they end up having to put them back in your full basket.

So here is the quite tedious process you must go through to scan in a basket worth of goods. First, unload three items from your basket. Scan in your three items and place them in a bag. Remove three more items, scan them in, and place them in a bag. Shift around some items in your cart to make room for the bags you just filled and place the bags in the cart. Tell the computer that you have removed the items from the bagging area and that you would like to continue scanning in more items. Repeat this process until you have no more unscanned items left in your cart. Then you pay for your goods and leave.

You can see the problem, you don’t have enough room to place your items either before you scan them or after. Which means you need to have scanned and unscanned items in your basket at the same time. What Albertsons needed to do was provide us with a full checkout isle, just replace the checker with the self service computerized cash register. What I’m saying is I want the conveyer belt to put my groceries on and another one after the canner to take my groceries to the bagging area.

Here is my advice, self-checkout counters are great, if you only have a few items. If you have more than just a few, wait for a cashier, the time saved is not worth the hassle.

1 Comment so far

  1. Daniel Evans (unregistered) on September 28th, 2004 @ 2:33 pm

    What’s the fun in going to the market if can’t listen to the cashiers with too much eye make-up and not exnough Xanax bicker with each other about the incompetence of their manager and their dread about having to go get all of the carts from the parking lot?

    “Bob, I need a price check on Stay Free Maxipads, super absorbancy 20-pack. Bob, price check on Stay Free super 20s, please.”

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