Self Checkout: Harmful or Helpful?


Cristina Mascarua

The self-checkout counter at Michael’s

In stores like CVS, Michaels, and Target, self-checkout is becoming increasingly popular for customers. How will this affect in-store shopping?

Years prior, customers would shop for their groceries, take them to the front of the store, and wait patiently for a cashier to scan them. Today, in some stores, customers must check their items themselves. However, there are some disadvantages and benefits to the self-checkout system, and many lean in favor of its benefits.

The quick process of self-checkout allures many, like seventh grader Olivia Romano, who said, “You get to do it on your own….and it’s, like, faster.”

Teacher aide Dinorah Gonzalez agrees with the time-saving side of self-checkout as well. She says, “You don’t have to wait for the cashiers. Sometimes they’re talking, so it takes a little bit longer.”

With self-checkout, customers can go at their own pace, as quickly or as slowly as they would like.

Another customer benefit according to seventh grader Mia Marley is the lack of unnecessary interaction with other people.

Now, what do employees think? About three months ago in the Dadeland Station Michaels, cashiers would scan and bag people’s items, but now, there are only self-checkout machines.

A Michaels employee, who asked to remain anonymous, says, “[Self-checkout] is pretty helpful; it makes life easier.” On the other hand, when asked about the disadvantages of the new system, they said “A lot of people get frustrated with them because they do not know how to use them for the first time…and they are machines, so they break down sometimes.”

When self-checkout becomes the only option, what happens to cashiers? The same Michaels employee as before reveals that their work hours have been cut short. Alongside this, some are quitting their jobs.

Although customer benefits come alongside the self-checkout machines, employees seem to be negatively affected by the new system. Regardless of how the machines are impacting the workers, it looks like this technology is here to stay and possibly be implemented in other stores. Even though it is exciting to see how technology will advance, it makes one wonder what will happen to society without as much communication.