Customers want to return self-checkout

Together with

The Future. Self-checkout kiosks haven’t turned out to be the time-and-cost-saving wonder they were hailed to be, reflecting the larger disinvestment in the shopping experience. The problem is, the technology exists between traditional customer service and future tech-powered optimization. So, the future of retail may be just walking out of the store with items à la Amazon Go or returning to an era when human interaction is both expected and welcome.

Human help, please
After a decade or so of self-checkout kiosks, customers miss cashiers. So, some companies are switching back to that tried and true strategy: hiring more human workers.

  • Walmart has removed kiosks entirely from some stores and redesigned the self-checkout areas in others to allow for more help from clerks.
  • Costco is putting more employees near its self-checkouts to help with customer issues.
  • ShopRite is re-hiring employees after testing a self-checkout-only model. Why? Customers didn’t like it.

While it was initially billed as a way to make shopping more convenient (and a way to save money on labor), the self-checkout system has created constant headaches for customers who contend with accidentally double-scanning items or wrestle with where to put scanned items. And that’s when the kiosks work.

But, The Atlantic also argues the attitude behind kiosks is a microcosm for many of the issues in retail, including understaffing, messy shelves, and increased theft.

Simply put, stores need employees for the foreseeable future.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


No design skills needed! 🪄✨

Canva Pro is the design software that makes design simple, convenient, and reliable. Create what you need in no time! Jam-packed with time-saving tools that make anyone look like a professional designer.

Create amazing content quickly with Canva