Over the past few years, the popularity of self-checkout lanes at stores has skyrocketed, and it’s not hard to figure out why. 

A typical crazy weekend shopping trip to your local grocery store used to bring us a massive headache. Now, self-checkout lanes, with their combination of both convenience and speed, let you zip through by scanning and bagging your own stuff, saying “bye-bye” to long lines in the process. 

Self-checkout is especially clutch after a long, exhausting day when all you want is to get home and plop on the couch. Running into the store to grab a few things for dinner doesn’t seem nearly as daunting when you know you can get in and out by checking out your items yourself. It’s no wonder so many shoppers love them. 

Man in self checkout lane

Unfortunately, for fans of the self-checkout lane, the love may not last. More and more major retailers are seeing self-checkout as more of a hassle than a convenience. How will this affect you the next time you go through the self-checkout lane?

Here's Why Many Popular Stores Are Ditching Self-Checkout

Many stores where we frequently shop, like Wegmans, Walmart, and Target, are becoming less and less fond of self-checkout lanes for a few reasons.


Stores with self-checkout have seen an enormous increase in “shrink” since they began using them, prompting many to reconsider having them or removing them altogether. 

"Shrink," retail slang for a loss of inventory, can happen for various reasons. Some shoppers take advantage of the lack of staff around self-checkout areas and use it to bag items they never scanned or swap prices with cheaper ones. Other times, it could be accidental, like a customer entering the wrong code for their produce or scanning the wrong barcode. 

A recent study showed that retailers offering self-checkout had a loss rate of 4%, more than double the industry average.

Technical Challenges

To combat their losses, several stores have implemented security features into their self-checkout machines, many of which can be frustrating for shoppers. 

How many times have you used a self-checkout kiosk at a store, only to have the machine start blasting “PLEASE REMOVE ITEM FROM BAGGING AREA” when there’s nothing there? Or doing everything right according to the instructions, but the machine locks up and starts flashing “Please wait for employee assistance,” defeating the purpose of checking out yourself? It’s so annoying.

Longer Wait Times

Self-checkout lanes were introduced into stores with the intention of saving time, but that’s not always the case. 

Glitchy machines with technical errors, as mentioned above, can cause delays and lead to long lines at self-checkout (the self-checkout line at my local Target is often longer than any cashier's line). 

But one of the biggest factors in self-checkout taking up more time than it should has nothing to do with technology - it’s our fellow shoppers who use it without common sense. 

Shopping Cart full of groceries

We’ve all seen customers rolling through the self-checkout line with a massive cart stacked to the ceiling with groceries. How could this average Joe or Jane, who likely doesn’t work in retail, think they could scan and bag 100 items faster than a trained cashier who does it every day? It makes our blood boil just thinking about it.

The Latest Self-Checkout Updates From Your Favorite Stores

Of course, there’s always the option of not using self-checkout when shopping at the store.

Today, we have the convenience of online shopping that can get you whatever you want and need delivered right to your doorstep. Also, several stores (like Target and Wegmans) have in-store or drive-up pickup options available through their mobile apps, so you don’t even have to do the shopping yourself. 

Or, you could just go the old-school route and use a regular checkout lane

Sometimes, the service of an actual human ringing up your stuff is worth waiting in line for. And isn’t it a nice feeling when your cashier greets you with a smile and asks you how your day is? No self-checkout screen has ever done that for me!

But if you insist on being the self-checkout queen at your local grocery store, we get it. But keep in mind these hiccups could affect your shopping trips down the road.

Here are the latest self-checkout changes and updates from these popular stores across New York State.

Self-Checkout Policies Changing In These New York State Stores

Here are the latest self-checkout changes and updates from these popular stores across New York State.

Gallery Credit: Getty Images/Canva

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