It's Not Worth Using The Self-Checkout Line For Grocery Items That Need Age-Verification

Many stores these days give you two options: Wait in line to have a cashier ring up your items, or use the finicky self-checkout kiosks. As you might expect, people have mixed feelings about self-checkout, with some appreciating the efficiency and others accusing the machines of taking cashiers' jobs.

According to a 2021 Raydiant survey, 48.7% of Americans use self-checkout if it's available. Reasons range from checkout wait time, to types of items being purchased, to avoiding alleged checkout scams, all the way to personal preference. However, as Rethink Retail notes, self-checkout kiosks have their drawbacks, all of which greatly reduce their efficiency.

While we aren't exactly talking about the people who ignore the "20 items or less" signs and use self-checkout to scan entire cartfuls of items, this problem is indeed related to the human factor. Yes, even though the kiosks can malfunction, there's no denying that we, the people, are the ones holding up the system.

You might be better off having a cashier ring up your groceries

The whole point of self-checkout is to make the checkout process more efficient, right? If you only have two items, it's a waste of your time to wait for five people who have full carts. So you go to a self-checkout kiosk, and within minutes, you're on your merry way. That's the expectation, anyway.

Countless factors can bog down self-checkout, from customers ignoring the maximum item limits to redeeming dozens of coupons. According to AllRecipes, another major hang-up is when customers use self-checkout to ring up items that need age verification. Purchasing alcohol, for instance, forces you to wait for an employee to come over and check your ID, which adds minutes to your shopping trip, and those of everyone behind you.

Other self-checkout hindrances include not having the correct payment type (some machines are card-only, while others only take cash) or malfunctioning barcodes. Sure, Aldi products have giant barcodes to speed up the scanning process, but sometimes that bag of carrots just won't cooperate with the scanner. Long story short, if you have a full cart, loads of coupons, alcohol, only card or cash, or troublesome items, do yourself and everyone around you a favor — just get in line for a cashier.