A Self-Checkout Has Been Spotted At A US Aldi

There are many things people love about Aldi aside from the low prices. The stores' small sizes also make them easy to navigate so each shopping trip doesn't have to take over an hour. Shopping there doesn't feel like a chore, either, as Aldi's new products and specials each week keep everything fresh and fun, even though it can be disappointing when some of your favorites disappear for an unspecified amount of time. There are other things we're not crazy about, though, such as having to remember to bring our own bags and needing to have a quarter to get a cart (via Aldi). The worst part of all, though, is the guilt we feel once we learn that those friendly cashiers are being timed by management and if we fumble for our credit card or take too long packing up, their efficiency ratings will drop. It's like some type of dystopian social experiment where a stranger is made to suffer for our mistakes. 

Why, we ask ourselves, can't Aldi just install self-checkouts? These are common in most other grocery chains and the whole DIY thing seems right up Aldi's alley. Aldis in Australia finally opened up self-checkout stations in 2021 after having long been resistant to the idea, per 9 News. While the chain assumed customers would prefer the cashier interaction, many customers were pleased to have the self-checkout option. Will self-checkout be equally popular in US Aldi stores? It seems we may soon be able to find out.

Aldi has been quietly rolling out self-checkouts for several years

According to Aldi Reviewer, self-checkout stations started quietly rolling out in the U.S. in 2021, at least in northeastern Ohio. The experiment must have worked out fairly well, as Aldi self-checkouts were more widespread by the following year. A September 2022 Reddit thread reports seeing one in South Carolina, while an October one details a Nebraska sighting. By early 2023, according to yet another Redditor, Aldi self-checkout was happening in Philadelphia, as well. 

The comment thread reactions have been somewhat mixed. Some have complained that their fellow shoppers are a bunch of slowpokes who move much slower than Aldi cashiers, while others (the aforementioned slowpokes) have been grateful for the opportunity to pack at a more reasonable pace instead of trying frantically to keep up with those lightning-fast cashiers. Some people have expressed worry about machines putting people out of work (a legit concern since the days of the Industrial Revolution), but others have noted that since many Aldi locations only schedule a single cashier at a time, it's unlikely that too many jobs would be lost. If anything, introducing self-checkout might just mean that there will be more people available to perform tasks that can't be automated. On the whole, the general consensus seems to be pretty positive since having additional checkout lanes open, whether personned or unpersonned, means that everybody gets out of the store more quickly.