The Acceptable Number Of Items To Take Through The Self-Checkout

Customers tend to have a love/hate relationship with self-checkout. While they provide a convenient alternative to waiting in line, there's an ongoing debate about how many products a person is allowed to scan in one transaction. At first, some grocery stores like Kroger limited these lanes to 15 items or less in order to maximize speed and efficiency.

However, over the years, grocery stores have become more lenient toward the amounts that they allow. According to The Detroit Free Press, Kroger has since adjusted the limit to "about 15 items," encouraging shoppers to make more purchases. Meanwhile, stores like Aldi never imposed a limit on self-checkout lanes. Many groceries found that customers started putting products back if they realized there was an enforced cap, thus potentially impacting sales. 

So these days, it's less of a hard rule and more of a casual guideline. So, if you're feeling a bit uncertain, take a moment to evaluate the contents of your basket. If you have a shopping cart full of groceries, a human cashier might be faster and also not bog down the self-checkout lanes for your fellow shoppers. Likewise, limiting your groceries to around 20 or below is a good rule of thumb. However, it really depends on the layout of the store. 

How to increase efficiency at self checkout

As groceries stores go increasingly automated, some chains have bulked up on the number of self-checkout lanes. For instance, Walmart created self-checkout hubs with 34 registers in hopes of creating a speedy checkout process. As pointed out by Reddit, it doesn't make sense in these instances to limit the number of groceries for self-checkout since they make up the bulk of the store. It's important to consider all these factors as they're independent for each chain and store. 

When it comes to actually using a self-checkout, it's best to go slow and make sure to scan each item carefully. Give the register at least two to three seconds before proceeding with the next product. Otherwise, the machine may register an error if you move too quickly.

While more and more establishments are pushing for automation, recent legislation is trying to put a cap on the number of self-checkouts that can be present in any one store. According to The Providence Journal, Representative Megan Cotter wants to restrict Rhode Island food markets to eight kiosks. Cotter also suggests customers get a discount for using self-checkout machines, saying, "It seems only fair that if they are going to take on cashiers' work, the customer should get something in return." Other states have tried similar legislation, but it failed to pass. Whatever the case, it's unlikely self-checkout machines are going anywhere anytime soon.