Redditors Reveal How They Really Feel About Self-Checkout

It's a scenario that we all have experienced when shopping at our local grocery store

You only have a handful of groceries like bread and milk, but you find yourself waiting for what seems like an eternity behind someone who has a cart stocked with almost every item the store carries. As the cashier seems to take their sweet time scanning every item, you're stuck between a woman who is trying to haggle her way down to a lower price with a stack of coupons, and someone who's carrying on a particularly loud — and frankly bizarre –  conversation on their phone right behind you. Is there any way, you think, that you could have just scanned your few items and left, instead of getting trapped in line?

If you would have first heard of self-checkout machines, you would have considered them a technological miracle. After all, who wouldn't love the idea of quickly scanning your items, putting your payment in, and then leaving without any queues or pesky shoppers? Invented in the 1990s by Dr. Howard Schneider and later introduced to mainstream shopping in the 2000s (via The Independent), it would seem that these modern marvels may not be as marvelous as first thought. Publications from Vox to NPR to BBC have lambasted the slow, finnicky, and complicated procedures of using the modern-day self-checkout. 

But what does the common shopper actually think of the self-checkout machine? Is it a supermarket blessing, or yet another grocery store annoyance? This was a question that Reddit sought to answer.

Redditors are divided against self-checkout for many reasons

On the subreddit r/Walmart, where all things Walmart are discussed, someone raised a question about a very specific type of customer. "Customers that wait behind 5 people in line for your 3 items," the question poses. "why are you so against self-checkout?" 

For some, it was a matter of time and convivence. "When all of the sco machines are occupied and there's a line of 6 people waiting for even one to become available and my break is only 15 minutes long." answered one Redditor, noting the rush to use the self-checkout machines usually makes lines longer than would find at a regular cashier. To others, it was the social anxiety and the fear of being perceived as a shoplifter if they make a mistake using the machine.

For other Redditors, using a self-checkout machine is something they do all the time and they're confused as to why anyone would really be against them. One Redditor "TheGuggleMan" gave three common arguments against self-checkout: "I don't get paid to ring up my own groceries. It's taking someone's job. I don't understand how to use it." To this Redditor, the only true answer is that complainers simply don't understand how to use it, and are trying to look morally superior by claiming they are protecting someone's job to hide their embarrassment. Others agreed with this claim, asserting that those who don't use the checkout machines are simply "entitled" and don't want to show it.