Retailers reconsider self-checkout lanes as theft and dissatisfaction rise

Human cashiers could be making a comeback, as some major retailers may be reconsidering self-checkouts.

The use of self-checkout stations increased in the early 2000s as companies hoped the machines would help cut costs. But now, some experts believe that, among other issues, people are using self-checkouts to steal instead.

"What they didn’t take into account was that it could potentially impact their bottom line," explained Matt Kelley of LiveView Technologies.

For instance, Kelley said a thief may simply walk up to a self-checkout station and fool the security cameras by hiding a low-price item, like a packet of Kool-Aid, underneath a higher-priced item, like a steak.

"To the layperson, it looks like they’ve scanned the steak, the $30 steak, and they’re only scanning a $.99 packet of Kool-Aid," Kelley said, adding that negative customer experiences can be an issue with self-checkouts as well.

Shoppers use self checkout machines at a Kroger Co. supermarket in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. Kroger Co. is scheduled to release earnings figures on March 7. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Walmart has already pulled self-checkout lanes from stores in a few locations, although a spokesperson said, "There are no current plans for self-checkout removals nationwide."

The National Retail Federation also weighed in, with a spokesperson saying they’re aware of retailers removing self-checkouts overseas, but in the U.S. they "have not seen compelling evidence that this is an industry-wide trend."

As for shoppers on Wednesday night in Vienna, some said they’d be fine if self-checkouts became a thing of the past. But others like Marissa Flores told FOX 5, "I would miss them. I only use self-checkouts."