It seems that Walmart is converting their stores to all or at least majority self-checkout. The last time I was there, no humans were serving as cashiers and apparently that is their plan moving forward.

Debate as you will about the merits of such a move but what is most maddening is that they made this decision without any adjustment in the infrastructure to support it. Thus, there were 14 register lanes that sat idle while 100% of their customers had to queue into the two existing self-checkout sections. Couldn’t they have converted some or all of those “human lanes” before shutting them down?

Adding to the delays is the fact that many of their clientele are not self-checkout adept. Like with TSA, there is an art to processing in the automated world and those who do it frequently become much more efficient. Those who are novices tend to bottleneck the whole process in airports, and similarly in Walmart.

With staffing challenges, pressure to reduce costs, and increased automation, I suspect that Walmart isn’t the only business that plans to pass the workload on to the customer. But if you are in a similar situation — whether it be for self-checkout, self-registrations, self-reporting, or any other function where you’re relying on others to do what you once did, make life easier for everyone and prepare for the transition before you make it. Sudden abdication isn’t a smart service plan.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: