Walmart Just Announced a Controversial Store Change That Has Shoppers Majorly Divided

published May 18, 2024
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Orlando, FL/USA - 05/3/19: Walmart Inc, founded by Sam Walton, is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of discount department stores and grocery stores.
Credit: Joni Hanebutt/Shutterstock

Automated systems have become virtually synonymous with how we make our purchases whether it be at a coffee shop, online shopping, or the grocery store. We’ve all seen the self-checkout lanes where customers can scan and pack their own groceries. For many people, this might be the preferred option. You can get in and get out without having to interact with anyone, and it may be more convenient especially if you’re only shopping for an item or two. Well, attention Walmart shoppers, this might no longer be an option. 

The store just removed all self-checkout kiosks from select stores in Missouri and Ohio, replacing them with staffed lanes instead. The company recently did the same at stores in New Mexico last year. According to a statement from Walmart, the decision comes in an effort to improve efficiency and was made based on feedback from customers and associates. 

A spokesperson from Walmart said, ​​”We believe the changes will improve the in-store shopping experience and give our associates the chance to provide more personalized and efficient service.” This builds upon Walmart‘s existing policy which currently allows associates to manage the number of self-checkout kiosks available for use based on store volume and need. 

Walmart isn’t the only one. Recently, both Dollar General and Target have reduced self-checkout lanes at select locations, and people’s reactions are mixed. Some say they enjoy the interactions they get to have with the cashier and would rather support them than machines. One Twitter user said, “Never used a self-checkout in my life. I like to keep people employed.” For others, self-checkout may not be an option, and they rely on that additional support. 

Others prefer self-checkout. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was my go-to option, but it also depends on how many items I’m getting. (For a larger order, I’d likely go to a cashier.) But I can admit that the self-checkout does come with its own set of problems. How many times has something scanned incorrectly and you’re left waiting for someone to come and assist you? These little setbacks can be frustrating and may actually result in you spending more time at the store than if you went to a cashier in the first place. 

However, some prefer self-checkout because they can sneakily “forget” to ring up an item or scan a more inexpensive one instead. One Twitter user said, “Ngl, I’ll game the system when using the self checkout. Oh those paper towels under my cart, forgot to ring that up; how many avocados in this plastic bag? More than I’m going to pay for.” Others said they feel uncomfortable and watched by associates when scanning at self-checkout.

Either way, be prepared to potentially have more interactions with humans at Walmart.

This post originally ran on The Kitchn. See it there: Walmart Just Announced a Controversial Store Change That Has Shoppers Majorly Divided