Lawmaker Slams Walmart for ‘Passing the Work to Consumers’ After She Files New Bill To Limit Self-Service Checkouts

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Self-service checkouts have failed for many consumers with 67% have had one fail when using it.

The number of self-serve checkout lanes in supermarkets and other stores is growing. It seems everyone is doing it, with more and more stores installing self-checkout lanes.

But now, a lawmaker thinks the trend has gone too far and wants to stop people from being able to walk out of a store without having to speak to a single cashier.

In a recent article, a State Representative says that self-checkout is a way for businesses to get unpaid customers to do the jobs of paid workers.

However,a California Judge nixed a similar argument, saying it would lead to ‘absurd’ results.

Let’s look into the details more.

New bill aims to stop the rise of self-checkout lanes in grocery stores
The proposed bill would also reward shoppers by giving them a discount for bagging their own groceriesPhoto byAdrien DelforgeonUnsplash

State Representative Cotter proposes a bill that would stop grocery chains from putting more than eight self-checkout lanes in one store. Cotter told WLNE:

“There’s no benefit for the consumer when Walmart is making a ton of profit off not having cashiers and then passing the work to the consumer without any benefit."

The bill also aims to reward shoppers who use self-checkout by giving them a benefit for bagging their own groceries.

While the bill reportedly has bi-partisan support, it has yet to be brought up in committee meetings.

Other concerns have been raised about increase in self-checkouts

However, there is concern that self-checkout systems also leads to stock "shrinkage."

The proliferation of self-checkout systems at big-box stores like Walmart has increased the temptation to not pay for items, a practice known as "ringing."

Self-checkout systems also lead to many accidental pilfering when customers unknowingly bag an item without ringing it up.

While a California lawyer claims self-checkout at giant retailers will not survive after he sees high number of cases, bosses at significant retailers have warned that stealing-related incidents could affect shoppers long-term.

Last month, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon admitted that pilferage has historically been high. McMillon said via Entrepreneur:

""If that's not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close."

Walmart and Target have resorted to storing items behind plexiglass or locking away goods in cabinets.

California Judge's ruling: "Absurd"

We write extensively about self-checkout issues for NewsBreak. For example, in our article from last year, we discussed how a customer sued a retailer in a recent lawsuit in California: Grocery giant sued for payback on time wasted in self-checkout.

The plaintiff argued that customers are effectively turned into employees when they do the work of the store's cashiers at self-checkout.

The lawsuit sought to force grocery stores to pay people for scanning their own groceries, but a judge dropped the case.

However, the Judge ruled that customers are not employees merely because they use self-checkout, and that the alternative would result in "absurd results".

As of November 22, 2022, there were 4,650 Walmart stores in the US (via Scrapehero) with the most stores in Texas (516), Florida (341) and California (278 stores).

Final thoughts

Are the days of self-checkout lines numbered? These recent examples illustrate that the jury is still out.

With the retail industry globalizing and evolving month by month, it would be unwise to rule out the future of self-checkout lines.

It will likely depend on where you're shopping and what you're buying. At least for now, convenience trumps simplicity for most shoppers.

What do you think about this?

Is it time to put a limit on the self-checkout lanes? Should shoppers be recognised as employees?

Share in the comments below or on social media and follow LELA for more food and retail news and analysis.

Disclaimer: This article is only for educational and informational purposes.

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