Home Depot Shoppers Say It Has the "Worst Self-Checkout"—Here's Why
Is this robot the rudest of the bunch?
Is there anything shoppers love to hate more than self-checkout? When it's working properly, we can't get enough: It gets us in and out of the store promptly and lets us avoid small talk at the cash register. But when it doesn't, it can be the thing of nightmares: Lines become far too long (often without any cashier lanes open) and we spend minutes on end listening to an agitated robot tell us to "Please place your item in the bagging area." But according to shoppers, the self-checkout machines at Home Depot might just be the worst of the bunch. Read on to learn their gripes with them.
A customer shared a video of a kiosk experience at Home Depot.
In a video on TikTok, user Angela Resendes (@angelaresendes) shared a bizarre experience at a Home Depot self-checkout machine. In it, the kiosk repeats, "Customer needs assistance at self-checkout," before a worker appears to fix the issue. She shares that all she had done to create the problem was accidentally scan a free sample of wood. "When self checkout yells at u," reads the video's caption.
Other customers shared similar frustrations in the comments of the video, which received almost 11,000 likes. "Home depot has the worst self checkout," commented one. "Why the volume gotta be so high," commented another, to which Resendes responded, "That's what I was saying; the people in the parking lot could hear it I bet."
A few other commenters pointed out just how embarrassing the experience of a malfunctioning self-checkout kiosk can be. "Thief! thief! we got a thief over here! a big ol' thief!" joked one. "It went off for like 7 minutes at me because everyone else in other checkouts had coupons and I was mortified," said another. To that, Resendes replied, "Then you just sit there all awkward while it sounds like your stealing."
There are a few unique challenges for kiosks at Home Depot.
At many stores, like ShopRite and Walmart, the smallest things most customers check out are garlic and greeting cards. But that's not the case at Home Depot. In one Reddit thread on the subject, a former associate described some of the challenges it posed.
"Items by the foot or individual screws/nuts/washers gotta be entered in by you anyways -if multiple ppl get errors or need your help, it gets hectic," they say.
Another associate noted that the scale could miscalibrate easily because of the tiny items it needs to ring up. "The weight detection was so finely tuned that a feather, couple leaves, errant screw, wind blowing in a door, would trigger it," they said.
Customers have rallied against self-checkout at many stores.
Home Depot's self-checkout experience isn't the only one that's come under fire. In July, Walmart had to offer refunds to customers after some claimed a tricky interface conned them into paying $49 for Walmart+. Customers at ShopRite dragged a recent change in which the store implemented a 10-item limit on the lanes.
The kiosks also pose problems for shoppers with disabilities. One Canadian customer said she was forced to use self-checkout because no cashier lanes were open. "I was in fairly excruciating pain—I was exhausted," she explained of the situation. "I went home, and I went to bed with painkillers." They're also challenging for those who are blind and people in wheelchairs who sometimes can't reach the screens.
Most agree they're better than the alternative.
Despite some complaints, self-checkout kiosks are unlikely to go anywhere. A 2021 survey of 1,000 shoppers found that 85 percent believe the booths are typically faster than cashier lines and that 60 percent of people prefer them. This is despite the fact that 67 percent of respondents in the same survey said that they'd had a kiosk fail while using it.
In the Reddit thread, another associate said their store once tested removing self-checkout: "The lines were 20min+. The amount of customers complaining to reopen the self checkouts was pretty funny. Especially in the surveys. Needless to say it didn't last a week."
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