Sam's Club Slammed for "Ridiculous" Self-Checkout Policy
The store's "Scan & Go" app feature isn't making things easier, customers complain.
In light of the recent membership crackdown at rival warehouse chain Costco, patrons of Sam's Club have praised the store for offering a much smoother shopping experience, including its self-checkout process. However, more recently, shoppers have said that Sam's Club's initiative to improve efficiency and convenience via its Scan & Go app feature is a step in the wrong direction—and some are even calling it "ridiculous."
Launched in 2016, the Scan & Go feature allows customers to scan products while they shop in-store and avoid self-checkout lines altogether, per the store's website. As each item's barcode is scanned, customers are notified of its price and any available coupons or sales. The app tracks what's in your cart, and when you've finished shopping, you simply navigate to the payment window to complete your purchase.
(It's important to note that Sam's Club is operated by Walmart Inc., which offers a very similar app checkout feature for its customers under the same Scan & Go name.)
Similar to other membership-only warehouses, Sam's Club employees are stationed by store exits to verify shoppers' receipts. In place of a physical receipt, Scan & Go provides users with a QR code to display. So, while Scan & Go is an easy way to bypass the long lines and chaos at self-checkout, some argue that the feature is "pointless" because customers still have to wait in the receipt verification lines.
Maris (@MarisBeautyBoxx) is a TikTok user and Sam's Club shopper who recently documented how long it took to exit the store using Scan & Go versus showing a paper receipt. In her video, Maris and other digital receipt holders are seen joining the same line as physical receipt holders.
Elsewhere in the clip, Maris zooms in to show just how meticulous employees are when it comes to receipt verification—whether you paid in-store or via the app. At one point, a worker scans someone's receipt and then most of the items in their cart, taking note that each item was paid for.
"Sams Club why do they have to scan half your items at the Exit line ?" Maris captioned the video.
And it appears Maris isn't the only shopper frustrated with Sam's Club's "ridiculous" self-checkout policy.
One user commented in agreement, "Yes it is ridiculous that they scan everything before you go out. They should do it like Costco!"
Another frustrated shopper pointed out how Scan & Go is ironically canceling out its name: "Scan and Go is pointless cause we can't just Go!"
Rather than pay for items in the app, Maris says the store "should just charge everyone at the door!"
Others, however, said their Sam's Club locations aren't as strict with receipt scanning. Many argued that additional security checks like these are just one of the pain points that come with membership-only stores.
Fortunately, shoppers won't have to deal with receipt checking and wait times at the exit much longer. Last month, Walmart announced that Sam's Club will be dissolving its current policy and rolling out artificial intelligence machines to scan and verify customers' purchases instead.
"Now, after a member completes payment at a register or via Scan & Go, a combination of computer vision and digital technology deployed in the exit area of the club captures images of carts and verifies payment for all items within a member's basket," the company said in a press release.
"With AI working in the background to continually speed the process, this digital innovation not only streamlines the member's exit, but also allows exit greeters to refocus their time and expertise to assisting members and ensuring they have an enjoyable shopping experience," the release continued.
Sam's Club is aiming to have these machines in every location by the end of 2024.