Walmart Customers Slam Longer Waits Amid Checkout Changes
The retailer's redesigns at certain stores have been met with divided feelings.
Walmart is always wading through the waters of change, but some adjustments are more accepted than others. The retailer has been slammed by shoppers over its switch from plastic bags at some stores, and more recently, it's stirred up controversy among customers after rolling out new shopping carts. Now, changes to its checkout process at certain locations are causing backlash from some. Read on to discover why at least one Walmart customer is now slamming the retailer for longer waits.
Walmart has received many complaints about its self-checkouts.
Most of us have grown used to the fact that self-checkout machines have taken over most retail stores—but that doesn't mean we're happy about it. Walmart, especially, has had to bear the brunt of criticism from consumers.
Back in July, the retailer had to offer full refunds to customers after some claimed they were essentially tricked into paying $49 to sign up for Walmart+ while checking out at the self-serve kiosks in stores. Then the next month, shoppers threatened to boycott the retailer after it announced it would be bringing more third-party ads to its self-checkouts.
Others have complained about being "watched like a criminal" while using the machines, and the "excruciating pain" that they experience when being forced to use self-checkout despite having limited mobility. Even Walmart's own workers have blamed the kiosks for the retailer's recent rise in retail theft.
"Theft is horrible at my store," a Walmart employee at a Spokane, Washington, location where there are only six staff-operated registers left in the entire store, told Insider. "If corporate actually visited at the store level and spoke with actual employees that deal with the theft, they might see how to fix the problem. They are converting stores to more self-checkouts with less employees. Self-checkout is where most theft happens."
Now, the retailer is getting rid of self-checkouts from some stores.
Amid these many complaints, it appears that Walmart is now doing an about-face in regards to its self-checkout explosion. The retailer is pulling self-checkout lanes from at least three of its stores in the U.S. and going back to cashiers, Insider reported. Walmart spokesperson Josh Havens told the news outlet that two locations in Albuquerque were recently renovated to replace checkout lanes, and changes to a third store in the area are set to be finished sometime in October.
"We continually look at ways to provide our customers with the best shopping experience and that includes adjusting the checkout area in stores," Havens said.
But now some shoppers are complaining about wait times.
Walmart might not be able to win either way, however. Some shoppers now are complaining that the switch is pushing wait times back up for checkouts, the Albuquerque Journal reported. Jonathan McKinney told the newspaper that while he appreciates "people having jobs," it recently took him much longer to get out of the newly renovated Albuquerque store on Carlisle Street than it would have if he had been able to use self-checkout lanes.
"I probably would have been out of here 15 minutes sooner," McKinney said, noting that that particular location is a "busy Walmart."
Walmart said it is not planning a widespread removal of self-checkouts.
Of course, others applauded the recent change by Walmart. Joseph Martinez, who has shopped at the Carlisle Walmart since it first opened, told the Albuquerque Journal that he enjoys being able to speak to cashiers at the store rather than having to check out his own items without any interaction.
"There's no excitement in the machine when you can't talk to it," Martinez said. "It's a lot better and more convenient to talk to somebody… Why need a machine when you can have a person and that person is making money? Maybe a cashier might have something important to say that might just change your whole life and the outlook of life. That's what it's all about: relationships."
But there's no telling whether or not your local Walmart store will be following suit. The retailer declined to say if similar redesigns were underway at other U.S. locations, Insider reported. But Walmart did tell the news outlet that the company currently has no plan for the widespread removal of self-checkout kiosks.