Fact Check: Is Walmart Getting Rid of All Self-Checkouts?
We reached out to the retailer to find out whether or not these rumors are true.
A cashier checking out customers feels like a rarer sight these days. Many retailers have handed the job over to the shoppers at this point, as self-checkout has become the norm at major chains across the country. But is this the wave of the future or a new inconvenience? The transition to self-checkout has become a very controversial topic, with many shoppers fighting back against the growing trend. Meanwhile, retailers are discovering that letting customers bag their own items isn't helping with a more insidious trend—shoplifting. Now, many are left wondering if stores like Walmart might do away with self-checkout altogether.
Walmart has often found itself in hot water because of its self-checkout. Back in July, the retailer had to offer full refunds after customers claimed it was pushing a "predatory" promotion through these machines that caused some shoppers to accidentally sign up for a Walmart+ subscription. And just last month, Walmart faced boycott threats over employees forcing self-checkout users to show their receipts in order to leave the store.
"Look. You can either trust me to do self-checkout or you can put your cashiers back in place like it used to be," a recent viral copy-and-paste Facebook post stated. "I'm not interested in proving that I did your job for you anymore."
Amid the ongoing criticism, some shoppers are convinced that Walmart is actually making a change. And despite the many self-checkout detractors, not all customers are enthusiastic about it.
"I saw a tweet saying Walmart is getting rid of self checkout," an X user posted on Dec. 3. "If they do, we riot. Don't make me have to stand in line and talk to people."
The next day, another shopper indicated they'd heard a similar rumor. "Saw something on here the other day that may or not be true that Walmart and others might be getting rid of self checkout machines," they wrote.
The question has even been posed on Reddit recently: "Is it true that Walmart might be getting rid of self-checkout?"
Prepare to either be disappointed or breathe a sigh of relief: The answer is no. When Best Life reached out to Walmart about the rumors, a spokesperson confirmed that they are false.
"There are no current plans for self-checkout removals nationwide," the retailer said in an emailed statement.
So where did these claims comes from? Well, it is true that Walmart has started pulling self-checkout machines from some stores. In a Sept. 2023 report, the Albuquerque Journal revealed that two stores in the area had recently been renovated to replace self-checkout lanes, and a third location was in the process of doing the same.
"We continually look at ways to provide our customers with the best shopping experience and that includes adjusting the checkout area in stores," Walmart spokesperson Josh Havens told Insider at the time in regards to the removals.
But the rumors may have been further fueled by a report from CNN last month that read "Walmart, Costco, and other companies rethink self-checkout."
The report explained that several retailers in both the U.S. and the U.K. have started to revise their self-checkout strategies, as the machines have been linked to a higher rate of shrink, or merchandise losses from customers errors and shoplifting. It cited one study from a few years prior that indicated companies with self-checkout lanes and apps had a shrink rate that was more than double the industry average.
In terms of Walmart, however, the report only mentioned the retailer's decision to get rid of self-checkout kiosks from the three stores in New Mexico. It didn't include any news of additional removal plans from the company.
So no, Walmart is not getting rid of all self-checkouts—even though it has reverted a few stores back to cashiers only.