Walmart Shoppers Say Stores Are Eliminating Self-Checkout
They claim the retailer is closing off lanes at some locations due to theft.
Nothing has divided shoppers quite like the self-checkout takeover. But whether you prefer cashiers or a more automated experience, the choice is out of your hands, as many retailers are changing course on this once-omnipresent trend. After years of investing in new machinery and technology, major companies are cutting back on self-checkout lanes, and customers have started to notice. Read on for the latest reports from Walmart shoppers who think the retailer may be abandoning self-checkout for good.
Walmart renovated a few stores last year to get rid of self-checkout.
A few Walmart locations in the U.S. were stripped of their self-checkout machines last fall. In a Sept. 2023 report, the Albuquerque Journal revealed that two stores in the Albuquerque, New Mexico, area had recently been renovated to replace self-checkout lanes. At the time, the newspaper said that a third location in the area was undergoing the same process.
"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.
Now, shoppers say their stores are closing self-checkout lanes.
Back in September, Walmart told Insider that they had no plans for the widespread removal of self-checkout kiosks. Then in December, the company refuted rumors that it was getting rid of them at stores in Maine and Massachusetts, AL.com reported.
But recently, several shoppers have taken to social media to share that their local Walmarts have blocked their access to self-checkout machines, even through the kiosks remain in the store.
"My local Walmart closed the self-checkout," one X user wrote in a Jan. 29 post.
Another person shared the same in a Jan. 26 post: "It appears that Walmart in Evergreen, Colorado, has closed all of its self-checkout lanes."
They claim workers are saying it's because of theft.
Shoplifting has become a significant concern for retailers over the last few years. And now it could be to blame for why some shoppers are being barred from self-checkout at their local Walmart.
In a Jan. 23 X post, Jim Rutberg from Colorado Springs showed photos of closed self-checkout lanes at his local Walmart, claiming that the worker who rung up his groceries told him it was because people were stealing merchandise.
"She said they decided to only open them when lines at full service checkouts get long," he wrote. "Too much theft."
In December, another shopper shared a similar story. "Self-checkout seems to be failing at Walmart," the X user wrote. "Two days in a row, the majority are closed. Asked an employee and said closed due to increased theft."
A retail expert says "self-checkout is doomed."
It may be no surprise that Walmart is working on ways to reverse its reliance on self-checkout. Phil Lempert, AKA The Supermarket Guru, a retail expert with over 25 years of experience in analyzing and predicting retail trends, recently told The U.S. Sun that "self-checkout is doomed" because retailers are having to put in extra measures to protect against theft.
"From a security standpoint, what's happened is the retailers with self-checkout have had to add employees, whether it's security or other employees, to help people at self-checkout," he said. "So, you know you're not accomplishing anything. You're not reducing labor, you're not getting a better shopping experience."
Lempert also said that Walmart is pushing customers away by implementing receipt checks as a way to try to combat shoplifting from self-checkout.
"What we are doing is we are just driving people to stores that don't do that or to online shopping because it's not a pleasurable shopping experience," he said.