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Walmart Slammed for New Self-Checkout Restrictions: "Final Push to Stop Shopping There"

Shoppers who have gotten used to the checkout option are not pleased.

Everyone seems to have a strong opinion on self-checkout these days, but retailers continue to make major changes whether we like it or not. Walmart invested hard in the technology, only to pull back thanks to negative feedback and an increase in theft. Now, the big-box retailer has more plans for self-checkout, including new restrictions that will keep certain customers from accessing these lanes. As with most any change Walmart makes, there's already a fair amount of pushback, with some saying it may be their "final push to stop shopping there." Read on to find out what's next for self-checkout.

RELATED: Walmart and Target Anti-Theft Measures Could Be "Final Nail in the Coffin," Shoppers Say.

Lanes are now reserved for Walmart+ members and Spark drivers.

walmart self-checkout sign
Copyright u/tattedpizza / Reddit

Some self-checkout lanes at Walmart are being reserved for Walmart+ members and Spark drivers, Business Insider reported earlier this week. The Walmart+ membership program allows shoppers to scan items as they shop and then check out using the app at self-checkout, while Spark is Walmart's delivery service.

Shoppers first noticed the change in February, with one Redditor posting a photo of a Walmart sign that read, "Attention: This self checkout is for Spark shoppers and Walmart+ Scan & Go only." An effective date of Feb. 23, 2024, was listed at the bottom.

Another Reddit post from March 1 said their store had limited lanes for these drivers and customers as well. While the Redditor didn't note where their store was located, they did say it had 10 self-checkout lanes, with four now reserved for Spark drivers and two for Walmart+ members.

RELATED: Walmart Shoppers Say Never Buy Great Value "Ever"—Here's Why.

Walmart says this isn't a policy for all stores.

customers using self-checkout at walmart
JRomero04 / Shutterstock

Speaking with BI, Walmart spokesperson Joe Pennington said the move is not a company-wide initiative. The decision to limit kiosks is up to managers' discretion, allowing them to determine the best strategy for their shoppers and associates.

On Reddit, several users alleged that this change is intended to promote the Walmart+ program and entice more shoppers to sign up. However, Pennington denied that the strategy was implemented to push Walmart+ sign-ups. He instead compared the move to restrictions customers are very familiar with, like express lanes exclusive to shoppers with 10 items or less.

"Based on several factors including customer and associate feedback, shopping patterns, and business needs, some locations are temporarily testing different checkout staffing options," Pennington told BI.

Best Life reached out to Walmart for comment, and we will update the story when we hear back.

RELATED: Bought Meat or Fruit From Walmart? You May Be Eligible for Up to $500.

Shoppers are less than thrilled with the changes.

On social media, Walmart shoppers have already aired their grievances with the self-checkout changes.

"Walmart and Target creating a subclass caste system for self checkout," a March 1 post on X reads. "Remember—you're checking yourself out and now you have to be 'special' to have access to more self checkout lanes than the common peasant."

Another noted that the restrictions created more problems in the form of longer lines.

"#Walmart The change to 4 self-checkout lanes per cashier is a joke," a March 1 post reads. "Today, 2 of the 4 were closed to any non-Spark driver. That left two for walk-in customers. Lines ensued. Your prices are not so low that people with options can go elsewhere and not be inconvenienced by lines."

On Reddit, a Walmart customer wrote that this change "would be the final push for me to stop shopping there ever," while a fellow Redditor joked, "This does not spark joy."

Shoppers hope the policy won't last.

walmart self-checkout scanner
lcatnews / Shutterstock

Walmart responded to a few X users, asking them to reach out via direct message to help "resolve" issues. But in general, shoppers are doubtful that the initiative will be here to stay.

"Telling u this [right now]. It aint gonna last," a user wrote on the r/walmart subreddit. "There will be customers complaining and employees complaining and stuff like that."

"This will probably be reversed in a month," yet another wrote.

Irritated shoppers suggested workarounds for the policy, with some stating that people may simply not follow the new rule. However, the Redditor who posted the photo of the sign confirmed that Walmart had "an employee standing post" to prevent this.

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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