Costco adding self-checkouts again

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mbz321
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Re: Costco adding self-checkouts again

Post by mbz321 »

storewanderer wrote: October 17th, 2020, 8:53 pm
I have heard of some rather archaic processes at Costco. I heard, a number of years ago now, the reason their receipts still printed as each item scanned (vs. at the end of the transaction like most retailers now) was because their audit/loss control group would sometimes zoom in with the camera and look at the tape on the printer. It seems like they should be able to do all of that looking via the central controller via a computer at this point- that sort of thing of looking at the tape as it prints is a process from like the 80's.
Lol! Based on the cameras in my not-so-old store location, I highly doubt they are that advanced to zoom in on receipts. Each location might be different but we have very, very few cameras throughout the building. The majority of the cameras seem to be around the gas station.

And I said in my previous post that we received new registers throughout. These new ones likely have a slightly faster processor and memory in them, but other than that it is literally the same register (except the new ones are black and Toshiba-branded vs. the off-white IBM units we had prior). You would think if they were going to make an investment that large they would modernize them a bit more than that, but what do I know :\.

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Re: Costco adding self-checkouts again

Post by storewanderer »

mbz321 wrote: October 18th, 2020, 7:06 am
And I said in my previous post that we received new registers throughout. These new ones likely have a slightly faster processor and memory in them, but other than that it is literally the same register (except the new ones are black and Toshiba-branded vs. the off-white IBM units we had prior). You would think if they were going to make an investment that large they would modernize them a bit more than that, but what do I know :\.
Toshiba has been pushing hard to get people on that Supermarket platform (which Costco uses) to switch to its touchscreen system. Kroger seems to finally be switching to the touchscreen thing chainwide after many years of doing it in a few divisions or a few random stores but not chainwide (and the reason it wasn't done across the board before now, was because they were finding it was less efficient than the old keyboards).

Costco seems to be a holdout not doing touchscreen and keeping the old keyboard system. For a trained cashier who knows what they are doing, the old keyboard model is much more efficient (and certainly cheaper, and lasts longer).

The selling point of the touchscreen model is that it is "more intuitive" and makes it "easier for cashiers to perform special functions without memorizing odd key sequences." I don't know how having to go through 3 separate tabs/screens to do a price override is somehow easier than typing in "199 <price> and scanning the item which is how it works on the old keyboard system.

Toshiba seems to keep losing customers on that Supermarket platform; though the Ahold stores did switch to it universally a few years back (as I recall Giant PA was always on it, but MD/Stop N Shop were on some other system), various other chains have left it in the past few years such as Food Lion, Whole Foods, Grocery Outlet, and some small chains.

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Re: Costco adding self-checkouts again

Post by Alpha8472 »

What other warehouse stores use self checkout? I went to a WinCo and it did not have self checkout. I believe that the store might have had self checkout years ago.

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Re: Costco adding self-checkouts again

Post by BillyGr »

Alpha8472 wrote: October 19th, 2020, 3:33 pm What other warehouse stores use self checkout? I went to a WinCo and it did not have self checkout. I believe that the store might have had self checkout years ago.
As others mentioned Sam's Club does have them, and BJ's (in the Northeastern US, another club similar to Sam's or Costco) has them as well. The one locally actually has some with smaller scales designated for "express" orders, and the kind with the belt as well for larger orders (though still sometimes not large enough and it stops to wait for items to be removed at the other end).

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Re: Costco adding self-checkouts again

Post by arizonaguy »

BillyGr wrote: October 20th, 2020, 1:31 pm
Alpha8472 wrote: October 19th, 2020, 3:33 pm What other warehouse stores use self checkout? I went to a WinCo and it did not have self checkout. I believe that the store might have had self checkout years ago.
As others mentioned Sam's Club does have them, and BJ's (in the Northeastern US, another club similar to Sam's or Costco) has them as well. The one locally actually has some with smaller scales designated for "express" orders, and the kind with the belt as well for larger orders (though still sometimes not large enough and it stops to wait for items to be removed at the other end).
The two closest Sam's Club locations to me have some self-checkout lanes with belts for larger orders and some self checkout lanes with just a monitor and a scan gun for smaller orders.

Also WinCo (at least in Arizona) has self checkout at all of the locations I've been to.

I used the Costco setup described in the OP yesterday (must've installed in my local Costco in the last 3 weeks or so). An employee immediately came to my basket with a scan gun to scan the larger items but advised me that I did have to scan all of my smaller items and place them on the scale (with no scan guns for customer use). I found this setup counterintuitive versus the setup at Sam's, especially for a retailer where the great percentage of items sold are larger than average and bulkier than average items.

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Re: Costco adding self-checkouts again

Post by storewanderer »

Alpha8472 wrote: October 19th, 2020, 3:33 pm What other warehouse stores use self checkout? I went to a WinCo and it did not have self checkout. I believe that the store might have had self checkout years ago.
Which WinCo didn't have self checkout? This sounds like they had it in a location then pulled it out.

I am seeing a movement lately with virtually all large retail stores having self checkout. For instance in the past 2 weeks here in Reno, CVS has installed 2 self checkouts in almost every store. Many of these stores have so few customers on the front end they didn't even routinely have a cashier at the register at any point during the day so it is interesting they have done this in such slow stores. At the one I went into the other night I have no clue where the employee even was; I ran my transaction through the self checkout, have figured out how to put coupons through it so it doesn't trigger a need for employee assistance (the CVS Self Checkout is triggered to flag for an employee if you scan any manufacturer's coupon that creates a discount of more than 40% on the purchase at the moment the coupon is scanned- meaning do not scan extra bucks until you scan the manufacturer coupon or this flag will come up- this does not apply if you have "sent the coupon to card" in which case it will go through just fine), and I saw no employees or customers in the store.

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Re: Costco adding self-checkouts again

Post by Alpha8472 »

The Winco in Brentwood, California has no self checkouts. They had some a few years ago, but for some reason they were removed. Brentwood is right next to the crime ridden city of Antioch. I am sure some of the awful people from Antioch probably were neglecting to ring up all of their items at the self checkout.

This Winco had so many cashiers that almost every lane was open and cashiers were actively hunting for customers to check out. I would describe this setup to be much more efficient than self checkout. The problem with self checkout was that many customers would not know how to use it and that would back up the lines. Expert cashiers can handle the lines much better. Winco has some large items similar to Costco and using the self checkout is a pain for those items.

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Re: Costco adding self-checkouts again

Post by Super S »

Alpha8472 wrote: October 21st, 2020, 12:01 am The Winco in Brentwood, California has no self checkouts. They had some a few years ago, but for some reason they were removed. Brentwood is right next to the crime ridden city of Antioch. I am sure some of the awful people from Antioch probably were neglecting to ring up all of their items at the self checkout.

This Winco had so many cashiers that almost every lane was open and cashiers were actively hunting for customers to check out. I would describe this setup to be much more efficient than self checkout. The problem with self checkout was that many customers would not know how to use it and that would back up the lines. Expert cashiers can handle the lines much better. Winco has some large items similar to Costco and using the self checkout is a pain for those items.
WinCo has some of the most problematic self checkouts I have seen, freezing up for things like getting out a paper bag before scanning, and freezing up and requiring assistance for all kinds of random things, including large items that should be left in a cart and/or items that do not fit in a bag. With that said, I will take self-checkout over dealing with the rude cashiers at WinCo, which will do things like turn on the belt and shove other people's groceries into yours as you try bagging items, which is a long process when shopping by yourself, bagging your own groceries, and you are trying to make sure everything rings up correctly and have stop bagging to pay...

I have yet to use self-checkout at Costco. Their cashiers are usually pretty fast.

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Re: Costco adding self-checkouts again

Post by babs »

Super S wrote: October 21st, 2020, 12:59 pm
Alpha8472 wrote: October 21st, 2020, 12:01 am The Winco in Brentwood, California has no self checkouts. They had some a few years ago, but for some reason they were removed. Brentwood is right next to the crime ridden city of Antioch. I am sure some of the awful people from Antioch probably were neglecting to ring up all of their items at the self checkout.

This Winco had so many cashiers that almost every lane was open and cashiers were actively hunting for customers to check out. I would describe this setup to be much more efficient than self checkout. The problem with self checkout was that many customers would not know how to use it and that would back up the lines. Expert cashiers can handle the lines much better. Winco has some large items similar to Costco and using the self checkout is a pain for those items.
WinCo has some of the most problematic self checkouts I have seen, freezing up for things like getting out a paper bag before scanning, and freezing up and requiring assistance for all kinds of random things, including large items that should be left in a cart and/or items that do not fit in a bag. With that said, I will take self-checkout over dealing with the rude cashiers at WinCo, which will do things like turn on the belt and shove other people's groceries into yours as you try bagging items, which is a long process when shopping by yourself, bagging your own groceries, and you are trying to make sure everything rings up correctly and have stop bagging to pay...

I have yet to use self-checkout at Costco. Their cashiers are usually pretty fast.
Part of the problem at WinCo are the people staffing the self checkout. Instead of actively walking around proactively solving issues, they tend to hide at their stand. The make or break factor in self checkout is how fast an issue can be resolved by the attendents. Costco does this well. Winco, Target, Walmart struggle with it. Fred Meyer is hit or miss.

storewanderer
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Re: Costco adding self-checkouts again

Post by storewanderer »

babs wrote: October 21st, 2020, 2:06 pm
Part of the problem at WinCo are the people staffing the self checkout. Instead of actively walking around proactively solving issues, they tend to hide at their stand. The make or break factor in self checkout is how fast an issue can be resolved by the attendents. Costco does this well. Winco, Target, Walmart struggle with it. Fred Meyer is hit or miss.
At WinCo in South Reno the self checkout attendant sits on a bar stool and it is like moving a mountain to get the ones who work in the evening to actually get up from that stool and do anything. And you get lots of "ughs" and "sighs" when you ask them to do anything or do something that actually requires them to get up from their stool (since they can approve alcohol, etc. from the monitor station). Conversely in the morning they have a guy there (very long term employee, probably one of those millionaire cashiers from the WinCo ESOP) who is constantly pacing around the six self checkouts watching what people are doing and helping them.

I would expect Costco will be active in monitoring these self checkouts. There will at some point be an accountability factor at Costco: those door receipt checkers keep having failed transaction audits on self checkout transactions and if there are more failed audits when a certain person is on shift watching the self checkouts then they can potentially measure that and hold that person accountable the same way they hold cashiers accountable for missed items found in those receipt audits. Sam's Club does not have anyone watching self checkout since it is a completely self serve design.

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