Tasting Table Asks: What Is The Worst Part Of Grocery Store Self-Checkout?

In-store grocery shopping is on the rise, making shoppers contend with long checkout lines, per Morning Consult. As shopping carts fill lane after lane, self-checkout seems like an easy and efficient option, especially when shoppers pop into a grocery store for just a few items.

In theory, self-checkout expedites the checkout process by cutting out the middle-man. In doing so, it not only increases shopping efficiency but also minimizes human contact, which, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, is never a bad idea. In fact, Wegman's responded to COVID-19 by launching a self-scan system. While this surely made grocery shopping more succinct, Wegman's ultimately shuttered the option after just two years (via Twitter). Such independence increased the potential for theft — a risk faced by self-checkout systems across supermarkets.

According to Grocery Dive, self-checkout contributes to "skip scans," in which customers simply don't scan select items. Skip scanning may occur either intentionally or accidentally, but no matter the reason, self-checkout comes with clear setbacks. These drawbacks not only pose difficulties for grocery stores but also for shoppers. However, according to the 588 people who responded to Tasting Table's latest survey, one self-checkout woe presents the biggest hassle.

Constant errors have readers re-thinking self-checkout

We all know the frustration of beginning the self-checkout process ... only for something to go awry. Whether the machine starts to beep or inaccurately scans an item, self-checkout comes with its fair share of mistakes, but which one is the most frustrating? Just under 34% of those who responded to Tasting Table's survey cited constant errors as the worst part of self-service checkout lanes.

Tasting Table survey respondents aren't alone in this conclusion. Self-checkout is widely perceived as annoying, with CNN claiming that "nobody likes self-checkout." Self-checkout puts the onus of labor on the customer and often results in long wait times while grocery store personnel resolve technical errors. Per CNN, one survey found that of 1,000 shoppers, 67% had experienced failure in the self-checkout aisle.

And the drawbacks don't stop there. Following errors, bagging groceries yourself and weighing produce tied as self-service hassles. Both annoyances amassed 21.43% of the vote, with 126 people responding to each. Similarly, nearly 15% of respondents perceive self-checkout's lack of human interaction as a major con. Although self-service is pandemic-friendly — and therefore a potential positive — 88 Tasting Table readers actually cited self-checkout's independent nature as a shortcoming.

Ranking at the bottom of Tasting Table's self-checkout grievances was confusing payment processes, which amassed 8.33% of votes. We definitely understand how it can be especially frustrating to scan and bag your groceries like a champ, then reach a road block on the payment screen.