LOS ANGELES (CBS) — At least two Southland grocery chains are pulling the plug on self-checkout lanes.

Albertson’s and Big Y stores will abandon the option over what they cited as customer service concerns, while Big Y specifically pointed to rising theft rates as another factor.

Retail security experts have found theft — intentional or not — can be as much as five times higher with self-checkout than with human cashiers.

Rapidly-developing radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is likely to expand options in the coming years for smartphones that already allow customers to pay with a wave of their phone instead of fumbling with a credit or debit card.

Despite the moves by Albertson’s and Big Y, the absence of long lines and chatty cashiers has been popular enough to entice big national chains such as Walmart and CVS to expand their self-service options.

Comments (6)
  1. Brandon says:

    Sounds like a good idea. Not sure about the whole paying with RFID technology though.

  2. KeithS says:

    I am glad technology is losing the battle here but in either case, I won’t be surprised if consumers end up paying for this. I mean stores were hoping to cut even more labor with these check out stands and now they can’t. More labor will eventually mean higher prices. And not sure the stores will open new checkstands to make up for the electronic ones they’ll be closing. Back in my box-boy days, it used to be a policy of opening a new line after three people queued up. Now it seems like the belief is “we’ll start worrying about things when we see 7 people jamming the express lane.”

  3. Ed Jones says:

    It will now be which thief wins. The shoplifter or the store!

  4. JM says:

    What I miss most is having someone unpack my cart at the checkout. Now that was service.

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