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July 25, 2006 02:21 PM

Broken: (maybe) Home Depot self-checkout

Entertaining discussion at slashdot about Home Depot self-checkout. Link: Slashdot | Law of Unintended Consequences Strikes Grocers.

I work at Home Depot, as a cashier. I can back up all of parent's statements; people lose about fifty IQ points when faced with the self checkout. That's why ours have a cashier supervising them.

(Thanks, John S.)


I'd agree that self-checkout options in general... and Home Depot's in particular... tend to be a whole lot more confusing than they need to be.

If I remember correctly, my local Home Depot's self-checkout has the location for swiping a credit card and the location for feeding in cash separated by a good couple of feet from the place where you actually complete the transaction. It also requires that each item you purchase go on a little shelf after being scanned... which isn't terribly convenient if you're buying lumber, or bags or cement, or any of the other awkwardly-shaped or heavy things that people tend to buy at Home Depot.

I usually skip self-checkout, and hope there's a short line in the garden center.

Posted by: Mullet Vampire at July 25, 2006 03:27 PM

Following up on MV's post, for those items that aren't too large for the scale, the rest are too small to register any change in weight, so it can't track them either. I really don't know why they bother with that, since the clerk just overrides the error without question

Posted by: mishakim at July 25, 2006 10:33 PM

Self checkouts are broken in general. They reduce jobs, and it makes it a heck of a lot easier to steal stuff. It'd be better if everything had RFID tags, but that's not come about yet.

Posted by: Fayth at July 26, 2006 01:58 AM

I hate the signature pads. If you are left handed it is almost impossible to sign since the back of the pad is right against the wall.

Posted by: Dennis at July 26, 2006 10:48 AM

You shouldn't be mad at Home Depot, or WalMart (the worst), but rather the maker, NCR.

Posted by: John at July 26, 2006 09:41 PM

Any of the self-checkouts that rely upon weight are at least partially "broken." They freak out even when you're simply adjusting a bag, they often misread the overall weight and need cashier assistance, and there have also been at least two occasions I can think of when I though the machine had scanned something & placed it in the bag when in fact it had not, yet the cashier overrode it. Whether I was honest enough to have the mistake corrected, I'll never tell! =)

Posted by: Chris at July 26, 2006 11:30 PM

"That's why ours have a cashier supervising them."

I bet the main reason you have a cashier supervising them is to prevent people from walking out with things.

Posted by: rich at July 27, 2006 11:03 AM

I like self checkouts because I don't have to deal with slow, annoying, checkout staff, but I have had all of the problems with their poor design that people describe on slashdot.

Maybe it's just the company's way of keeping the lines short. Of so, I think I'll put up with it. Wow, did I really say that?

Posted by: interlard at July 27, 2006 04:42 PM

I love the self checkouts. Nobody else around here knows how to use them, thus they are always empty and the "regular" lines are normally three to five people full. I get out of the store a lot quicker! Already have the procedure down, sometimes I select Spanish mode to mix it up a little!

Posted by: Eric at July 27, 2006 11:35 PM

I see no logic in why it is neccesary to even register that you put the item in the bag. If you scanned it, shouldn't it be there? Is it neccesary to double check if you really bagged it? (Walmart guy) "ZOMG!!!!1!! He didn't bag his item!! That's worse than shoplifting!!"

Posted by: Ducky at July 30, 2006 04:23 PM

Ducky, the point of weighing the items put in the bags isn't to make sure you put your items in the bags. It's to make sure you didn't add anything extra without scanning it.

About the presence of cashiers, as far as I know, there usually are one or two cashiers supervising the self-checkout counters. They fulfill the following functions:

-Watching out for shoplifting

-Helping people who are having trouble

-Entering coupons and items which don't have a working bar-code or produce number or are too large to put in the bags

-verifying the identity of people making credit card purchases over 100$

Personally, I am one of those people who show up at the self checkout counter with a fairly full cart. Despite this I am often faster through the checkout line than people buying one or two items. As far as I am concerned it's not so much a factor of how much you are buying(as long as it all fits on the scales) but whether you know what you are doing. If you look at the self-checkout and get scared or confused, it's a pretty good sign that you should go to a cash with someone to interact with the machines for you.

Posted by: Sean P at August 2, 2006 10:45 PM

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