Aside from the fact that these machines encourage sluggish behavior — in my experience, it always takes at least twice as long to pay for my goods in a self-checkout lane, despite my best efforts — it turns out that they also attract less-than-honest activity: shoplifting.
Kundu’s company has seen people scanning their Starbucks as bananas, leaving their items in the cart or reusable bag instead of scanning them and overloading the bagging area so that un-scanned merchandise can be piled on without being sensed.
Theft is five times higher in self-checkout lanes, according to the report. Stores such as Home Depot use employees to monitor self-checkout lanes, but the problem persists.
While Walmart and CVS add self-service lanes, other stores are removing them for “customer service” reasons, which includes theft and inconvenience. Still, the tech is predicted to grow by 10 percent in the next few years, according to research firm IHL Group.
New, smarter, more sensitive systems promise faster turnover and reduced theft — but as always, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Unless the pudding has been pilfered, that is.