Are You getting frustrated by errors at self checkout?

I’ve enjoyed checking out my groceries and hardware items at self checkout for nearly a decade.

Lately I’ve been getting more and more scan errors. “Scan item before placing in bag” and “Place scanned Item in bag”, are two of the most common.

It’ll let me keep scanning if two errors pop up. But, I can’t finalize and pay until the cashier clears the error.

Three errors and scanning stops until the cashier clears the error. The terminal screen is locked until the cashier fixes it.

Lately I’ve been getting over ten errors. The cashier had to clear the errors several times.

Last week, the cashier told me it was because I was too fast. Scan item, hear the beep, put in bag. That’s how I’ve done it for many years. Now it’s giving “Scan item before placing in bag”. Cashier explained I have to wait until it tells me to put in bag. : confused: that’s a new rule and tremendously slows down checkout. But slowing down does help avoid the error.

I still haven’t figured out Place scanned Item in bag. I put the stupid thing in the bag! There’s no rhyme or reason why that error pops up.

If I move things around in the bag. Trying to organize it. I sometimes get “Scan item before placing in bag”.

I’m getting so frustrated that I may return to using full service checkout.

Are you getting these errors? What’s your strategy to avoid them?

I think these machines are wearing out and are out of adjustment.

I love self service scanning. The ones I use are close to flawless, at least for me.

Yeah, don’t do that. The system is designed to prevent retail theft. Scan and bag your items one at a time. Do not jostle the bags until after you’ve paid.

It drives me nuts. That, and there are only about 2 employees who are worth a shit and will help you out in anything like a timely manner.

So, I devised my own form of protest. But that’s not for this thread. :wink:

I also hammer the store on the on-line survey. I only do it for bonus gas points, so I’m pretty tough on them. I am starting to despise shopping.

I average about one self-checkout error per supermarket trip. I’ve not found the errors to be consistent with any specific category of product, it’s always a completely random item that for no obvious reason the self-checkout register refuses to ring up, then you need an employee override to finish checking out. And I really hate the fact that I can’t rearrange items amongst my bags without triggering the “UNEXPECTED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA!” alert.

As a former long-time supermarket employee, one who was really good at checkout, it pains me to encounter these silly errors, the vast majority of which I suspect are just simple item entry errors in their main computer. And it’s sure doesn’t help when the self-checkout attendant, when there is one (there should ALWAYS be one!), isn’t paying attention or has NO sense of urgency in getting over to help you.

I used to do self-checkout in its early days at the grocery store because there was rarely a line, but then I would get all kinds of errors. This was when self-checkout lines had conveyor belts; now you just dump stuff right into the bag next to you. Sometimes it would actually reverse the conveyor belt to return an item that it wanted me to rescan. “Remove all items from the belt and rescan.” It wasn’t worth it–it was averaging longer the the regular lines.

I went back to the regular lines. Why should I scan them myself when I can let someone else scan my items and bag them, and do it without paying extra?

Now, the same store has handheld scanners so I can scan things as I take them off the shelf, put them right in a bag. I don’t have to take them all out of the cart and put them back again to check out. Checking out takes me less than 30 seconds (a tad longer if I have coupons), especially now that I pay with Google pay from my smartwatch. Much more efficient.

I almost always use self-checkout at Home Depot because I’ve never had the problems there that I had at the grocery store.

I rarely run into those sorts of errors.

And, I agree with kayaker – the bagging area is a sensitive scale for a good reason, and when the OP is fiddling with the arrangement of things in the bag, he’s likely causing self-inflicted problems.

My biggest issue with self checkout lanes is the people who insist on using them when they have a full cart of groceries, and then proceed to spend ten-plus minutes slowly scanning and bagging things, and moving full bags back into their cart (and then requiring help from the attendant). I imagine that they believe that they’re somehow saving themselves time, because they didn’t have to wait in line for five minutes at the regular checkout line, but their lack of self-awareness is pretty breathtaking.

I do scan and bag them one at a time. The problem is, some items have to be moved to allow the next item to be added to the bag. TV dinners comes to mind. They only fit in the bag standing on end, and until you’ve placed several of them you have to stand them back up to get the next one in. Unless you’re only putting one item in a bag, you have no choice but rearrange items as you bag them.

My Kroger has a “scan as you go” thing. You pick up a hand held scanner before you start shopping and scan everything as you go. You still have to stop by the self scanners to pay. But since everything has been bagged and scanned already, it only takes about 10 seconds.

This generally happens because there’s only one lane with a checker open and there’s already 10 people with full carts in line.

It’s the user-hostile design which causes the “errors” that I hate. “Jostling the bags” is not an error. Scanning too fast, too slow, choosing what to bag or when to put it in the bagging area is not an error. These are errors in the design of the machine.

Add in the impossibility of buying bulk items by weight or alcohol which requires ID and I rarely use these infernal contraptions. That’s my strategy to avoid the “errors”. Yes, I use them sometimes, so I’m not just making things up here.

The idea is great. I’d love to have robots ring up my purchases. There’s no reason a person needs to do this tedious and mind numbing job.

Unfortunately, the people designing the machines have handicapped them to the point of uselessness. In the name of “loss prevention” or something else, they’ve still made their product poorly, on purpose. And there’s absolutely nothing in the world more frustrating to me than intentionally bad design. It’s the equivalent of spikes on park benches or anti-copy malware on CDs.

To answer the OP, no, I don’t have those kinds of problems. It may be because I wait to bag my stuff until after I have paid for it. Since I am only allowed 15 or fewer items, it only takes maybe a minute longer that way. Plus it avoids the one thing I do hate, which is when you say at the beginning that you brought your own bags and put them on the scale, and then you have to get a clerk to confirm that they are, in fact, bags. I just mark 0 bags used at the end, pay, and then do my bagging.

I know there are people who are opposed in principle to self-checkout because it is putting checkers and baggers out of work. I’m sorry, I can’t get bothered about that. This is a technology that I can handle and that gets me through faster, without annoying interactions with checkers, and without incompetent baggers (on those few occasions when there are any baggers).

I NEED to know your protest.
I hate the self checkout, I think I am allergic to them, or something. I hate shopping anyway. Don’t add to my stress please.

My City Market just switched over to this. It seems the vegetables are a lot easier, because you don’t have to look up a number at check out. You scan a tag for carrots or whatever, then potatoes and such. Then go to a scale in the produce section and scan a scale. Your device will then ask you to place carrots on scale, then put potatoes on scale. Easy peasy.

Since nothing else is weighed, I wonder how much theft they’re gonna get.

This shows a fundamental lack of planning ahead. If you KNOW that you’re going to be putting several items in a bag, then you place the first items to the side within the bag instead of placing them in the middle.

I was a cashier at Walmart for 4 years.

My trick is to have a place for everything to go pre set-up before I start. I usually unfold two paper bags and make sure two plastic bags are open on the little rack, that leaves a little bare spot for milk jugs or something you don’t want to bag. Only after I’m set-up do I start. One plastic bag for raw meat, one plastic bad for processed meat or veggies depending. The paper bags get everything else. With my system I usually only get an error 10% of the time.

If I’m purchasing alcohol I make them aware ASAP but don’t scan it until they stop by, that way I can continue scanning until they finish what they’re doing.

The bag is hanging between two metal arms like a hammock. There is no “planning ahead”, as the item ends up in the same place in the bag no matter how you place it.

And the self checks at Walmart are even worse. They only dispense one bag at a time, and you have to move the first bag out of the way to start a second one.

Almost all the self-checkout problems I see are related to going too fast and also throwing off the weight sensors (this is often a co-morbid problem as going too fast throws off the weight calculations). I never have a single problem with the self-checkout because I know it’s a dumb computer and literally the only way for it to tell what I’m doing is by the weight it’s registering in the bagging area. It doesn’t have an eyeball to look at what I’m doing, it can’t just “see” what my problem is. So you have to deal with the sensor it DOES have: the weight sensor. What this means is you HAVE to wait for it to be ready for the thing you just scanned. You CANNOT remove anything afterwards. You SHOULD NOT rearrange anything. All of these things creates weight fluctuations, and therefore the computer will think you are stealing, and it will throw an error. Simple as that. All you have to do is scan, put in a bag or on the weight shelf, scan next thing, put in bag or on weight shelf, lather, rinse, repeat until done. Do not rush. Do not move things. Do not switch things around. You will get an error. Once you know what the computer is doing and why, it’s very simple to avoid the issue.

It’s another thing, of course, when the weight sensor is broken. Like I said, it’s literally the only way the computer knows what you are doing, so it will freak out when it doesn’t know.

EDIT: My husband used to try and “help” by scanning something while I was still putting the previous item in the bagging area. You can’t do that. He would then try to help by moving things in the bagging area as I scanned. You also can’t do that. The weight sensor is king. One thing at a time, and it will be happy. If you must rearrange things, stop, do so, and then wait for the weight to settle in again before doing anything else and the computer should recognize that you didn’t steal anything because the weight is the same, and go back to normal. Then you can continue. But not before.

A couple of tips for people who self-checkout and buy a lot of produce:

#1: Most produce these days has a little sticker on it with a 4-digit (occasionally 5-digit) number printed on it, among other things. This 4-digit number is the PLU, and they are standardized across the industry so they should be the same at any store. This is what you’re looking up when you search through the visual list of produce on the self-checkout register screen.

#2: Memorize the PLU for the items you buy most frequently, it will save you a ton of time (and probably save you a lot of evil eyes from customers waiting behind you). If you buy bananas every time you go to the store, know that the code for standard, yellow Cavendish bananas is 4011.

This reminds me, if you mess something up or want to change something, just set it on the scale, not in a bag. After you pay you can always bag a few things. If you have a stack of TV dinners or need to put something heavy under a loaf of bread, just get it on the scale. After you pay, when it’s printing a receipt and you’re putting things in the cart, you can always rearrange things.

The only errors I ever got involved bringing your own bag or having to pay for theirs. You were supposed to put your bags in the bagging area, but that never worked. Now you can just say you’ve bought 0 bags, and all is fine.
Still, I don’t self-check unless I have only a few things and the line is short. And almost never when I have produce. The stuff I buy does not have stickers on it, and the name of the produce to look up is often not obvious the first time. Plus my Safeway has professional experienced checkers who have the authority to fix errors without calling a manager.