Self checkout at grocery store

Why do they care if I put a scanned item in a bag or back in the cart? I assume it has something to do with stopping theft?

The bags are on a weighing machine. The computer compares the actual weight of what you scanned versus what it is supposed to be from a database.

The weight of the item is detected by the platform when you bag it.

And if you’ve ever placed something in the bagging area and haven’t scanned it, you’ll get a message saying that something has been placed in the bagging area (I can’t remember the exact wording). So the weight of whatever was put there registers and the system knows it wasn’t scanned. I’ve put one of my own empty bags in the bagging area and it detects it right away.

Some self checkouts include a “I have my own bag” option.

I often don’t use any bags unless I’ve got a bunch of small stuff. Makes the folks at the door nervous when I roll by.

so they use the weight to make sure the bar code is correct? To make sure I don’t switch bar codes?
Yes I can say I am not bagging an item

Yes, And to check that you place the right item in the bag/weighing area after a scan. There are people who will scan a can of beans and place a package of steaks in the bagging area, then scan the beans again and place that in the bagging area. If no one is checking, you have scanned the right number of items, but you basically got steaks for the price of a can of beans.

One reason is to tell the difference between rescanning an item and scanning two of the same items. It’s common to swipe the item several times trying to get the machine to scan the UPC code. It’s also common to buy several of the same exact items. By putting the item in the bagging area, the system can tell the difference between buying two cans of the same soup versus swiping the same can multiple times.

To make sure you’re not bagging stuff which you haven’t scanned or paid for

Exactly this. Way too easy to wave a pack of steaks over the scanner with your finger covering the barcode and toss them in the bag. The system via the scale detects you put something in the bag that wasn’t scanned.

Those self-checkouts are ridiculously buggy and unrelaible. When I tried to use them I’d always be getting some kind of weight discrepancy and have to wait for a human checkout person to sort it out, which would take awhile because they were already busy helping out several other people having similar problems.

Now I never use them except on rare occasions where I only have a couple items and the self-checkout line is very short.

I’ve used self-checkouts dozens of times and never had an issue.

Is it just a scale or is there also a camera?

I recently went to Walmart and was surprised that there were no cashiers, only self checkout. The single line moved quickly though. I wonder though, what if you’re illiterate or can’t read English? I guess the person there will have to help.

I’ve noticed self-checkouts are moving away from the “must put everything on the scale” system. At Target for example, you can just put everything right back in the cart.

Maybe it’s just the self-checkout our local Kroger uses, then. They used to have a different brand / style of self-checkout system, then replaced it with one that was less intuitive and useful. I’m guessing it was a money-saving move.

I started to use the self-checkouts at the beginning of the pandemic because the supermarket wouldn’t let us bring in our own bags but would charge for us to use the store-provided bags (seemed unfair). So I used the self-checkout, put my stuff in the crappy t-shirt bags and told the machine that I used zero store bags. I found it best not to try bagging anything until after I paid, as that minimized confusing the scale mechanism. The biggest problem is produce items. For apples, there’s usually a PLU sticker on them and for more obscure stuff, I memorize the PLU code on the produce department sign.

Exactly this.

This was true all too often with early self-checkouts … the kind that rolled out in the early 2000s.

I don’t know what’s different, but in modern self-checkout systems – at least around here – the items are no longer weighed after scanning. In fact, at the large grocery near our home, there’s not even enough space in the bagging area to bag up and weight a cart’s worth of groceries – you have to move bags somewhere to fill more than five or six bags.

These days, I typically scan items, fill a bag, and transfer that bag directly to my cart. Nothing is weighed at any point. The only safeguard I’m aware of is that now there is one employee monitoring four self-checkouts, and that employee is fairly close at hand the way it’s all set up. I’m sure determined shoplifters can get away with some level of theft, but at the same time … I’m not sure whether or not there are any other anti-theft safeguards in place to which I’m just not privy.

No one checks bags on the way out, and there is no more weighing of items in the bagging area. So I don’t know – it just works, and it’s quite convenient.


…which alerts everyone in shouting distance to turn their heads to witness the unlawful theft and the stealing thief.

If there is the option to self-checkout I do that. If a grocery store doesn’t offer self checkout as an option, I do not go there. At first there were some issues, but things have improved dramatically. I cannot remember the last time I had a problem with self checkout.