Self checkout at grocery store

All the places I shop with SCOs still have the physical weigh station, but I have no idea if they are actually operative. Until I saw this thread, I’ve had no reason to think otherwise.

They must be at least partially operative. At the conclusion of a sale, after paying, it badgers me to “Please remove your items” until I do.

I’ve seen (or heard) the message “Unexpected item in weighing area”, but I can’t remember how long ago I last heard that.

There was one station once, a year or so ago, that did this repeatedly, after every several items. I finally decided it was just malfunctioning. So I simply abandoned the sale in mid-sale, put all my stuff back in my cart, and started over at the next station.

The clerk eventually came over and canceled the sale there. I noticed the next customer there was having the same trouble.

The store probably has the bagging scales turned off. As I said, at my store we can turn them off for the current transaction, but it turns back on once that transaction is finished. I find it helpful for identifying when someone has, inadvertently or not, placed something on the bagging scale that they haven’t scanned.

I was in Bradley, Illinois to help open a new store for the chain I work for and relieved someone at the SCO so they could go to lunch. A few minutes after I took the station this woman with three kids shows up to use the checkout. This was back when the scales were active on the stations. She told the kids to behave and sit on the scale to stay out of her way. The three kids combined probably weighed 120 pounds. And they young, so they’re wiggling, bouncing on and off the “seat”, and otherwise driving the machine, which was not designed for self-propelled items, close to a break down. Meanwhile, she’s trying to ring things up. Of course, all sorts of “item removed from bagging area”, “unexpected item in bagging area”, flashing signal lights are going on, etc. She is, of course, getting frustrated. I go over to clear the alerts and tried to communicate to her that the “bench” was actually a scale and her kids getting on and off and bouncing around were confusing the machine. Right away she starts yelling “I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!” and “I told my kids to sit there and that’s what they’re gonna do!” and “You can’t tell me what to do!” By that point I had to agree, I couldn’t tell her what to do because she didn’t want to listen. At this point we’re attracting attention. Another customer leans over to tell the woman what’s she’s doing wrong – “I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!”

Eventually everyone backed off. Her kids were still bouncing on and off the scale and I was still clearing alerts when the attendant came back from lunch. As I walked away I was still hearing Ms. Dunning-Kruger shouting “I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!”

Sentient machine taking its break?

On a related note, was “Scan, Bag and Go” ended because of theft?

Now I remember! I was looking at “onions” and saw “onions, Spanish”, “onions, red”, “onions, white”. I couldn’t find “onions, green” because as I found out from the helper lady they were under “g”.

If anyone reading this ever has anything to do with the design of a self-checkout machine someday, please list or alias the products in BOTH forms. Onions, Green and Green Onions. Database fields are cheap, right?

Brains are expensive.

Not to mention scallions, which is where I’d look first.

My most used self-checkouts just tell me that there’s something unexpected or that the bag has been moved, but then let me carry on as usual. Some don’t ever do an audible message for all the parts of the process, and virtualy every audible other than “ID check required” are generally ignored by everyone around, having become the moral equivalent of a 1980s car alarm in a major city.

One of them stops the checking out to clear ID for beer but another waits for the end of the sale to do it.

This shows the problem where the same thing can have several different names. UK supermarkets have us weighing out at a scale in the veg area and the screen has pictures. The scale prints a sticky label with a barcode and the name of the product.

It’s not perfect. Scallions (spring onions over here) are not shown under “onions” but as a salad for example.

So much this. In my case the problem is usually cantaloupes, which don’t fall under ‘melons’ but something that for the life of me I can never remember.

I had to learn that zucchini isn’t under Z it’s under Squash. I know they’re squash but I never refer to them as that.

Exactly! Pumpkins are squash but no one is pressing S to look them up.

The people who put together those look-up tables are often clueless.

This year our look-ups were revised and “leeks” wound up under “fruit” in between “lime” and “lemon”.


Judging from the points that have been brought up in other threads, some dopers will drive themselves to distraction trying to find tomatoes under “fruit”.

I’m so glad that many fruits and vegetables now have “banana stickers” that the bar-code reader can handle.

I know a Brit who calls leeks scallions and scallions spring onions.

My grocery can’t keep the little twist ties to seal the plastic bags for veggies in stock. I’d hate to think what they’d do if they had to keep labels and working scales.

Pro tip: tie a loose knot (half a square knot) in the bag. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Nobody needs those wire ties except for peeps who can’t afford zipties.

We keep and reuse all the twist ties we get, until they wear out to the bare metal. If the store decided not to supply them, I’d be fine with it. But they have space for them, and can’t get it together to keep them in stock - unlike their competitors. I’d hate to have depend on them keeping labels in stock to buy vegetables.

One of my preferred markets has a large bulk section, where you scoop out stuff from a large bin into a plastic bag. (The section has been much reduced in these pandemic times.) There are special twist-ties with wide white paper fringes and pens around. Every product has a 4-digit code, and customers write the code on the ties.

Produce could work the same way. The only difference is, they don’t have those twist-ties with the wide paper flanges to write the numbers on. Many items have stickers on them with the four-digit numbers, but those may be difficult to read once you’ve put them in plastic bags.

I got in the habit of grabbing some ties from the bulk department before hitting the produce department. Then I put produce in the bag, tie with those ties, and write the numbers on the ties just as I would in the bulk section.