It happened while I was gone
I had heard about it. I had never seen it in action.
I’m talking about self-checkout. I love it!
What is self-checkout?
Well, I am pretty sure that nearly everybody who reads this site knows what self-checkout is, but just in case…
According to Wikipedia, Self-Checkout is:
Self-checkout (also known as self-service checkout and as semi-attended customer-activated terminal, SACAT) machines provide a mechanism for customers to process their own purchases from a retailer. They are an alternative to the traditional cashier-staffed checkout. The customer performs the job of the cashier themselves, by scanning and applying payment for the items.
Yep. You are your own cashier!
It is exactly as the name implies. You act as your own cashier at the stores that have self-checkout. You go to the cash register, scan your products with the barcode scanner, pay for your purchase, and head out the door.
I use the self-checkout most every time I go to Walmart (which is often). It is fast, efficient, I am in control, and I am in and out quickly.
There was a time when I did not use self-checkout if I was buying things like produce. I did not know if you could weigh the item yourself, or how to do it. But, one time the checkout lines were busy, and I did not feel like waiting, so I asked an employee if I could go through self-checkout even though I had some cabbage and lettuce. The person just smiled, took my cabbage and showed me how easy it was to do! Wow, amazing.
At my local Walmart
At my local Walmart store, there must be about a dozen self-checkout counters. They are all very conveniently located, very near the entry/exit area. So, you can go in, check yourself out, pay, and you are out the door quickly.
At the front of the self-checkout, there is a counter with an employee available for assistance. You would think that they would be keeping a close eye on you to make sure you are paying for everything in your cart. I don’t find it to be like that, though. The employee does not bother you or seem to watch you at all. The employee is simply there to answer questions or assist if there is a problem.
The only time I’ve had any interaction with the employee in the area was when I asked about how to weigh the produce. Never again.
Will there ever be self-checkout in the Philippines?
Having lived for the past two decades in the Philippines, I know that many readers will be wondering about self-checkouts and whether they will appear in the Philippines.
I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime. Maybe it will happen someday, but in my view, it will be a very long time.
I see a few reasons that self-checkout would be a no-go in the Philippines.
- There are many uneducated people in the Philippines. These people probably would not understand how to operate the self-checkout.
- Fear of theft. Most Philippine companies would fear (probably rightly so, unfortunately) that there would be huge problems with theft. People not paying for what they take.
- Cash society. The Philippines operates on CASH. Few people there use or even have, credit or debit cards. Self-checkout does take cash, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody pay with cash, only cards of one type or another.
Sad thing is that the Philippines badly needs self-checkout. The cashiers there are so slow. Having self-checkout would greatly increase the speed with which you could make your purchase and get on your way.
What about before I moved to the Philippines?
In the 1990s, before I moved to the Philippines, as far as I am aware, there was no such thing as self-checkout in stores here in the USA. If it existed at all it was only a very minor thing. These days, most large retail stores here have self-checkout. Based on watching customers, I believe that self-checkout is also widely used. The vast majority of people go straight to the self-checkout.
What about large purchases?
The largest purchase we have made at Walmart was for a 50″ TV set. We did not go through self-checkout for that. We went to a traditional cashier.
I do not think that self-checkout would be available for such a purchase. I say this because the cashier that ran-up our TV set had to enter the serial number of the set into the system and do some other things. Also, the TV set had a security device attached to it, requiring a special tool to remove it, so that we could leave the store without any incident. I just don’t think that this would (currently) be possible at a self-checkout counter.
My thoughts about self-checkout?
In my view, self-checkout is the best thing since sliced bread. I absolutely love it.