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Big Y Foods Inc has decided to eliminate all self-checkout lanes by the end of the year at its 58 supermarkets that offer the technology. The New England grocer first introduced self-checkout lanes in 2003.
After extensive research, Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y came to the conclusion that the self checkout lanes not only didn’t save their customers time, but also usually took them even longer to check out than customers in standard checkout lanes. The grocer then determined that such technology couldn’t improve on or replace a cashier able to provide personal assistance each customer in her lane. Big Y pointed out that self-checkout lines get bogged down as the customers are forced to wait for store staff to help with bar codes, coupons, payment problems and other issues that arise with many transactions.
Noting that Kroger and Albertsons have also removed self-checkouts from stores because of service problems, Big Y said that, like those grocers, it would be adding more standard and express lanes to replace its self-checkouts. “Customers will notice a marked improvement in customer service as additional staff is added to staff increased checkout lanes,” the company said.
“Our self-checkout technology could not deliver on the service needs of our customers,” explained Michael A. Tami, VP for information resources and technologies at Big Y, which operates a total of 61 stores in Connecticut and Massachusetts, with more than 10,000 employees. “In short, we were not able to provide the exceptional customer service through them that has made Big Y what it is today. While other chains are opting to replace cashiers with more self-checkouts, we are adding cashiers to service more standard lanes.”