Self-Checkouts Losing Popularity

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COLUMBIA - Self-checkout counters are still popular, at least in one Mid-Missouri supermarket. The Gerbes store on Paris Road maintains six self-checkouts and they're always in use. But the Hy-Vee stores in Columbia have no self-checkouts. Soon, they may not be the only stores with just checkout clerks.

Stores nationwide are phasing out their self-checkout lanes. According to a 2011 study conducted by The Blaze, Big Y Foods announced that it would remove its self-checkouts and rely solely on cashiers. Big Y Foods is a northern supermarket chain with 61 locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Albertsons LLC, based in Boise, Idaho also said that its self-service lanes are getting tossed out.

But Phyllis White, a Gerbes customer who comes into the Paris Road location at least twice a week, says she's learned to like the self-checkouts even though she had her doubts at first. "Well, when they first came out with the self-checkouts I was really scared of them, because I though it would be too hard to use... I'm not of the computer generation. But, they're pretty easy. I mean, if it messes up it tells you and then somebody comes running to help you. So if I can do it, anybody can do it", White said.

Dave Lusby, an Assistant Manager for Gerbes since 1999, reiterated the self-checkouts success at the store. "They work very well. Our customers really love em. We give the the customer two choices. One is our self-service, one is the registers. We feel we give 100% to both areas for the customers.", Lusby said.

But White also added that she doesn't exclusively use the self-checkouts. "It depends on how much time I have and how much I've bought, and I like the cashiers too because you get to talk to somebody and maybe you haven't talked to anybody all day and you wanna talk to somebody", she said.

Despite other supermarkets removing self-checkouts and relying solely upon cashiers, Lusby says that for now that won't happen with Gerbes. "No, we have no plans on doing that. We have upped our employee staff on the front end of our store. We make sure that all of our registers have plenty of employees staffed to help the customers, if they do not want to go through the self-checkout.", Lusby said.

Gerbes is part of Kroger, one of the world's largest grocery store chains headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Kroger has also said it is keeping the self-checkout option.