Uh-oh. Who ruined self-checkout at Target? Could it be theft that is making it go away?

Self-checkout lanes have been around for a while. They were actually started at Kroger grocery stores back in the '80s! According to Wikipedia:

The machines were originally invented by David R. Humble at Deerfield Beach, Florida-based company CheckRobot Inc., with NCR Corporation having the largest market share. They were introduced to the public in July 1986; the first machine, produced by CheckRobot, was installed in a Kroger store near Atlanta, Georgia.

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Getty Images

The pandemic really made checking out yourself popular. Somewhere along the way, self-checkout went from if you only had a couple of items to a full-on shopping cart. That makes self-checkout not the expressway of paying for your stuff. Especially if you watch people, some have no idea where that darn barcode is.

That's where Target decided to make the self-checkout fast again, like it used to be.


This is new for Target, and lucky for South Portland, as they are one of a few cities testing this. A Target spokesman told Coupons in the News:

At select locations we are testing self-checkout lanes of 10 items or fewer in order to reduce wait times and better understand guest preferences.

Target didn’t say how many stores this applies to, where these tests are happening, or how long they might last before they decide to make it a national change. But besides going back to self-checkouts as a quick way out, it may actually be for another reason. According to Coupons in the News, employees have said that too many people are bringing full carts, and it's ripe for stealing. The assumption is that Target is trying to lower SCO (self-checkout) usage. The stealing that happens wouldn't be at a regular register.

Just as it's easier to check your own stuff, it's also just as easy not to. And this is why we can't have nice things.

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