A modern debate: Self checkout versus cash register

Opinion by T’KaiaButler

When you go to a store do
you find yourself at a cash
register or a self checkout? For
many people who shop at HyVee
on 90th and Center, and grocery
stores all around the Metro, the
“self checkout” stands are a crucial
part of their shopping experience.
At a regular cash register, a
customer would have a cashier
and a courtesy clerk to ring their
groceries up, bag them, and carry
them out. However, at self check-
out, shoppers will do this on their
Self checkout is a good alter-
native for people who may have
social anxiety and feel uncomfort-
able talking to strangers or people
who simply don’t want to inter-
act with people they don’t know.
Some people also enjoy privacy
when paying for their groceries.
Self checkout was a good option
in the height of the pandemic so
your groceries wouldn’t be han-
dled by two extra people.
On the other hand, customers
who don’t have a problem with
talking to strangers, like to come
to the cash register for a more
traditional experience.
I’ve worked at HyVee for a little
over a year now, and I’ll be the
first to tell you that self checkout
is a faster experience for both
employees and customers. There
are thirteen self checkouts and
only two or three registers with
cashiers at them at a time.
Typically, when a customer
needs help operating the self
checkout machine, an employee
is standing close by and can help.
This process, with each customer,
only takes about thirty seconds.
After working there for so long,
I’ve realized that usually the older
generations don’t like to use self
checkout. I’ve heard complaints
like “I can’t see the screen” and “I
don’t like all this new computer
stuff.” Personally, I like going to
self checkouts because there is
usually less of a wait than if I went
to a cashier.
Despite the positive aspects of
self checkout, there are negatives
too, theft being one of the biggest.
Unfortunately the harsh reality
of having people scan their own
merchandise and pay for it is that
they don’t always do it with integ-
rity. This causes the store to lose
out on money and can make for a
dangerous situation sometimes.
Some things to look for when
you suspect someone is stealing
from self checkout are: small items
not in bags, people who walk out
with big bags, and people who
look like they aren’t scanning all
the barcodes or the right barcodes.
Big companies such as HyVee
can also save money by not paying
so many cashiers to work because
customers can go to self checkout.
One of the managers of
HyVee,Will Lane, says “I don’t
think it’s replacing workers, but
some people don’t like the lack of
human interaction.”
Some HyVees, such as in Des
Moines, have tried out the “scan
and go” method as seen at other
stores like Sam’s. This shopping
technique allows you to scan your
items on your phone and leave the
store without going to a register at
Unfortunately this perk has
been discontinued due to the
amount of theft coming from it.
HyVee thanks their customers
for being willing to “adopt new
Next time you go shopping,
be sure to consider using the self
checkouts for a speedy and private

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