ATLANTA — In this age of Do It Yourself, some are wondering why the trend has extended to the checkout counter at their local store.

More and more retailers are investing in self-checkout, where customers scan and bag their purchases, not a cashier.

Morning Rush Insider Sandra Williams has concerns.

“Can you look into this as to why this is trending and provide some feedback?” asks Williams.

For some answers we turn to Zilvinas Silenas, the President of the Foundation for Economic Education.

Under stress from online shopping, brick and mortar stores are looking for ways to cut costs. When it comes to labor costs, the minimum wage may be going up while the technology for self-checkout is getting less expensive.

“At least half of the jobs, some say 80% of the jobs in retail can be automated,” says Silenas. “The trend is not going to stop.”

A study by the National Retail Federation indicates roughly two-thirds of customers have been satisfied with new technology such as shopping online and self-checkout.

Sandra Williams’ concerns include the struggles she’s seen at self-checkout counters.

 “If some customers are uncomfortable with machines, obviously there will be a human component, a cashier to help them out,” says Silenas.

There’s the issue of job loss.

The National Retail Federation study indicates a majority of retailers that replace cashiers with machines plan to retrain employees to do other jobs.

“There will be some people who lose their jobs,” says Silenas. “This is the trend we’ve been seeing across human history."

Speaking of history, the United States experienced its first taste of self-checkout with the Automat in 1902. The cafeteria-style establishments offered food delivered by a machine without the help of cashiers or waitresses.

It was the start of a do-it-yourself trend that will apparently carry us into the future.

 

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