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.NET Hobbyist Programmer Staying Confused in a Busy World

Actually, it was an implementation of technology that just got me extremely irate.  I was so upset that I just left my purchases there and went over to the nearby Lowe's ... but I am getting ahead of myself.

There are plenty of other people just like me who are unimpressed with this technology, so I am not substantially advancing the discussion here.  (I do hope I end up feeling better, though.)  Try this Google search, or this one to see what I mean.

I was attempting to purchase six things: a bag of washers, a bag of bolts, a bag of nuts, a drill set, and two rolls of radiant barrier insulation.

- The machine design failed to pass real-world use requirements.  The scale monitoring the drop area assumes the article you purchase will fall to the bottom of the bag and rest on the scale.  Tell that to a small plastic bag of stainless steel washers.  Since the machine is programmed to assume you are attempting to steal things (wait, didn't you just scan an item to pay for it?), the process halts until you do what it wants.  Do anything else and it locks up. It would be better to measure the weight including the bag rack.

- After locking up the first of their four machines, I carried my items over to another while the red light flashed behind me.  I muttered cuss words while looking at the clerk who seemed more concerned with her nails.  This time I started by scanning a package of drills.  That worked.  The next item was the bolts.  Since they fell to the bottom of the bag, the system worked.  The nuts worked as well.  I felt good that I was on a roll.  Things fell apart again over the washers since their minuscule weight failed to register on the scale.  The machine complained.  I tried to shift the washers, but the machine still complained and locked up.  Now I had two flashing red lights.

- I move to the third machine and tried again, this time starting with a roll of insulation.  I placed the roll in the oversize drop area and was marginally successful.  When the second one did not appear in the drop area fast enough (round things are hard to control), the system complained and eventually locked up.

- It was evident that the store did not place their best checkout clerk to monitor the self-checkout area.  The clerk was unable to reset the three machines.  She also did not help until I was in the process of locking up the third machine.

I then left my $60 purchase behind to go to Lowe's where I happily got my stuff quickly and easily.  My experiences with the Wal-Mart self-checkout have been similar, so I am convinced that this is technology that is not ready for prime time.  From now on, I go with the humans.

Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 8:31 PM Home Ownership , & Etc. | Back to top


Comments on this post: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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In Sweden, the biggest grocery chain (http://www.coop.se) has opened up a couple of their supermarkets for self checkout ("shop express"). Before you enter the store, you can check out a handheld bar code scanner, which you then scan all the items you drop in your basket.

When you get to the cashier (which can be automatic), your handheld scanner transmits the information, and you pay with your credit card.

Randomly, persons get picked out for control, so they have scanned all their groceries.

(Naturally, the old cashiers are still there, for those who prefer the old way of shopping.)

While I am a lot slower than the cashier in scanning the wares, I save huge amounts of time when I don't have to stand in line waiting for others to get their stuff scanned...
Left by Stoffisimo on Feb 07, 2005 5:22 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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The secret is to either chuck the washers in real hard or tap the scale as you put them in. Have to do the same thing at supermarkets with cards.
Left by Hate Home Depot on Feb 18, 2005 11:49 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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Hey, for a photographer, the walmart self checkout is a godsend. Photos are picked up at a one hour photo counter, and then I buy a pack of gum at the self serve. amen.
Left by Tyler on Feb 19, 2005 12:13 AM

# WalMart can shove the "Cash Register of the Beast" up their cheapskate rear orifices!
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I too have recently bettled with the Self Checkout at WalMart and even though everything scanned quickly the machine locked up because there was not enough weight on the scale!I just wanted some chips and salsa and some lemonade and this piece of crap sputtered like a wet toaster when faced with the daunting task of letting me purchase some groceries.I would have chosen a human cashier but even at the dinner rush there were only 3 human cashiers for for over 75 people trying to get home with somehting to fix for dinner.

I left my stuff sitting there and exclaimed "I'm going to Reasor's where I can get a human cashier and get out of there in less than 5 minutes,if your time is worth anything to you FOLLOW ME!".

Left by Mad Shopper on Feb 23, 2005 7:57 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I sometimes use a self-checkout at the local Albertson's grocery store. It works pretty well, but I have no idea why it insists that you put everything that you scan into the bag that's on the scale. As you said, if you scanned something, you're surely not trying to steal it, it's on your bill at that point.

I suppose the machine doesn't want you to pick individual items from your basket, scan them, throw them back into the basket, and lose track of what you have scanned at some point - hence the insistence on bagging them (bagging them on the scale, at that).

The other thing with the Albertson's implementation is that when you fill a bag up and remove the whole bag to put it into your cart (so you can start filling up another bag with stuff you bought), the machine implores you to "return the item or press the "remove item" button" (on the display).

I was mightily confused by that, and I eventually asked a cashier, who said that you're supposed to press the "remove item" button when you remove a filled BAG from the scale. A grocery store checkout system calls a BAG an ITEM? It doesn't know the difference between a bag and an item? That's clearly an implementation error.

In fairness to the local Albertson's, they have one full-time cashier who pays attention, and monitors the four self-service checkout lines, and she (they are mostly she) does a great job of pressing buttons like this for you if you don't. Also, if the machine tells you to put your item into the bag, and you loudly tell the machine that you DID put the item into the bag, the attending cashier will press some button on her master console to tell the machine to shut up.

I can't imagine using this system at Home Depot, and buying 4x8 foot sheets of plywood, or bunches of 2x4s or 4x12s. How will those fit into a bag? Our local Home Depot doesn't have this system. I like Lowe's better anyway; they have employees there who actually think their job is to help customers, and in contrast to Home Depot, they seem to enjoy what they do.
Left by David Walker on Mar 26, 2005 11:29 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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The reason these companies ask you to put the item in the bag on the scale rather than just scan is to stop UPC switching "THEFT". Each item in the store is weighted per item. This stops the dishonest person from ticket switching. I want a 200.00 Dewalt drill so I walk over and peel off a 50.00 UPC from of a cordless drill(rigid). The system sees the 50.00 scan but the weight does not match the the cordless because it goes to the Dewalt drill so this is a RED flag for the cashier. I believe the hassels come from the customer as well. If you just ask and learn about the machines and be patient they work fine I have used these machines for years and had ZERO problems GOOD LUCK!!!
Left by Loss Prevention on May 13, 2005 10:32 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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As a Home Depot Cashier, I have to say that although I am not a huge fan of the self checkouts, they do help tremendously when there are rushes since Home Depot never has enough Cashiers to satisfy customer demand. If the Cashiers that staff them know how to monitor them correctly, customers can usually checkout with minimal difficulty. Problem is, most of the time the Cashier running the self checkout is completely oblivious to what is going on anyway (hence the security scale becoming worthless tool and an inconvenience to the customer). I would say half of all problems at self checkout are caused by Cashier incompetence, but customers still create many more problems than they realize.
Left by Taz on Jun 23, 2005 11:44 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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why do people yell at machines? They can’t hear and they don’t have feelings. Take Self-Checkout for example; basically, it is a register the customers can use to check out on their own instead of waiting in line for a cashier. Just because they won’t have to wait in a long line, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get out of the store any faster. Stupid people would fight with those machines for half an hour if there wasn’t someone there to stop them. The people who don’t know how to use self-checkout are the funniest. It’s always the dumb people who just can’t figure it out, but who always go through self-checkout. Are they confused? Did they forget that they were too dumb to use it the last time?
Customers need to realize that some things they just should not attempt to check out on their own, like twelve 2x4s, six 32 gallon totes, ten 80 pound bags of concrete, or a refrigerator. How do they plan to get the fridge across the scanner? There should be an IQ requirement for customers attempting to use self checkouts.
My all time favorite self-checkout moment happened as I was walking by the machines one day and could hear them giving instructions to the customers. “Please place item in the bagging area…item removed from bagging area…unexpected item in bagging area.” There, at the front machine, was a little old lady dressed in her Sunday best, a little flower in her hat that sat on top of her white hair, trying desperately to work the machine. She picked up the bag. She put down the bag. She picked up the bag. She put down the bag. I thought about stopping to offer some help, but it was already too late. She just stood there, feet shoulder width apart, face all contorted, lips in a serious scowl, with her middle finger straight up in front of her face. I couldn’t believe it! She was flipping off the machine! It was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Take that, self-checkout.
Left by Depotana Mama on Jul 27, 2005 7:39 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I don't understand self checkouts at a home depot. I work at Lowe's as a cashier and I could only imagine people trying to check themselves out. Mainly because the idiots would bring up buge pieces of plywood or special orders.

I however use the Fry's grocery store self checkouts religiously. I can't StAND the wal mart ones they lock up ALL the time. I've never had a problem with Fry's
Left by Lowes Rules on Aug 09, 2005 9:23 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I think people yell at the machines because the employee ostensibly tasked with monitoring them is chatting away with someone else. They <i>know</i> the system is flawed, they just aren't particularly motivated to make it work.

I was advised to call their 800-number in Atlanta. The person answering this gave the deer-in-headlights as if she had never heard of these problems. I'm still waiting for someone to call me back.

This lack of concern manifests itself in other areas. For this reason, I'll drive the extra 1.8 miles to buy things at Lowe's.
Left by jim carson on Sep 18, 2005 4:08 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I work at a grocery chain implementing these machines and monitoring usage. There are customers that use these machines religously and others that don't like them what-so-ever. I do not know of any store that is using Fastlanes exclusively. I believe that Kmart tried a store in Michigan with only one regular check out and that did not work out.

The perception that these eliminate jobs is false perception, and NCR does not market the Fastlane as a way to save labor. They market them as a customer convenience only.

The weigh bin is built for both theft and it also helps if a customer mistakenly misses an item scanning.

"The scale monitoring the drop area assumes the article you purchase will fall to the bottom of the bag and rest on the scale. "

This is not true it does not assume that but in most cases it does assume weight. If the item is a light item and not easily detected. It has to be set up not to expect a weight on certain items.


"It would be better to measure the weight including the bag rack."

It does do this the bag racks are attached to the weigh bin.

Left by System Support on Dec 22, 2005 9:18 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I love watching people use self-check out. Most people don't realize you have to scan the barcode on the product. They wave boxes of nails and drills at the machine expecting them to magically scan. I also love when people sit their children on the scale while they are checking out. When you tell them the children are making the machine not work, they get irate. Also is the customer who insists on putting his foot up on the scale. Duh. You have to have the patience of a saint to work at Home Depot.
Left by home depot employee on Jan 15, 2006 8:55 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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i dont think the self checkout is a bad thing all. think about it the customers bitch and wine that the lineups are too long the shelf check out helps get rid of that. but thats all i am going to say about that!!!! so good luck and take care
Left by the seasonal guy on Apr 24, 2006 11:15 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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just a small point I install these things and I found them easy to use and well liked by the customers, the racks bags and contents is weighed by the flintec bag scale not just what drops to the bottom, the bagscale ignores small weights anyway. most problems are caused by not following the instructions or waiting for the next request.
if customers insist on using a small load checkout for large things or massive trolley loads either the signage needs revision or the rap supervisor needs changing either way you cannot blame the hardware for the gormless idiots who misuse it.
if you have large loads you should use a belted fastlane where the goods are weighed on the moving exit belt and then placed on the packing table for bagging.
Left by the engineer on Sep 17, 2006 1:34 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I love the self check-out lines. After reading some of these responses, I've come to realize that these are a reward for being intelligent (both in speed, and potential entertainment value). If you can not figure it out after one or two tries, wait in line with the others. If you do make an attempt and something goes wrong, instead of starting over at two additional machines, try saying "excuse me" to the clerk. Should they be paying attention? Of course, but that doesn't mean you should go mute and tie up three registers. Take some initiative and ask for assistance if you need it. Then you'll know, and knowing is half the battle.
Go Joe!
Left by Tegas on Sep 21, 2006 7:08 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I work at a Home Depot in a small town in Canada that just recently installed self checkouts and have found them to be only as smart as the person who is using them. They aren't meant for flat carts full of lumber, that is why there are full serve cashiers ALSO staffed. But for a city that is full of senior citizens who came to be "served", listening to a computer tell you what to do is beyond frustrating. I think people get MORE frustrated at a self checkout because they have no one to blame. You are just as likely to have problems going through a normal cashier when not being able to find upc's etc. When it boils down to it, customers have a choice to go through the self checkout or be served. It is no reason to throw a fit and (for those of you who are tempted to) yell at the cashier who has absolutely no power over whether or not a store implements a self checkout. The stores that install them aren't unlikely to go out of business (they make MILLIONS) because a couple of irate (and likely stupid) customers throw down their merchandise and waste gas driving to Lowes (or in our case Totem) because they have issues asking for help. I like to think of it in terms of full serve and self serve gas stations. It isn't a fad that is about to go away. I personally would much rather ring people through than observe the stupidity of other people trying to help themself.
Left by Amanda on Sep 29, 2006 9:19 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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Well I'll have to pass all of these comments along to my uncle, seeing as how he's the one that made the self checkouts for Home Depot in Canada. I've never used them simply because I never go to HD. But thank you for all the comments, and I'm sure my uncle will be happy to hear about them, whether they come from impatient complainers or not...
Left by Niece on Jan 19, 2007 6:11 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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i was there in council bluffs home depot. Getting ready to check my self out. was doing well when one of my items didn't have a upc on it. I asked a home depot person to help me { she (cindy name tag said ) TOLD ME SHE DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO FIND THE ITEMS UPC, WHEN I ASKED HER WHAT SHE DID WITH THE COMPANY SHE TOLD ME SHE WAS A CROSS MER. WHAT EVERY THAT MEANT WELL I DIDN'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS SO I LEFT WITH ZERO ITEMS. THANKS TO THIS CINDY I SAVED MORE MONEY AT MENARDS PLEASE TELL HER THANKS FOR BEING MEAN/
Left by donna on Feb 02, 2007 12:51 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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Why do you people even use self check out? It is taking away jobs!

And if you are going to use it. make sure you have barcodes that are clear! If the store is run right, the cashier is supposed to help you BEFORE your machine locks up! The stroe is not doing THEY"R best for you if they do not!!!!
Left by Wizard on May 21, 2007 12:21 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I suppose it's ok to have the self-check as a OPTION. But last time (and it IS the last time) I went into a Home Depot, there were no manned cahsier lanes open. So I had to lug the big can of primer into my cart in the first place, then onto the scanner, then onto the scale/bag area, then back into my cart. The guy behind me was doing the same thing with bags of concrete. Self-check is OK for little stuff, but it should never be the ONLY option at a store that has big heavy stuff. They don't provide the scanner-on-a-string so you can scan the stuff without taking it out of your cart, either. I don't appreciate their lack of common sense when forcing people to check out huge things at the self-check lines. Pain in the tush, and I'm not going to Home Depot any more. I'll go to Lowe's, and if they pull that $^!&, I'll go to my local small hardware store. I may have to pay a couple bucks extra on my order, but I'll get the service that comes with it.

The people that carry on and say that customers have a choice to use the self-checks or not weren't there with me yesterday at the Home Depot. There was NO other option. I should have left it there and headed for Lowe's on the spot.
Left by Kimberly on Aug 05, 2007 9:59 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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To the people calling the customers "idiots":
We went to Home Depot on a busy Saturday, and the only checkout lane available was the self-checkout lane, and there was a long line...Everyone had to use it, including people with large items! (except for contractors). We are never going there again!
Left by Jim on Aug 05, 2007 10:00 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I am a cashier at home depot and i have run the self-checkout several times. Think about this. Would you rather have 1 checkout open or 4? THAT is the reason they have them. Unfortunately, the stores are usually understaffed...so having a self checkout open is the lesser of 2 evils. If you don't want to go through the self checkout and it appears to be the only cash open, there are also the lumber door checkouts, the customer service desk (although this is probably a longer wait than just waiting in the line), or if the returns cashier isn't busy and you ask politely they might put you through there. If all else fails..the cashier at self checkout is supposed to be scanning large items anyway (yes this can be done at a self-checkout). If she's busy (and if it's a busy day she's probably going nuts trying to do at least 4 things at once), have a bit of patience and understanding and everything will be okay. The biggest problem is people being rude, ignorant and obnoxious. Usually that causes way more problems than there needs to be.
Left by cashier on Aug 13, 2007 2:49 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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It sounds like the cashier wasn't doing her job. If someone has something like bulk hardware, the cashier is supposed to punch it in FOR the customer and give it back. Or if they're having trouble with the scales, they're supposed to help the customer (obviously). However, if the cashier is legitimately busy (with other customers etc), have a bit of patience instead of storming over to another checkout...all you do by using 3 different machines is make it slower for everyone else...People spend 3 hours wandering around the store and then somehow expect that when they get to the cash, it's instant....i don't understand where people get this idea.
Left by manda on Aug 13, 2007 3:01 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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re Donna's comment about upc's : There are probably over 10,000 items in the store....sometimes it's just about impossible to find a upc or sku for something...we have to wait for an associate in the department to find it...it's just as frustrating to us as it is to the customer (usually probably moreso) So have some patience! Don't be so arrogant and rude. Cashiers are not all-knowing robots. We don't know everything that goes on in the store at all times although we try. (If the cashier has a bad attitude about it, that's a different issue). Don't be so hasty to just leave if one thing doesn't go through perfectly.
Left by manda on Aug 13, 2007 3:07 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I have used self check out at HomeDepot on a regular basis. Under normal conditions there are no problems. Statistics will indicate there are times when the conditions may not be normal. In my case I was completing a transaction and used my debit card to make the purchase and requested $50.00 extra. At the moment I was reaching for my reciept, I noticed a water filter I brought from home to match up with a new one was spilling dirty water all over the register. In and attempt to prevent damage to the self check out register I picked up the filter and requested a towel from the HomeDepot emloyee who was standing at the monitoring stand. In the middle of all the confusion I failed to locate the change port and retrieve my cash. By the way it is not located near the pin pad nor the receipt dispencer. It's is poorly located back where your items are placed prior to purchase and at about knee level.
I contacted the accounting departement for two reasons. The first reason was to ask for help. As I expected I was responsible for the loss. The second reason was to find out if this happens very often. Apparently this happens quiet often. The final result: Customers will not return and accounting has a problem making the books balance. By the way, I will return and anytime the only option is to use the self check out, I will load my cart to the top and leave it in front of the self check out register. Maybe the people at HomeDepot will get the message. Oh and next time there is a spill, the self check out register will just have to deal with it. Come to think of it I need some muratic acid. I think they sale that in building materials, sure hope I don't have a leak!
Left by Bob on Nov 08, 2007 6:22 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I'm a cashier at Home Depot and frequently run self-checkout, and sure people bitch and complain about it but it's as simple as, if you can't handle it, don't use it. Wait in the line or go to Returns or something. If you can't grasp the concept of scanning something, putting it in the bagging area, and then repeat, don't come to self-checkout. Sure little items might not register on the scale but if you can demonstrate any type of patience, in about 10 seconds the cashier will hit the red button and you're ready to scan again. Not that big of a deal. Also, our self-checkouts just got an upgrade and the screens show animations of everything to do, step-by-step. How hard can it possibly be? For the people who have the mental capacity to successfully check themselves out, it's one of the greatest inventions of our time and I love nothing more than going to a store and seeing a self-checkout. I wish the people who wanna bitch and complain about the self-checkout would just stay away from it and leave it to the people who take advantage of the time and hassle it can save you.
Left by Amanda on Mar 15, 2008 2:36 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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@Amanda: Unless you were the employee who was unable to help me two years ago, you have no standing to comment as you did. Being both an engineer and a programmer for the last 30 years, I fully understand the design, its limitations, and its theft-deterrent capabilities. It failed when I was trying my best to be honest. The employee did as well.

I am aware of the animations on the current systems. My post is over two years old. I would hope the failings of those older systems had been corrected. My point above is more that the theft-deterrent design features broke the useability. There was no weight override for small things and the scale failed to detect the product -- that was the bad design. If Home Depot could not fix something like that in two years, they would deserve to go bankrupt.

Welcome back by the way if you also posted back in 2006...
Left by Mark on Mar 15, 2008 3:25 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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for the people that hate home depot and want to complain you guys have nothing better else to do. as for self check out you must be the dumbest person on earth not to understand it. the reason for the machine to say "place your items in the bagging area" is because it is a scale and it reads everything you put down ----so realize that if the scale can't read small items and u know that then go to a cashier. every one assume that they don't steal or ever has stolen "yeah right" and the peoplt that want to complain about home depot are those that have worked there and got fired so deal with it and act like people instead of jack### that's what i got to say
Left by tmm on Mar 21, 2008 10:01 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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To those claiming the self-check out takes away jobs. Let me ask you this. Do you happen to use the ATM machine when you need money in a hurry because you too my friend are taking away jobs by doing so. Back in the day, you used to have to wait in line at the back to deposit or withdraw money, thankfully for us 30 years ago next year a fine gentleman invented the ATM and saved people time and hassle. The same thing will be said in the future for self check-out stations and even self check-in kiosks at hotels. Its only a matter of time until people adopt such technology. Right now the boomer generation just complains because they missed out on the whole technological advances and/or are slow to adapt to such changes. You wait and see. Our lives will run on computers in the future and thats not such a bad thing.
Left by dan on Apr 21, 2008 11:01 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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Well...i read one of the comments saying that most of the problems at SCO are caused by Cashier incompetence...well..that is kind of a lie. Truly, 80% of the time the problems are caused by customers, and the other 15% by the actualy machine..and the left 5% perhaps by a lazy careless cashier.
However, today in fact I got a customer who didn't know how to use his credit card yelling at me: HEY I DON'T HAVE A PIN PAD! - when the machine asked him to use the pin pad to complete his transaction (I was laughing in my inisdes, how dumb of him) Or customers complaining about : why is it charging me 2 more dollars? Well..because you didn't hit the "finish and pay" button therefore your previous total did not include taxes... or people with kids who sit on the scales causing the machine to say " unexpected item in bagging area"....Etc. One is there to help customers indeed, however it is a SELF CHECKOUT and if you know how to use it go ahead and roll, if not then kindly asked the cashier to help, I am always glad to hear a respectful customer ask for help...It irritates me when someone yells at me 4 meters aways : HEY! or PTSSS ! ... an "Excuse Me" would make me happy to help.
Left by HD Cashier on Jun 20, 2008 12:05 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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Ok....so... i agree with the above person that the problems at self checkout (SCO) are mainly customer related. If you people would follow instructions and listen there would not be a problem at all. When it says put item in the bagging area PUT IT IN THE BAGGING AREA don't hold it in your hand, don't put it in your buggy and don't try to scan the item multiple times if you have more than one and stare at the machine helplessly hoping that it will magically allow you to continue. Next don't go to it with a cart full of large things. FYI look as you shop for a barcode on the item to scan. Also when you use the SCO don't go to another SCO or cashier after you have begun scanning...that creates backups and unnecessary problems to hold other people up. And learn that they don't care when you say that you are going to lowes...THEY DON'T CARE... its the yo-yo effect you will get mad there and come right back to HD if you want to waste your gas when you could have just had some patience and got your things you wouldn't be having to buy an extra tank driving from home improvement store to home improvement store. There is nothing worse than a customer getting mad at people in the store for what they(the customer) are causing it has nothing to do with the store and did you people know that at any given time HD has atleast 5 STAFFED REGISTERS OPEN not including SCO and between 8 and 5 mon.-fri. they have atleast 7 STAFFED REGISTERS OPEN that is 11 with self checkout...before you go off in your incompetent rage you need to get the facts straight and pay attention and don't be so quick to judge HD IS THE RIGHT CHOICE
Left by Bob HAPPY HD CUSTOMER on Jul 22, 2008 12:15 AM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I love self checkout when I have only a few things to buy. Everyone says they take jobs, but from what I see Americans are lazy and don't want to work. I used to work for Home Depot and a lot of ignorant hillbillies would say "That machine takes away jobs". Well to them I say this "First of all, you should not drink and drive, but onto the subject at hand: The self Checkout does not call off, the self check out does not quit, and the self checkout gives accurate change 100 percent of the time". I also have seen people let their children use the self checkout because children think it is fun. So maybe they should put a disclaimer on it: "If you have the intelligence of a 7 year old or earlier, then you are not qualified to use this". Some people just don't have learning capacity and that is ok. As long as you have your beer and flannel shirts you don't need learning capacity. I am not here to judge.
Left by Will on Sep 14, 2008 5:44 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I'm not gonna lie, I agree and disagree with many of the above statements. Different Home Depots run their stores a lot differently. I used to be a cashier: am now at the Service Desk. I used to absolutely love to work the Self Check Out. And when I am personally shopping- whether it be at HD, WalMart, Fred Meyer, or any of store, if there is a SCO available I definitely use it! At my store, we do not have the luxury of always having 5+ cashiers, not including SCO, available at all times. My store, at 6am has reg 1 open- this is the contractor checkout but ANYONE CAN USE IT! This register stays open 6am-2pm for customers and is always open!! There is a HUGE sign above the register infact that says if this register (or reg #2) is not open between these hours your WHOLE order is FREE! okay so there is ALWAYS at least one register open between this time frame. There is no need to have another register open on weekdays until 9am- because it costs money to have cashiers working- and CUSTOMERS are not buying enough product during this time (unless it be contractors) to have another register open. The SCO still has a cashier there at ALL times! It can never be left unattended. It has many security features there for many reasons. The weight scale is for your protection only- if you are an honest customer. Honestly its just like cashiers being REQUIRED to ask for ID when you pay with a credit card. If we were not required to ask and your card was stolen, you wouldn't be too happy when someone used it and racked up thousands of dollars in merchandise. By checking ID we can prevent this from happening- and it does happen a lot might I add. By going through SCO the scale weighs every single item. If you follow the directions you will succeed. Anyone can do this. If you are blind- it gives verbal instructions, if you are def- it gives you visual instructions. Might I add, CORPORATE is the one who decided how much an item weights. Before an item is allowed to be sold at HD (new product) it is weighted by them then comes to the store. So when items are setting off the bagging alert for improper weight- its CORPORATES fault not the cashiers fault.
Left by HD Service Desk Employee on Sep 15, 2008 6:37 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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Boy, I just love reading these comments, especially those sarcastic ones from home Depot employees. I am a mom of two, for the past 2 years renovating our home. Because of location convenience, I am at Home Depot almost daily... sometimes multiple times daily. I have been in the store early in the morning, late at night and all points in between. I have probably spent over $10k in this store over the last two years. I finally reached my boiling point last week, when I was again at Home Depot, purchasing a gallon of paint, screen spline, and screen. There were no human cashiers available, so I used the self checkout against my better judgement. I waited at the paint counter for 15 minutes and finally had to seek out someone to help. I did find that someone, At the other end of the store, along with about 8 other employees, hanging out talking. I don't know maybe it was some kind of a staff meeting regarding football pools.

Needless to say, three of the items I was purchasing had bar codes, but would not scan.Two were eventually scanned by the supervising cashier. One item, an exhaust fan cover, would not scan even after the human cashier came to help. I had to purchase my things, step aside and wait 20 minutes for the cashier to get someone in tht department to bring another of the same item to the register. 20 minutes!

The previous week, the same thing happened with other small items, previous to that, I again had the same problem with the self checkout refusing to read the bar code, nd please don't insult me by implying that I don't know how to use them. I use them elsewhere and don't seem to run into these issues quite so frequently. So to save myself the frustration, I will shop at Lowes or True Value. But not Home Depot. And a word to those who profess to be Home Depot employees, do you really think its a wise thing to insult your customer base? As you spew your comments, remember it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work t Home Depot. In fact, until very recently, Home Depot was one of the few companies in this country to regularly hire released felons. That said, the bar for hiring expectations doesn't get much lower.

Left by fed up on Dec 10, 2008 12:36 PM

# re: Lowes Self-checkout Fails again
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today, Jan 15, 2009 I shopped at the Lowe's in Vacaville. My purchases were simple being one box of trash bags and one box of trash compactor bags. Both were clearly marked with bar codes and the machine had no trouble reading them and retrieving the right price. Where it all went wrong was when I put the first item in the bag in the bagging area. The machine stopped working and told me to ask the attendance for assistance. I tried not putting the item in the bagging area and got the same result. I finally gave up in frustration and moved to a different machine. It did the same thing. This time the attendant noticed that I was growing agitated and came and used her special card to assist the machine in checking me out. She did NOTHING to explain and probably does not know why the machine would not complete my transaction.

I can understand the argument about the need to weigh items because dishonest people swap bar codes, but a sealed container of trash bags for $11 - come on give me a break. Who would risk arrest, embarassment and possibly imprisonment for an amount that small. Until the stores give their customers some credit for being honest, these machines will continue to irritate and drive away their customers.

I find it intesting that no one from the automated checkout industry bothers to reply to these rants with their side of the story. And, I having complained one time before the Lowes about these machines, know that no one in the managment chain gives a darn about the shopping experience of their customers.
Left by VernonLS on Jan 15, 2009 4:24 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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People the sco system is not hard to use. COMMON SENSE please pay attention. Sco is an option you are not forced to use it there is alway at least one regular cashier open. Cashiers hours do not get decreased there is no less there than if it doesnt have sco. If there is no cashier or attendant at sco dont go there cause if theres a problem your stuck unless you want to steal it. If you know your item weighs less than 5 ounces dont use it likewise if you have 4x8 sheets of p[lywood etc. If you have a whole cart FULL of items dont use it! If your items have no barcode dont use it. If you have a partially drunk pop dont use it its not going to be the full weight.
IF you have 15-20 items or less or more if you are experienced.
1. Hit you language
2. scan your items ALL INDIVIDUALLY by the barcode even if its the same thing and do each one DONOT PUT YOUR PURSE w/wallet etc (if you dont scan it dont put it down there) down on the scale which by the way is the bagging area not just the bag
3.After you scan one item put the ONE item you scanned in the bagging area then do the next one ,again EVEN if its the saame, do EACH one
4. Hit total or finish etc select payment type. If you can read you can choose. The machine tell youband shows you onscreen exactly where to put whatever payment you use
5.AFTER transaction is complete it tells you to remove items so remove them before leaving or starting a new transaction is you have 2 or more orders.

Duh its really simple idiots
Left by Brian on Apr 12, 2009 8:58 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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People the sco system is not hard to use. COMMON SENSE please pay attention. Sco is an option you are not forced to use it there is alway at least one regular cashier open. Cashiers hours do not get decreased there is no less there than if it doesnt have sco. If there is no cashier or attendant at sco dont go there cause if theres a problem your stuck unless you want to steal it. If you know your item weighs less than 5 ounces dont use it likewise if you have 4x8 sheets of p[lywood etc. If you have a whole cart FULL of items dont use it! If your items have no barcode dont use it. If you have a partially drunk pop dont use it its not going to be the full weight.
IF you have 15-20 items or less or more if you are experienced.
1. Hit you language
2. scan your items ALL INDIVIDUALLY by the barcode even if its the same thing and do each one DONOT PUT YOUR PURSE w/wallet etc (if you dont scan it dont put it down there) down on the scale which by the way is the bagging area not just the bag
3.After you scan one item put the ONE item you scanned in the bagging area then do the next one ,again EVEN if its the saame, do EACH one
4. Hit total or finish etc select payment type. If you can read you can choose. The machine tell youband shows you onscreen exactly where to put whatever payment you use
5.AFTER transaction is complete it tells you to remove items so remove them before leaving or starting a new transaction is you have 2 or more orders.

Again morons, sco DOES NOT taske ojobs or replace traditional cashiers. I have to say this every day, in fifty years maybe it will ill be dead who cares. No cashier hourts have ever been replacedf because of these machines . These only provide an option and help with overflow traffic If the line are too long and you only have few items. THE SELF CHECKOUTS (sco's) DO NOT TAKE JOBS TO AVOID USING SCO"S BECAUSE OF THIS IS STUPID AND YOU ARE IDIOTS. SCO is not without its flaws but very rarely is it the actual fault of the machine somewhere around 5%. QUIT BEING RUDE MORONS.

Duh its really simple idiots. I dont work at lowes, home depot, walmart , or cub foods few of the many stores that have scos The registers are never alone without a person it against policy if you cant see them they arent far away they might be cleaning or something two feet away. People call in sick sometimes barcodes are smudged and wont scan. Go to PBC/lumber register, service desk, garden registers. Cashiers see the most customers out of everyone in the store if you have a complaint be nice dont take it out on them.
Left by Brian on Apr 12, 2009 9:02 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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You guys are going to love this. I am a cashier at Lowe's and originally enjoyed my job until we installed the self checkouts, or what I call the Kill Yourself Checkouts. We used to have at a minimum of two regular checkout lanes open at a time not counting the ones in lumber or the garden center. Not to mention I enjoy contact with customers. Now that I work at the self checkout, our store does its best to have no other lanes open ever. So I am in charge of the 4 self checkout lanes and also my register beside the control station that was initially installed to process checks or special orders. Thanks to management and my lovely head cashiers, now everyone lines up so I can personally check them out on my register, while at the same time I am magically suppose to maintain the 4 self checkout lanes. Not to mention, I don't even have a counter to put stuff on. To add insult to injury, hardly anyone successfully deactivates their security tags on the merchandise, so the store alarm is constantly going off. If anyone has heard of the research psychologist Pavlov and his work with classical conditioning by electrocuting dogs, this is sort of how I feel about the store alarm and punishment. Normally a head cashier would be standing by the door, to turn off the alarm and than give me a dirty look for somehow not deactivating the security tag, but they are off sitting at the customer service desk chatting away. So when people come up to me and ask if there are any normal lanes open, I tell them they can go to the service desk. And they tell me that the girls at the service desk told them that I would check them out. Add this to all of the customers who simply can not follow directions ever. And who do the customer blame...me. They yell at me, and disrespect me, and all I am trying to do is my dob, which is impossible. When telling management that 1 human cannot be expected to run 5 checkout lanes, they replied with " not everyone enjoys their job." Yes, this may be an isolated case, but every time I go into work, I daydream of suicide.
Left by Meow Meow kitty on Apr 21, 2009 7:23 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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@fed up...

Actually you're wrong, until recently (thanks to a few bleeding heart whiner groups and a court order) Home Depot was one of the rare companies that DIDN'T hire released felons.

To address a few points you make...

You're a mother of 2?
Big deal! We have many parents that come into the store, why are you so special?

You finally found help at the other end of the store and no other employees anywhere in the store...and they were "I don't know maybe it was some kind of a staff meeting regarding football pools."
Very doubtful, possibly they saw you and was warning each other that the bad attitude was back.

As for your comment about waiting 20 minutes for the cashier to go and get someone to find the same item with a barcode?
That is a pure lie. Fact is, the cashiers on duty at the self checkout are not allowed to leave them or the exit door unattended. The cashiers have the ability to look up any item in the store right there at the computers they are monitoring and it doesn't take them 20 minutes to do it.

You spent $10K over 2 years redoing your house?
We have people that come in and spend $10K in 2 minutes. Your self-important crowing isn't impressive.

To address your nasty and rude comments about the intelligence of the employees?
You seem to be the type of person who got an associates degree in, Oh, I don't know, something so useful like English or Art History and think you're one of the Mensa members because of it, and that gives you the right to insult others in jobs you think are below you. I'd be willing to be my salary that you applied to work at HD at didn't get hired so you're just spewing nasty comments to make yourself feel better.


It may not take a rocket scientist to work at Home Depot, but, it does that a lot of acting ability to be friendly to rude and obnoxious people like you on a regular basis.
Left by cashier 2 on Jun 28, 2009 10:32 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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Say you have a PC with fantastic hardware installed. Now lets load up on that fantastic PC an extremely buggy version of windows. Now you say your PC is garbage and want to get rid of it. Is it the hardware's fault it can no longer function as intended? No. It's shoddy software. Now let's apply this thinking to the self checkouts. Each company who purchases these lanes get to load their own set of software on them. I bet you if you look at the self checkout manufacturer they are one in the same. It's not the self checkouts fault for buggy software. Look to the store for fault in that.
Left by HDGuy on Jul 30, 2009 3:18 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I am a cashier at home depot and almost always work at the self checkout. 99% of the time when the machine fails it is customer error. Please don't ever move to another machine as this makes it so another customer cannot use the machine. There is a reason why there is a cashier at self checkout, to HELP! All you have to do is wait for them for one second for them to clear the item. Oh but wait when they are fixing it for you you are probably yelling and becoming so impatient that you start to pick the items off the scale or maybe even putting your foot on it to add weight which confuses the machine and makes a huge ordeal which now has taken 30 seconds to fix instead of 1!!! Thank you for going to lowes.
Left by Cashier on May 16, 2010 1:48 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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I am currently working as a Home Depot cashier, and I have worked at the self-checkout station,and I can say, from experience, that most of the time, it is the customers who do not know how to use the machines. Obviously, in your case with the washers, the cashier should have overridden the lockup that the machine had, so that was in fact, the cashiers fault. However, I do have some comments about some of the other things that you said. The weight system is there to check that what you have scanned is actually what you said you scanned. Yes, you might say that you're not stealing the item because you scanned it; however, you may have switched packaging or barcodes and scanned a cheaper item in place of a more expensive one. This is what the machines are meant to do with the weight system. Weigh the item and make sure that you're not scanning one item and dropping another in your bag.

Secondly, you do not have to place your items in the bag, you can directly place them on the scale. But if you do want them in the bag, then open the bag completely before you put the item in. Don't half open the bag and then get angry that the machine is doing what it's supposed to do.

Thirdly, you do not have to keep going from machine to machine. Obviously, this part was the cashiers fault for not paying attention to her front computer, but you can ask the cashier to override the system (as long as it's the machines fault and you're not stealing something) and unlock it instead of having to lock up three different machines. But then, you might say that it's not your job to tell the cashier how to do her job and that she should know how to do her job without anyone telling her. Well, might I say that if you had just asked her, you would not have had to face this frustrating situation and dropped your items and leave the store. Just because you're a customer, doesn't mean that you can be a prick. Learn how the machines work and what they are intended to do, and open your mouth once in a while and ask for help.

However, I will say that sometimes the machines do get frustrating as their scales get woncky and off centered...however, most of the time, it is due to customers not knowing what to do themselves.
Left by HomeDepotCashier on Oct 16, 2010 5:49 PM

# re: Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
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Wow it's truly annoying how many self checkout fangirls there are on this article. Self checkouts are evil.
They are put in place to replace human labor. Despite what one of the posters claim - home depot and others can "afford" to have full time cashiers, but they CHOOSE to not because they want more profit - and no other reason.

They are also insulting, because they are asking me to do the work of a cashier for NO PAY.
And I sense the annoyance of all the self checkout attendants complaining about stupid customers, but the customers have a right to be stupid since checking out is not our job.
YOU are supposed to be paid to check us out, and the retailers are putting all this extra work and stress on both workers and customers for no good reason other than excessive greed.
They better be careful because some new Luddites might just rise up a break these stupid anti human machines.
Left by DK on Nov 07, 2010 8:57 PM

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