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.