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Aldi Shopper's Call to Maintain Staffed Checkouts Amid Self-Service Push

As major retailers like Aldi increasingly turn to self-service checkouts, customers are concerned about staffed checkout diminishing completely.
Cover Image Source: A general view of ALDI supermarket | Getty Images | Photo by John Keeble
Cover Image Source: A general view of ALDI supermarket | Getty Images | Photo by John Keeble

In an era where automation is swiftly becoming the norm in retail spaces, one shopper's plea resonates with the sentiments of many who value the human touch in their shopping experience. As major retailers like Aldi increasingly turn to self-service checkouts to streamline operations and enhance efficiency, concerns about the potential loss of staffed checkouts are coming up.

The Aldi logo is displayed above the door to a branch of the supermarket retailer | Getty Images | Photo by Matt Cardy
Image Source: The Aldi logo | Getty Images | Photo by Matt Cardy

The rise of self-service checkouts is a response to various challenges faced by retailers, ranging from long queues to theft prevention. However, as these automated systems become more prevalent, some customers are expressing their opinions. One Aldi customer took to social media to voice her concerns, urging the company not to fully transition to self-checkouts.

She praised the efficiency and expertise of the company's staff, emphasizing that their presence enhances the shopping experience for many customers.

"@AldiUSA Please do not go to all self-checkout," the customer wrote on X. "Your people are so fast and well-trained; it was a pleasure to use your stores."


Beyond efficiency, the shopper highlighted an essential aspect often overlooked in the push for automation—accessibility. For individuals with visual impairments or other disabilities, navigating self-checkout systems can be challenging and sometimes embarrassing. Therefore, by maintaining staffed checkouts, retailers can ensure inclusivity and accommodate the diverse needs of their customer base.

"I don't see well so it's embarrassing to decline being pushed into the self-checkout," the customer added. "Let your managers know to not pressure people!!"

Customers use self-service check-out shopping carts at a supermarket | Getty Images | Photo by VCG
Image Source: Customers use self-service check-out shopping carts at a supermarket | Getty Images | Photo by VCG

While Aldi has not confirmed any plans to eliminate staffed checkouts, recent developments suggest a growing inclination toward automation. The installation of automated self-checkout systems in select stores marks a significant step towards a more technologically driven retail environment.

These systems, equipped with advanced sensors and cameras, offer convenience but raise concerns about accessibility and human interaction.

"I think many companies believe they've saved their money with self-checkout, but it’s going to vary by store. And the stores that have tried to go all the way, I think they've realized that it’s not a good idea," Ron Larson, a visiting associate professor of economics at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa said. "The key is to give people an option."

Image Source: Tom Werner/Getty Images
Image Source: Photo by Tom Werner | Getty Images

Responding to the shopper's plea, Aldi reassured customers that they should not feel pressured to use self-checkouts and affirmed the availability of staffed alternatives.

The shopper's plea echoes similar sentiments expressed by patrons of other retailers, such as Walmart, where recent changes to self-checkouts have sparked both praise and criticism. While some customers appreciate the elimination of self-checkouts in favor of staffed lanes, others lament the persistence of long queues and call for additional cashier availability.


Furthermore, self-checkout kiosks also contribute to shrinkage, a term used in the industry to describe missing inventory resulting from theft, damaged goods, administrative errors, and other related factors.

A study by Adrian Beck, University of Leicester emeritus professor, and ECR Retail Loss Group academic adviser, revealed that stores with an average number of self-checkout machines faced 31% higher shrinkage losses than the industry norm.

"Retail businesses, and their partners, need to rebalance their assessments of the benefits that can accrue from investing in (self-checkout-related) technologies," the report reads.