Shopping Discussion

Self check out @ Costco... Not a self check out?

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  • Jul 14th, 2021 9:43 pm
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Jan 27, 2004
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Self check out @ Costco... Not a self check out?

Whenever I go to the self check out @ costco, there is always an attendant @ each self check out kiosk checking people out. Like a regular cashier but without a conveyor belt.
Today there was one kiosk that was unattended... And the attendent just shut it down, it said "CLOSED" on the screen.

Whats the point of self check out if its not really self check out? It seems more like conveyor belt free check out stations.
40 replies
Deal Addict
Mar 13, 2012
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Calgary
They do that at my local Costco only during peak times, helps get people through faster. Other times its wide open for you to work the machine yourself though.
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Jun 17, 2013
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Scarborough
I only visit during off hours but I've never seen them man each self-checkout like that. There's someone around if you need help, otherwise you just do it yourself.
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Deal Addict
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Aug 13, 2004
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The two Costco locations I go to in Edmonton - the self checkouts are always staffed. At least they have been for the past 6 or 8 months
Deal Addict
Mar 3, 2018
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GTA
Could be a temporary covid procedure. With the attendant checking you out at self service there is no need to repeatedly clean the area after each customer like the dollar store self service does. Speeds things up.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
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Eastern Ontario
DaveTheDude wrote: Could be a temporary covid procedure. With the attendant checking you out at self service there is no need to repeatedly clean the area after each customer like the dollar store self service does. Speeds things up.
This

It’s strictly a Covid precautionary measure.

The guy / gal at the head of the line tend to choose / direct folks with fewer items to Attendants / Cashiers currently working in the self check out area. And they don’t even empty the cart ... they just scan everything with the scanner gun. So anticipating this, we try to make sure all our barcodes are top side ... easily visible / accessible.

Honestly I am liking this service, vs how it would be normally ... as I get out thru the Check Outs faster ... and it’s truly low or zero contact.
Deal Addict
Mar 3, 2018
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GTA
Agree and with capacity limited to 25% in Ontario they want to get people out as fast as possible. You don't want some guy like me constantly getting checkout errors.
Sr. Member
Sep 24, 2004
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Scarborough
I've been told by the supervisor at my Costco, that the staff are there to speed up the process. If you have to remove every single item and place it outside and then at the end reload it back, it holds up the line. So once the staff is done scanning, they move on to the next checkout while you pay and take the receipt.

In fact if I have bulky items, I refuse to go the self-checkout, and the supervisor told me there's staff to assist and I won't have to remove the tiems from the cart.
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Feb 4, 2010
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DaveTheDude wrote: Could be a temporary covid procedure. With the attendant checking you out at self service there is no need to repeatedly clean the area after each customer like the dollar store self service does. Speeds things up.
I don't think that's it. I've used self-check out during this time with no issue. I'm pretty sure at the location I go, they don't wipe down the station after each customer even though there's usually 2-3 attendants. With me, they only scan large items - everything else I scan.
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Jan 19, 2007
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Torontario
...sidebar:
Costco purposefully limits the idea of self-checkout... the same way their online shopping experience is.
No bar-code guns, clunky software, and each item needs to be out on the tray
Deal Addict
Feb 19, 2017
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Vancouver
It’s really more like express checkout where you don’t take anything out of your cart. They scan everything quickly so the process is faster than other lanes.
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Sep 19, 2002
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Costco doesn't sell anything cheap. More importantly, 2/3 of its net income comes from memberships.

A single missed scan, inadvertent or otherwise, costs Costco a lot of money. That's the main reason why they'll never let you scan.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
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Spinner wrote: Costco doesn't sell anything cheap. More importantly, 2/3 of its net income comes from memberships.

A single missed scan, inadvertent or otherwise, costs Costco a lot of money. That's the main reason why they'll never let you scan.
For the record ...

They let Members scan things themselves at self check out under non Covid conditions
It’s just since Covid there’s been this big change

Now if you are talking about big bulky items ... and being able to use the portable scanner gun as a Customer

No ... that’s not allowed. Those are manned by the Cashier / Attendant on duty

So as the Customer ... you have to call then over to do those scans.

The non self serve method that Costco employs currently is strictly to improve speed of check out in the stores, cut down on contacted surfaces, and the need to clean.

As someone else said during Covid, stores have reduced Customer capacity numbers dictated by Public Health ... so it’s in the stores interest to keep Customers moving thru the store quickly ... so there are less folks lined up outside in the weather.

Better to have then happy, waiting short turn arounds and in the store spending money ... than getting frustrated and leaving / going elsewhere to shop

Costco is ACUTELY AWARE of this
Deal Expert
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Mar 6, 2003
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This has been going on since the beginning of covid. I usually go Sunday mornings.

I love this. We don't usually have that much to buy and they always encourage us to go those lanes, and we're in and out really quickly because they are very efficient. You stand aside and no placing items on the counter. With actual self-checkout, Joe Shmoe doing the self checkout is much slower
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Deal Guru
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Oct 23, 2008
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GTA, ON
I also found since the start of the pandemic that this has been the preferred way at Costco. I used to self checkout myself pre-pandemic, but since this started, employees tend to scan everything for me with the handheld and work the machine screen. I don't mind, they're fast...
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Moderator
May 28, 2012
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Saskatoon
I go through self checkout because it's usually less of a lineup. There's always an attendant that zaps your items these days...I didn't mind doing it myself but I can see why they do it this way (during covid times). Just an fyi, if you have those executive members coupons, they process the order but will forward you to the supervisor's (?) station for payment. I'm talking about the ones you have to clip out and hand over to the cashier not the specials in the booklet which are an automatic rebate on the receipt.
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2013
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Yup, the self checkout is more of a hybrid type system. If it's not too busy, the attendant will scan the card and items and from that point on it becomes self checkout :)
Jr. Member
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Jan 29, 2017
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Mississauga, ON
At my Costco, the attendants just stand there unless you request assistance. I still have to unload all my stuff, scan it and make sure it makes it to the loading area, and only once I'm paid up can I reload it into my bags. What I don't understand is why they don't allow us to load our purchases into our bags right after it's scanned like Walmart does. It would really cut down on time.
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Oct 23, 2008
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Angellz wrote: At my Costco, the attendants just stand there unless you request assistance. I still have to unload all my stuff, scan it and make sure it makes it to the loading area, and only once I'm paid up can I reload it into my bags. What I don't understand is why they don't allow us to load our purchases into our bags right after it's scanned like Walmart does. It would really cut down on time.
Surprised they even allow you to pack it up. The attendant at the exit usually wants to visually see your purchases when they review your receipt for retail shrink before letting you exit the warehouse.
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Jul 20, 2017
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From what I have seen MOST are semi self check out where you scan everything yourself besides large items that the employee will help scan with the scan tool. I don't know why they don't have the scan tool for customers to use like Walmart.

But recently, I saw Burlington open up a self check out section, but it had plexiglass at each one and an employee at each one and using it basically just like a regular check out? I really don't understand it.

For a company that tries to simplify everything, I am shocked they don't have more self-checkouts and actually make it more convenient without employees' help.
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