Grocery store self checkouts are popping up in many food store chains around Canada in hopes of saving the company money and getting the consumer in and out of the store as efficiently as possible. Another one of those grocery store ideas gone mad and now many others are thinking it’s a smart way to save time and money.
I can see it now, the new grocery store name of the future, “Self Scan and Save“, but are we really that far ahead of the rest? It’s not only grocery stores needing “fewer employees” to run cash registers it’s also big box stores such as Home Depot and Wal-mart to name a couple. Pretty soon you might not be asking, “what grocery stores have self checkouts” as they might all have them down the road as their popularity increases.
Although a couple of years old, a survey conducted in 2011 by Empathica Inc. who specializes in customer experience management solutions across Canada and the USA. The survey of 16000 consumers asking about expectations being met at the grocery store turned up that many shoppers love self checkouts. The information below was shared at the progressive grocer website where you can read more about the survey.
When evaluating grocery technologies, 65 percent of U.S. consumers considered self checkouts important, compared to only 54 percent of Canadian consumers. In fact, more than half of Canadians said self checkouts were “not applicable” in their grocery experience, indicating that not all Canadian grocers have this option available in stores.
It’s obvious but no surprise that technology is very important to consumers and they want to shop at grocery stores that offer these perks to consumers. I think that self scanners are more visible in Canadian stores now rather than back in 2011 although I don’t know how the survey results would differ today.
What grocery shopping experiences do you value?
Self Checkout UK
Also known as self-serve checkout or self-service checkouts these services have been around for at least 8 years in the UK grocery store chains. I remember my wife being enthused when we went to Tesco’s for groceries and I used the self scanner as she had never seen them before. No different that the credit card with the chip another thing that was new to her because it simply was not yet available in Canada. I find we are behind with the times in Canada with everything from food to fashion and much more, but hey, I’m biased.
I’ve used the grocery store checkout for many years as it was a quicker way to get my grocery shopping done but things have changed over the years. In its infancy it was simple and although they had a computer where someone would watch over the checkouts rarely did I ever see someone standing there like we do today.
Self checkout software has also improved significantly since I started to use the grocery store checkouts. I remember most shops back home you would use the touch screen to touch what the product was so for example, apples and a screen with all the apples and price per pound would pop up and you just touch which product you had. The simplicity of this system led to self checkout theft. What would happen is people would buy the most expensive apples yet say they bought the cheapest apples.
Today we find one cashier will stand at a desk and watch a computer screen so he/she knows exactly what the customers are scanning in. You now have to manually type in codes found on fruits and vegetables which is different but I presume deters people from trying to get products for less money. They also have cameras that look over the self scanners in many store to make sure customers aren’t cheating the system.
Pros and Cons of Self Checkouts
One pro that I see consistently is the amount of space you have when checking out in ‘some’ not all Canadian stores. It’s great for those with disabilities, in a scooter or wheel chair that want to have that independence and space when checking out their groceries. You can take your time but as far as I’m concerned when it’s your time, it’s your time.
If you have kids with you while grocery shopping it’s also nicer to have the room for a baby stroller and for kids to move around. You also don’t have to worry, (yet) in most stores about chocolate bars, pop, chips, magazines in your face to entice you or the kiddies to ‘last-minute’ purchase while at the checkout sending your grocery budget out of whack.
Packing your groceries is made easier for some who want to pack them on their own like I do. I may be a bit more critical about what I pack with what products as I don’t want to have damaged products by the time I get home. When we shop at stores that don’t have self checkout I pack my own groceries in boxes or bags if that convenience is not already built into the price of the products with an employee dedicated to bagging orders like some stores still have. Another plus on the self checkout for those that struggle with packing their own groceries but it may cost them paying a premium for higher priced products.
We are seeing more stores with self checkouts because that means they can have less employees while getting more bang for their buck with new technology. Sounds great, but does it really save you, the consumer time. I’ve found it does and it doesn’t depending on what you are purchasing. I believe there are pros and cons to everything in life and self checkout are no exception. I’m sure on a personal level we can all come up with our own reasons why we like or dislike self checkouts simply from personal experience.
Coupons and Price Matching
We also find that when we have to rely on the cashier to come and manually put in our discounts from reduced items it takes longer and not worth our time to use a self checkout. If you plan to use coupons and price matching at a self checkout be prepared for an even longer wait depending on what time of day you shop. The good part is you don’t have to worry so much about the person having a fit behind you in the grocery lane for using coupons, although I rarely worry, because it’s MY TIME.
Some self checkouts allow us to put our coupons in and others the cashier still has to do it so there’s no real control over what gets entered. One pro about the self checkout is the cashier normally can manually override coupon usage but at a cash if your cashier doesn’t have that ability they have to call over a supervisor hen the total goes over a certain amount. At Zehrs it’s $10 where we shop and at Wal-Mart it’s a $50 coupon usage limit and once you hit that limit the cashier needs an override. More time wasted.
Either way you can still watch your order whether at a self checkout or while using the full-service cashier. From our experience most times we will go to a regular cashier. We would rather go to a cashier that can ring us through and give us his/her undivided attention especially if we have to have our coupons and price matches looked over either way.
There’s nothing worse than having to wait in a grocery store. Everyone just stands around and people watches, looks at the time, taps their feet, stares you down, looks in your cart and some make friends and score a date with a single shopper. It’s no wonder some people hate to grocery shop unless your single of course and want to find that foodie lover in a grocery store.
There may be less injury opportunity for a cashier working at self checkout. At self checkouts keep in mind you only have 1 cashier tending to upwards of 8 or more anxious consumers at any given time. It’s not any less hazardous but the repetitive nature may be eliminated. Most self checkout cashiers may just look over the process and assist unlike a regular cashier whose work is repetitive and not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination.
Any time someone has to repeat the same actions over and over there is potential for injury. Workplace accidents happen every single day but with proper safety training and standards from both the employer and the employee this doesn’t have to happen. Certainly a huge plus for the store because compensation ratings can go through the roof the more claims they have especially if it’s a “lost time injury”. Think, Safety First.
Using A Self-Checkout Checkout
If we have a regular shop, meaning no discounted or pink sticker items it’s not so bad getting through the self checkout. If we run into a problem when we scan items we have to wait until it’s our turn to get assistance from the on duty cashier. This can take quite a long time if there are lots of self scanners that are having problems.
How many of you that used a self scanner for the first time knew what you were doing? Learning to use a self scanner seems basic but some people really do struggle with them which backs up traffic.
The Future Of Checkouts
I don’t think cashiers will be obsolete but they will be far less needed as the years go on and self checkouts take over. We will always have those people who enjoy the chat with their favourite cashier every week, who enjoy getting their products bagged or simply getting more bang for their buck at shops like No Frills, Food Basics and Freshco that don’t have self checkouts but reasonably lower prices on most of their products.
Any good consumer knows you will potentially pay higher prices for all the “conveniences” of the shops that include grocery store self checkouts and grocery baggers but for some, these conveniences are worth every penny.
June Grocery Game Recap
This is the start of the June Grocery Game Challenge which means we are almost half way through the year. In July I plan to do a 6 month grocery budget recap to see just where we stand with our budget and if we need to make any improvements.
If you missed grocery game posts for this month just click on the links below and post your shops in the comment section. Each week I will add the previous weeks Grocery Game Post here.
Grocery Saving Tips
Free Money Saving Downloads just for YOU!!! Get organized with a freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more!!! Click, Save and Print.. It’s that easy~ Also look back on previous grocery game posts for loads of grocery shopping tips and information.
- Let Your Coupons Expire And Save Money
- Knowing Your Prices Is The Key To Saving Money In The Grocery Budget
- Product Price Adjustments Don’t Miss The Savings
- Scanning Code of Practice In Canada (SCOP)
- How To Start Saving Money On Groceries In Canada?
- How Much Should My Grocery Budget Be?
- Top Ten Ways To Cut Your Grocery Budget
- Meal Planning For The Budget
- The Grocery Game Challenge and Our Grocery Budget
- Grocery Budget Saving Tips
- Food Shopping On A Budget
- 5 x Armstrong Cheese 500g Sale $3.66-$1.00 coupons
- 1 x Neilson Milk $3.97
- 1 x Pomegranate $0.79
- 3 bunches of Asparagus Sale $1.97lb $6.86
Total Out Of Pocket $24.88
- 2 loaves of RYE bread $2.99 each-50% Pink Sticker
- Neilson 2% Milk $3.99
- 4 x Redpath Sugar Sale $1.77
- Cherries Sale $1.97lb $4.75
- Green Onions Sale 4/$1.00
Total Out Of Pocket $ 19.80
Yearly Grocery Budget For 2 : $2819.38
- Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with one no-shop week per month or $58.75 for 4 weeks per month. (During the months with 5 weeks we just make it work)
- Total Budget For June: $235.00- $72.24= $162.76 ($83.42-$11.18=$72.24 will be carried over to June)
- Total Coupons Used this Week : $5.00
- Total Discounts this Week: $2.99
- Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
- Total Rewards Points Used: $0
- Stockpile Budget: $20.00 Used: $0
- Total Spent This Week:$44.68
- Total Spent So Far for (June): $23.89+$44.68 ($68.57)
- Total Over/Under spend this shop: $ N/A
- Total Over/Under spend for the month of (June): $N/A
- Total Left to Spend for the Month: $162.76-68.57= $94.19
- Total Coupons Used This Month :$5.00
- Total to Carry Over Next Month : N/A
- Total Spent To Date This Year: $206.95 (Jan)+ $160.77 (Feb) + (March)$169.62 + (April)$397.74+(May) $155.68=$1090.76
- Rendezvous Account: $65.38 (this will be used for a date night or a summer holiday)
Weekly Overview: We ended up going back to Zehrs last week to pick up more plants from the garden centre and realized we forgot to buy sugar that was on sale. So we went in for “sugar” and came out with cherries, onions and milk… at least it wasn’t too much. It’s so hard but we’re getting better at it. We skipped all the middle aisles and find we are doing that more and more unless we need to go down them.
Canadian Coupons Found In June
I thought I would try something a bit different for all of you. I had one fan ask if I could type out the details of the coupons that we find. I thought I would give it a try, that way if you want to trade coupons you have the UPC and expiry date of the coupons as well. I also added in where we found the coupons although you may find them in a multitude of grocery stores.
- Vidal Sassoon Save $2.00 when you buy (wub) any Vidal Sassoon Shampoo or Conditioner UPC 66014052 Exp Sept 30,2013 (mail-out)
- Save $3.00 wub any box of Vidal Sassoon Hair Color UPC 66014065 Exp Sept 30,2013- (mail-out)
- Save $.200 wub any Vidal Sassoon Styling Product UPC 66014052 Exp Sept 30,2013 (mail-out)
- Save $1.00 on any 2% Liberte Greek Yogurt UPC 1440099 Exp Sept 30,2013 (Zehrs)
- Save $0.50 on any Oasis Smoothie 1.75L UPC 2250936 Expiry Dec 31,2013 (Metro, Food Basics)
- Save $0.50 on any Oasis Health Break 1.75 L UPC 2250935 Exp Dec 31,2013 (Metro, Food Basics)
- Save $0.75 on any 500ml or 1L Lactancia Cream UPC 13611877 Exp Sept 31,2013 (Metro)
- Save $0.75 off Liberte baby Yogurt 4 x 75g format UPC 1440096 Exp July 30,2013 (Zehrs)
- Save $1.00 on Gay Lea Spreadables with Canola Oil UPC 02707932 Expiry Nov 30,2013 (Zehrs)
- Save $3.00 on the purchase of any 3 Oikos Products UPC 29506923 Expiry July 31,2013
- Save $0.75 on any one pkg of Keebler Waffle bowls or Waffle Cones UPC 84400157 No Expiry (NED) (Food Basics)
- Save $0.50 on Christie Potato Thins 115g size any UPC 15043157 Expiry Dec 31,2013 (Zehrs)
- Save $1.00 off any Skinny Cow Treat 76g-112g) UPC 10036785 Expiry Dec 31,2013 (Zehrs)
- Save $2.00 off any KY, OB , Carefree, Stayfree, Tucks products Expiry June 30, 2014 (Call-In)
If you want to call SC Johnson they allow you in some areas to call in once per month to order max 2 coupons that are not available on their website. We call the SC Johnson Consumer Care Centre at 1-866-565-229 and kindly ask if we can order coupons.
Frequently Asked Questions
Grocery Game Challenge RULES….. Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop? No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have a few players from around the world.
- When does the Grocery Game Close each month? The Grocery Game Challenge Closes at Midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month. You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does Your Grocery Budget Include Health and Beauty and Laundry? Yes our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be effected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.
- Where can I find Canadian Coupons? Here are your latest Coupon Match-ups of the week including Checkout 51 from 25 Newspaper Inserts around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge.
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons? You can find all your store coupon policies here. If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?– I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I don’t need to buy this or that. You may also substitute items in order to stick to your budget to make it work. If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving. You’ve made a wise decision.