Home Depot Self Check-Out

by john on April 27, 2003

My local Home Depot recently added some self check-out lines, which are a very welcome addition for me. I shop there quite a bit (two different trips just today) and for those times I just need a few items being able to check myself out will be a very nice feature, especially if they are essentially empty as they were today. I suppose that will change once people get used to them.

It appeared to me as though they were able to put four of the self check-out kiosks in the space two normal lanes occupy. There was one Home Depot Associate watching over the area, although since it was very slow it is possible there are normally more. From what I could tell his role was to help answer questions and assist with scanning issues. I did not see him check anyone’s bag and match the items up with the receipt ala Sam’s Club, although I’ve got to think they watch closely and do spot checks.

The interface was very clean, simple and easy to use, as was the hardware setu It can handle cash, coin and credit/debit card. I forgot to see if they handled personal checks. The one problem I did have on my first trip was that it did not feature a hand-held scanner, and I had a flat-cart with three bags of fertilizer buried under a dozen bags of mulch. I was about to walk away when the Associate brought over a hand-scanner and did it for me.

My initial thought was that this would appeal to a younger more technology-savvy demographic but CRM Daily mentions a reason why it may appeal to all ages – older folks embracing it because it allows them to go as slow as the want, double-checking the prices as they go. Certainly there is a large group of people who don’t trust cashiers, spurred on by various news stories on the topic, and so I can certainly understand this as something those people would enjoy.

According to ComputerWorld the check-out system runs on Microsoft Windows, using NCR hardware and software from 360 Commerce.

{ 10 comments }

Anita Rowland April 28, 2003 at 8:57 am

I’ve used this system in a local grocery store, and now the seattle public library has it too, at the temporary central library downtown. I like it, especially for the speed factor you mentioned.

Joe Grossberg April 28, 2003 at 10:20 am

They have this at some local Giant supermarkets. Overall, I like it, but there are three problems (besides normal glitches) that wouldn’t affect a Home Depot as greatly:
* not everything has bar codes (i.e. produce that isn’t pre-packaged)
* for the produce sans bar codes, you have to (1) look up the four-digit code and (2) weigh the items on the scanner
* lots of items are small, and easy to steal without direct supervision by an employee. That said, the losses might be less than the salaries of extra cashiers.

ScottMcG April 28, 2003 at 11:00 am

Aside from the issue of not trusting cashiers, I also dislike interacting with them. I prefer the cashiers that are polite, but perform their job without yakking at me about the weather, the clothes I just bought, or GW Bush. So, I welcome more self-serve checkouts.

Henry April 30, 2003 at 1:31 am

Kmart, in its bankruptcy filing, blamed self-checkout for approximately $2B in “shrinkage” aka shoplifting. While the idea has merit, I wonder about the downside.

ScottMcG April 30, 2003 at 4:07 pm

I gotta wonder about a company that will allow $2B in self-checkout shoplifting before it acts on it.

john April 30, 2003 at 6:30 pm

Do you have a link to the bankruptcy filing indicating a $2B loss in shrinkage directly attributable to the self check-out systems? It does seem high and I can’t find anything on the web regarding it…

Ed May 2, 2003 at 10:57 pm

I want to give some comment on Self Check out. that 2bullion loss.
i work at home depot. i am in charge of the self check out believe it or not you might be able to by pass stuff through the cashier but you cant bypass anything through self check out. it’s highlly secure. it knows every single weight in of every single item in the store.
it’s so smart and i give it a big time credit. even though if the weight is missed up it give the cashier a headache.

and there should be only one cashier on there all the time not two except on weekend it depends on the store.
thats why they have the best cashiers on the self check out.

I had a lot of people refusing to use self check out saying that it take’s job away.
guess what i know for fact that self check out helped our flood employee because they actually took hours away from cashiers but they took those cashiers wanted to go on the floor and made more people on the floor.

Home depot main concern is MORE APRON ON THE FLOOR
which is a smart idea.

Erik April 8, 2004 at 5:58 pm

Ed,

First of all, they do not put the “best” cashiers on self-checkout. All cashiers are the same when it comes to working at HD. If you were the best cashier, you would be a Head Cashier, or a Front End Supervisor….so your claim is a bit conceited. Secondly, loss through self-checkout is enormous. Tell me how the “weight” of an object will stop anything that’s “on” a person? How about credit card fraud? Listen, I deal with this stuff all day long. The claim that retailers are losing 2Billion dollars a year to shoplifting is inflated. You must remember these key combinations to shrink as well. Incorrect receiving, employees not marking down product for tracking purposes, and “yes,” internal/external theft. Just thought I’d throw this in the forum.

Patrick November 11, 2005 at 11:46 am

I can’t stand self checkout. The local Home Depot At Rt.10 and 30 in Lancaster County, Pa.is trying this and losing sales to Lowes, 10 miles down the road. (where you have REAL people)
Go ahead and self checkout a large load of lumber, or try to make a “split” sale (items for me, some for work) and you will have to wait until the 1 person overseeing this mess has time to help you. I got my paybacks when the self checkout machine gave me four Fives instead of 4 Ones for change. (I called them when I realized that they had a major malfunction of thir “perfect” machine) I think Home Depot has got it all wrong.

Jer January 4, 2007 at 11:18 pm

use common sense. you have lumber, dont go to self checkout. thats stupid. but people are so dumb nowadays that when it says bag item, bag the item. its that simple. and about fraud, its just as easy to put a pack of nails in your coat pocket whether you are at self checkout or a regular cashier. what it prevents is someone dropping something ‘extra’ in a bag without you noticing. so all those lazy lazy ppl out there, get over it. its 2007 and techno-life will go on. if you want to talk to a person go to a cashier. if you dont want our “dribble about weather, tv, and GW Bush”, then go to self checkout. case closed.

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