Walmart self checkout


Who among us hasn’t wanted to take out our frustrations on a self-checkout machine? “Please place the item in the bag.” “Unknown item in bagging area.” “Please wait for attendant.” It’s enough to make you scream. Or maybe punch the machine and break the darn thing.

Turns out that’s exactly what a Tennessee man is accused of doing at his local Walmart.

Police in Murfreesboro were called to one of the town’s two Walmart stores on Sunday, after an altercation between man and machine. When they arrived, a loss prevention specialist and the detained shopper explained what had happened. “While using the self-checkout register, he needed assistance from an employee,” the police incident report reads. “He tried to get an employee’s attention but was unsuccessful, and he became angry and punched the screen.”

Well, that certainly got employees’ attention.

There’s no word on whether the angry shopper injured himself, but he did manage to knock the self-checkout machine out of commission, causing an estimated $855 in damage. Walmart is giving the man 30 days to pay up, or they’ll press charges for vandalism.

As odd a story as this is, it’s hardly the first time Walmart’s self-checkouts have brought out the worst in people.


Last month, a frustrated Walmart shopper’s battle with a self-checkout machine in suburban Wichita, Kansas ended in an actual battle with other shoppers. Police say an exasperated 36-year-old man began swearing at the uncooperative self-checkout, and his language didn’t sit well with another customer who overheard it. When the other shopper confronted him, things got heated. Police say the two argued, and continued arguing all the way to the parking lot. Finally, a third man decided to intervene and end the argument – by punching the cursing customer in the face, knocking out one of his teeth.

And to think that shopper probably believed having issues with his self-checkout was going to be the worst part about his day.

Finally, who can forget the story of the express-lane confrontation in Florida earlier this year? Back in January, police in Punta Gorda said 77-year-old William Golladay started shouting at a disabled 67-year-old man in a motorized scooter, for trying to purchase 22 items in the “20 items or less” self-checkout lane. Golladay became so agitated, that he allegedly rammed his shopping cart into the man and threatened him with his fists raised. When police arrived, they said Golladay wouldn’t stop “ranting about how the man in front of him was in the 20-item express lane attempting to purchase over 20 items.”

Golladay was charged with felony battery of a person 65 years or older. He pleaded not guilty, and his next court appearance is set for next week.

Yes, even though the technology is improving, self-checkouts can still be pretty frustrating. But with all this cursing, arguing and fisticuffs, it’s a good thing the machines don’t fight back.


Image source: Rusty Clark


  1. If I am in a grocery store and all they have are self service checkouts and I drop a 32 ounce can of beans on my foot and get injured; can I collect workmen’s compensation?

  2. My question is this, how many people have been accused of shoplifting when the self service machine failed to scan the item properly?

    How many people pay enough attention to whether the process worked or not? Just curious.

    I scan and walk out the door.

  3. To be fair, the self checkout machines at Wally truly are the worst. I don’t think I’ve had issues with any other retailer’s self checkout set up.

    CITN has become a daily read for me – great content, plenty more than just coupon geekery for promotions professionals. Actually compelling, interesting editorial content. Keep up the great work!

  4. Good ending again, Bill. Well done.

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