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Complaints about grocery self-checkouts are almost as ubiquitous as self-checkouts themselves, and one complaint in particular may be the most common among those who don’t like having to be their own cashier: “If the store isn’t paying me, why should I be forced to work there?”

Well now, one grocery store actually is paying customers who are willing to do the work that a cashier might otherwise do. And if customers embrace the idea, other stores just might want to consider doing the same.

It’s happening Down Under, at the Australian grocery chain Woolworths. Several stores in the Sydney area have introduced a new “Scan & Go” service, which allows shoppers to use their phones to scan their own groceries and pay for their purchases. It’s not unlike similar services offered here in the U.S., but there’s one major difference – shoppers who use Scan & Go at Woolworths will get paid, in the form of a 25% discount.

So if you ever resent having to be your own cashier, maybe slashing your grocery budget by a fourth every time you shop will help change your mind.

Officially, the discount is only being offered for a limited time, as part of a trial and to encourage shoppers to help test it out. But it’s a potentially ingenious way to get people comfortable with the idea of checking themselves out via smartphone, at a time when scan-and-go technology doesn’t seem to be catching on as quickly as some may have predicted.

Stop & Shop was the first grocery chain in the U.S. to offer the ability to scan your own items as you shopped. “Scan It!” launched way back in 2009, using handheld store-supplied scanners, before a mobile app version was introduced two years later. But a decade after Scan It’s initial launch, Stop & Shop still employs plenty of cashiers and has plenty of traditional self-checkout stations, so the scan-and-go technology hasn’t exactly transformed grocery shopping there.

Plenty of other retailers, like Kroger, Meijer, Sam’s Club and even Dollar General have been tinkering with the concept. But Walmart notably abandoned its own Scan & Go trial last year. Walmart never really explained why, but there was much speculation at the time that not enough customers really took to it. And among those who did, there may have been problems with theft – making it more like “Scan, Forget to Pay, & Go”.

Then there’s the matter that scanning individual items with your smartphone is already somewhat outdated technology. Amazon, and now Giant Eagle, have moved on to camera-based systems that recognize the items you put into your shopping cart, so there’s no need for you or a cashier to scan anything at all. That kind of technology is so seamless, and requires so little effort on your part, there’s little reason to bribe anyone to use it.

So Woolworths’ scan-and-go system isn’t exactly on the cutting edge of technology. The idea of rewarding shoppers for using it, though, may be what proves to be more innovative. After all, if Walmart had offered a 25% discount for trying out Scan & Go, you can bet many more shoppers would have given it a go.

So if you’ve ever grumbled about having to do the work of a cashier without getting paid for it, there’s still time to head down to Australia before Woolworths’ 25% off promotion comes to an end. But if more stores start offering more modern automated checkout systems that don’t require any scanning, or any effort on your part at all – even without a 25% discount, the convenience alone just might be worth it.

Image source: Woolworths

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Get paid for using self-scan APP? - deranged.mederanged.me

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