Accidental Theft

One in five shoppers have accidentally stolen items via self-checkout.
April 23, 2024
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people using Walmart self-checkout machines

Wait, I didn’t mean to steal that!

Shoppers are reportedly 21x more likely to sneak items past machines than human cashiers, and one in five shoppers have accidentally stolen items via self-checkout.

As a result, some big retailers are eliminating self-service checkouts:

  • Dollar General will remove self-checkout registers from 300 stores that have the biggest issues with inventory shrinkage, per Fox Business
  • Target restricted self-checkout to ten items or less, per NBC News
  • Safeway closed its self-checkout areas in San Francisco stores, per SFGATE
  • Walmart removed self-checkout registers from at least 3 stores in Albuquerque, New Mexico, per the Albuquerque Journal

Self-checkout lanes have a material impact on a company’s bottom line. One study found that companies with self-checkout lanes and apps had a loss rate of about 4%, more than double the industry average.

Retailers’ decision to move away from self-service checkouts suggests that the cost savings from having fewer cashiers at specific locations don’t outweigh the revenue loss from stolen items.

Back to small talk with the cashiers we go.

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