CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — If you shop at Harris Teeter in Uptown, prepare to start bagging your own groceries.
The supermarket confirms its store on West 6th Street will soon switch to all self-checkout.
“We believe this will allow us to provide better customer service by having more lanes available,” said Harris Teeter spokesperson Danna Robinson, “so shoppers should be able to get in and out more quickly.”
No employees will be laid off.
The shift comes because customers at this location are buying a “significantly smaller” amount of items, compared with other locations, Robinson said.
“I think it’s a great idea in terms of the growing populaton of Uptown Charlotte,” said Bob Westbrook, who has been shopping here for three years.
On this day, he walked out with food for his cat and a hamburger dinner for himself.
“I’m definitely going to miss the intersaction with the cashiers,” he said. “They’re all great people.”
Self-checkout has been used by other retailers for years – not just to control long lines but also to control the company’s costs.
“It doesn’t mean we have fewer associates,” said Dr. Laura Egeln, a business professor at Johnson & Wales University. “It means fewer associates are getting full time.”
Some experts say self-checkout allows retailers the ability to cut costs by reducing the the wages, hours and benefits paid out to employees.
It also caters to urban customers who want to get in and out quickly.
“Customers these das want on demand,” said Egeln. “I think we’re going to see more and more stores go with the idea of the customer controlling the checkout process.”
Retail giant Walmart tried self-checkout and then dropped it.
Nationwide, there are 3.5 million cashiers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite a trend towrds automation,those jobs aren’t in jeopardy just yet. The number of cashiers is expected to drop by just one percent over the next decade.
That’s good news for customers like Westbrook, who prefer to shop with a personal touch.
“Just told a few of them I’m really going to miss the interaction with them,” said Westbrook.
What did they say back?
“They’re going to miss us as well,” he said.