As everyone knows, self-serve checkout stations at supermarkets continues to grow exponentially, even at retail store outlets that aren’t purely supermarkets like Stop & Shop, Star Markets or Shaw’s. Personally, I don’t like them as I find them too impersonal, and their expansion will continue to cut jobs in that industry. But the companies that own these store chains can cut a lot of labor costs – and that’s their goal, for good or ill.
On the “ill” side of things, though, this technology has brought about an increase in crime – specifically, shoplifting charges. More than one study has determined that the increased use of self-service checkouts correlates with an increase in revenue losses. One such wide-ranging study of retailers in the U.S., Britain and other European countries found that use of this technology produced an average revenue loss rate of 4 percent of gross sales. Since the profit margin of most supermarket retailers hovers around 3 percent, that almost makes use of self-service checkouts counter-productive from an earning standpoint. Continue reading