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Costco Brings Self-Checkout Back to Select Locations

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Costco self checkout kiosk

Self-checkout is back!

After making the decision to remove self-checkout kiosks in 2013, Costco is giving self-checkout another try in select locations. The company is currently offering this option in about 125 of its wholesale warehouses to help reduce long checkout lines.

“For us, it works best in high-volume locations where it’s got a lot easier, particularly if you have a credit card. It’s very fast, and customers are using it. It’s saving some labor at the front end, it’s getting people through the front end faster.” – Costco CEO Richard Galanti. 

They hope to expand the number of participating locations to about 250 in the next several months.


Self-checkout area at Costco

While some retailers such as Target and Dollar General are still investing in self-checkout kiosks, others are moving toward a different kind of self-checkout system altogether.

Direct competitors Sam’s Club and B.J.’s Wholesale Club have shifted their focus from physical self-scanning stations to mobile checkout technology that customers can use on their smartphones. We sure hope Costco at some points offers up something similar to the Sam’s Club Scan & Go app!


Check out our favorite items to buy at Costco (and 5 you can skip)!

Join The Discussion

Comments 49

  1. Amber

    I don’t know about anyone else but I’m sick of having to pay for stuff and work to scan and bag it myself. There are a couple stores by me that after a certain time of day they have 0 cashiers on staff.

    • Melissa

      Totally agree

    • Monique

      I agree amber if I wanted to be a cashier I would apply for the job. My mom has worked at Costco for 15 years she said the self checkout at her store was a nightmare because there was too much shrink (theft) and go back were a mess and people would be mad because they couldn’t renew their membership at the register like you can when you’re not doing self checkout…

  2. shop4mybabies

    i hate self check out unless Ijust have one or two things, I was a cashier in the 90’s, I am not one, and do not want to be one now

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      I’m sorry, shop4mybabies! I don’t think I’d want to scan my own after already doing it, too!

  3. Janet

    The Sam’s scan and go app is awesome! I can scan my items on my phone, swipe and pay wherever I’m standing in the store, and just show my phone receipt at the exit. No checkout lines!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      That sure does sound convenient! Thanks for taking the time to comment, Janet!

    • mamasweetpea

      I agree. Sam’s scan and go is great because I can scan as I shop and avoid the checkout lines. As far as bagging things, my Costco and Sams never bag anything so I end up organizing it in my own bags, boxes, car. It’s nice to have options though: app, self check, and regular checkout.

  4. Suzanne

    Awesome! I love self checkout and use it whenever available. It’s so much faster. Plus I can bag my items the way I want. It seems like even though I bring insulated bags my cold items never get put in them. Since shopping is 45 min to an hour away for us it makes a difference.

    • Shannon

      I LOVE self check out also. There’s never mistakes of double scans, there’s short lines and no cashier to make a comment about whatever I’m buying, I don’t like that. I usually don’t have my kids with me tho. If you have little kids I could see how it would be difficult.

  5. Bethany

    Honestly hate that sam club did this. I was literally shocked when I saw only 3 regular lines and 10 self checkoutouts…

    I get we are in a technological society but my goodness…

  6. Jen

    I love self checkout. With a 4yo that is EASILY bored, it is a lifesaver. I can take my time and let her scan items. If I need to stop and pay attention to her for a second, I’m not holding anyone but myself up. I couldn’t do without it.

  7. Jessica

    I love self checkout, I can’t remember the last time I went to a cashier. But on the other hand, I feel people who don’t like it. My dad won’t do self checkout even if he has a few items.. he says it’s “not his job” 🙄😂

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      My mom was a cashier for years, she feels like it takes away jobs so she refuses to go, Jessica.

      • I don't shop @ Walmart

        I second that

  8. Renee

    They have this at my local store and I love it! So far there are still many cashiers thankfully. But the self checkout is great for express checkout when the regular lines are long. (They’ve been very helpful with the self checkout, when customers need it as well).

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us, Renee!

  9. Helen in Meridian

    It started last week here in Boise. I had 3 items but one was the Martini pops. I got carded, being 72 it made my day.

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      LOL!

  10. Bunny

    Every once in a while I only have two or three items to get so this would be a lifesaver. The lines at my Costco are incredibly long so I’d love a way to check out quickly. Hope this happens at my store soon! Thanks for the heads up Hip2Save 🙂

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      You’re welcome, Bunny!

    • I don't shop @ Walmart

      I am sure that you can ask the front end manager to open more registers. If more people ask, more registers will be open for better customer experience. My Winco has a long lines, but I will not go through self-checkout. And I will mention to manager on duty about long wait times.

  11. Steph

    I personally LOVE self-checkout as I can take my time, bag things the way I want, make sure all sale prices and digital coupons applied properly, etc. I do agree though that there should still be plenty of cashiers available for those who don’t/can’t use self-checkout.

    • Mrs BK

      Totally agree Steph! And this applies to all the stores I shop at.

  12. Andrea

    Here in Atlanta, we’ve had self checkout for years. The line for self checkout is always longer than the regular lines with employees and those lines are full too! Every.single.line is ALWAYS open. Never a dull time at our Costco’s!

  13. Linds

    I think it’s great to have the option! THere are some times when I got to costco and only have a couple things and I always wish I could just go to a self checkout. It did bother me how Sams Club took out over half of their cashiers and put in the self checkouts. The lines for a cashier are always so long because they usually only have one or two of them.

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for letting us know what you think, Linds! We sure appreciate it!

  14. Susan S.

    Hate self checkouts unless I have a small amount of items. Our Smith’s which is consistently super busy with long lines just installed 24 self checkouts!!! So yesterday we stood in the regular line for 20 minutes and the self checkouts were empty. When you are purchasing your $200 worth of weekly groceries you dont want to do it yourself…

  15. Luna

    Only if I’m exhausted I don’t use the self checkout so I’m happy Costco has this coming up!

  16. Nels

    Love self checkout and avoid cashiers if I can. I like to handle my groceries the way I want.
    It’s just the normal progress and things get automated, so sooner or later these jobs will mostly go away.

  17. Nicole

    Sounds like this audience turned into a bunch of grouchy old people lol i LOVE self checkout, anything to get me out of the store faster! I really hope they install this in my local store.

  18. Brooke

    Boycott self checkout! It does take away jobs! I work in a place that has them, and that is how they justify slashing jobs.

    • Nana

      I agree. They do take away jobs.

  19. Jane

    I absolutely LOVE self checkout regardless if I have one item or many items! It makes the shopping experience more fun in my opinion 🙂

  20. ebg

    My costco has it but they are the only store I’ve seen that excludes Snap/EBT payment from using self-checkout. Makes it seem like they dont trust low income people. It’s not a good look.

  21. Pansy

    I don’t think self checkout would work here, in Eugene, Or. The lines are extremely long with two people working each register, checking, boxing and putting your stuff on conveyor belt. They get each person through in about a minute flat. Self checkout would never be as fast. All registers are always in use and there’s no room for more.

  22. Mrsyancy

    I love self checkout. I use it every opportunity I can, in any store I go into.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      I have liked the option of self checkout lanes in my stores too! Thanks for the feedback!

  23. Mimi

    Im a big fan of self check but only if they enforce a minimum # of items rule!!
    Theres none in my local target and its ridiculous, i’m trying to get in and out with 1 or 2 items,
    and some people are scanning full carts. Its faster to go through a normal cashier at this point.
    I feel like it kind defeats the purpose of self check out if you have so much.

  24. Jeff L

    I think they screwed up, said it was due to theft, but I never bought that as the reason, then lines grew a lot, so they put 2 employees at most lines and the lines still grew. Now, I think they noticed that Sam’s Club expanded their self checkout successfully and lines shrunk.. Many times at Costco I’m buying just 1-3 items and wait a long time to check out.

    OH the other irony, Meijer or Walmart have 32 registers, and on a normal day, I’ve never seen more than 4 open at prime times. Krogers does it right, they added more self checkout and have great balance of self ans assisted.

  25. Miri

    I love self checkouts now that the software is more reliable. I don’t get why people are complaining unless they have hundreds of items or something. I can be on my phone at self checkout, not have to make conversation with someone who doesn’t care and I can get out of the store faster.

    I get the argument that this takes jobs, but so did the various textile machines that allow you to buy a $5 shirt at Walmart today, car assembly robots, computers, even the invention of the vacuum, etc. Basically, any form of automation has taken jobs, but also lowered the cost of goods so that everyone gets them cheaper. Would we rather stop all progress forward so that someone can keep the same job forever? There’s not an easy answer. I respect companies that shuffle around the employees to other positions rather than having layoffs, but I know that doesn’t always happen.

  26. Pat

    I don’t suppose we’ll be the lucky ones. I practically stopped shopping there because they took out the self checkouts. I only buy 3-4 items whenever I go there, I don’t even use a cart, but I have to stand in line behind huge cartloads of stuff. When they had self checkout, I could breeze thru in 30 seconds. I asked them why they took them out, they said people couldn’t figure out how to use them. How can there be so many idiots shopping at Costco, it was simple! I use self checkout whenever possible, it’s a breeze and have never been frustrated using it anywhere.

  27. Pat

    On the other hand, I do not want to do the Scan and Go, I don’t ever plan on paying for anything with my phone. Of course, if I have no other choice I would, but I hope that’s pretty far in the future.

  28. Donna

    Self checkouts don’t pay taxes.

  29. ilonameanqueen

    Hmmm. Costco saves on hiring 4-6 cashiers. Hmmm. Costco saves money, puts more members through the checkout each day, and gives the savings back to the member, by lowering the annual membership fee. Right? Not! No reduced member ship fee. So, I read some of the 30% off magazines in the long lines, and give the magazine to the cashier.
    🙂

  30. George

    I’m shocked that nobody is talked about the biggest deal breaker with the Costco Self-Checkout…
    They way that they are managing it is completely useless! Costco in Denver, CO. requires you to empty your whole cart on the platform next to the scanner as you scan each item. Then of course, you have to put everything back yourself. So where is the convenience there? Might as well go to the regular checkout and forget about this completely backwards approach! The girls assisting the self checkout, agreed with me and they were quick to say that if I have a full cart they would gladly assist me with unloading and scanning all the items them selves. I replied to that kind offer…”Isn’t that exactly what the regular checkout lanes do? They just looked dumbfounded. They blamed the regional manager for this brilliant procedure. It’s hard to believe that such successful billion-dollar corporations cannot get such a simple thing right. They lack of common sense is just appalling!
    Sam’s Club self checkout on the other hand is AWESOME! They have the scan-gun and you can just scan everything in your cart and be outta there in seconds! Not to mention the Scan and Go App that is just amazing! It lets you be all paid up and ready to go even before you get to the front, buy scanning every item and paying with your smart phone.

    • Ana Ananda

      COSTCO self checkout is most terrible I have used. It must have been designed by a dumb engineer who has no common sense (plus some dumb management). Like mentioned above, why cannot they just learn from, Sam’s Club, Walmart, or Home Depot. This is not something new.

      1. You have to SCAN your membership card at one place.

      2. Lift all the heavy items from the cart, scan it and place it on the side. You cannot put it back in the cart. It will give an error. After that you have to put everything back in the cart.

      3. Then you have to use a different scanner for payment. (In gas station there is only one scanner.)

      This is just crazy man. I will not use the self checkout again.

  31. Bastiaan

    I do not qualify to do the self check
    out
    1 Costco dit not gave me any training to
    be a cashier
    2 To be a cashier you should get wages.
    3 so i don’t use any self checkouts

  32. Graves

    I have been shopping at Costco since it opened and enjoy my weekly visit there. I don’t like the self service at all. I think it tells to shop but we don’t appreciate your business enough to check you out. I am trying to make up my mind whether to continue my shopping. My whole family is very disappointed.

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