Safeway and Coles are going to put self-serve checkouts into their supermarkets, starting with newly refurbished locations.
I’ve used these for a couple of years at Big W at Southland and QV. You scan each item, then put it in a bag in a tray of the checkout, and it appears to weigh the items to make sure what you’re putting in the bag matches what you’ve scanned. Then you pay using the usual methods, with a staff member having to come over if a credit card signature needs to be sighted.
You also need to pay attention and ask for help if the item you’re buying has a physical security tag on it. I once made it all the way home with a tag on some clothing (I don’t remember if it made the alarms go off — I guess not), and had to take it back in to get it removed. Magnetic (or they might be RFID) tags get automagically disarmed.
There are about 8 auto checkouts, usually with 1-2 staff on duty, so I suppose it saves the company money overall.
I wouldn’t assume the weighing is foolproof, but I suppose with staff (and presumably cameras) there’s a disincentive to try and trick the machine to make off with more than you paid for.
It works quite well for Big W, especially when you’re only buying a few items and the queues-served-by-humans are long. Dunno about supermarkets though — if you’re doing the week’s Big Shop, having a professional weigh and scan and pack all your items would have to be faster, wouldn’t it?
I wonder what happens if an item won’t scan? Do you get to reach for the PA and yell “Price check!”?