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Kroger’s updated self-checkout
machines, which are slower than the old system.
Kaylee McGhee | Col­legian

The self-checkout lane at Kroger may not be any faster than its con­veyer belt alter­native after a change made a week ago.

The Kroger grocery store on West Car­leton Road installed new software for its self-checkout lanes on March 14, an update that is part of the $4 million dollar overhaul that began last July, with the store fin­ishing major con­struction in December. Changes to the system include an auto­mated response that tells cus­tomers the cost and savings per scan.

“It’s just a newer updated tech­nology. It’s a little bit slower, and it’s more descriptive for the cus­tomer,” Kroger manager Chris Presley said. “It actually talks to you. So when you scan an item, it’ll say ‘$1.39; savings, 79 cents.’”

Presley said this will inform cus­tomers if they suc­cess­fully scanned their item, and if the adver­tised dis­count was applied.

Overall, however, this change has not been a smooth one.

Kimber Mes­senger, a Kroger cashier who works at the self-checkout lanes, said cus­tomers are frus­trated with fre­quent lags they expe­rience at the new self-service screens. In addition to the antic­i­pated delays, the new installment is also under­going a series of defects. Mes­senger said the machines will not spit out change, and the software has been clearing pur­chasers’ entire cache of scanned items without notice or reason. Kroger manager Kate Thomsen said she wasn’t sure why the problems are occurring, but that it’s normal for a new installment.

“Whenever we roll out new tech­nology, there’s always bugs, and it takes time to figure out what’s going on,” she said. “We have an entire tech­nology division who works on that all the time.”

The tech­nology has also changed how Messenger’s shifts looks like. Instead of addressing problems with the self-checkouts from her com­puter, she moves from cus­tomer to cus­tomer to man­ually fix the problems they encounter as they scan and pay for their gro­ceries.

“Before, you could do it all on a screen, and now you go right to the machine to do every­thing,” Mes­senger said.