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.