Publix shopper tries to buy white wine. Register tells him ‘age verification not needed per camera analysis.

@tallfreek/TikTok Levon Clark Photography/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘I’m never using self-checkout again’: Publix shopper tries to buy white wine. Register tells him ‘age verification not needed per camera analysis.’ How did it know? (updated)

‘Now I have to avoid self-checkout for calling me old?’

 

Nina Hernandez

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People who buy alcohol at grocery stores in the self-checkout section typically need a human being to confirm they’re of age. But that might be starting to be a thing of the past, if a video taken at a Publix is to be believed.

A TikToking couple recently went viral, posting a video of the tall half of the couple (under the user name @tallfreek). The creator appeared to be considerably over 21, showing himself buying a bottle of white wine at a Publix self-checkout machine.

“Age verification not needed per camera analysis,” the machine says.

@tallfreek I’m never using self-checkout again 😭 #selfcheckout ♬ original sound – Chris & Matt

The creator included a caption declaring, “I am never using self-checkout again.”

According to a March 2022 article in Grocery Dive, some grocery chains are implementing additional technology to increase the abilities of self-checkout machines.

The article notes, “Traditional self-checkout technology typically falls short when shoppers want to buy age-restricted items like alcohol, tobacco or certain prescription medications. Those items generally require a human worker to intervene to check the customer’s ID and validate the purchase — introducing bottlenecks that can slow down lines, frustrate time-pressed shoppers and reduce the labor-saving benefits automation offers.”

It then notes, “Seeking to overcome this challenge, startups that specialize in computer-based image recognition have been exploring ways to automate the process of confirming a person’s age and clear purchases.”

But it’s still new enough that this video capturing it in action received more than 4.3 million views and 2,300 comments since it was posted on June 20.

Many users were outraged on the creator’s behalf.

“She really just said, ‘Hello old,’” wrote user AgentGayNerd.

“She really SCREAMED we got an old man [aisle] 4,” wrote another commenter.

“I would have been so mad,” wrote user Andrew Perez. “Not because of the assumption of my age but at the VOLUME AT WHICH IT SCREAMS IT.” Chris agreed. “Right?!?! Like the whole store doesn’t need to know,” he replied.

“Why was it so loud too?” user Neo asked. “Really said, ‘HE OLD ENOUGH YALL, I DON’T EVEN NEED EYES TO TELL.’”

“Could have been worse,” commenter Nonya joked. “‘As per camera verification, senior citizen discount applied.”

“Daayuumn,” wrote commenter Aurora. “I avoid cashiers because I can’t talk to people, but now I have to avoid self-checkout for calling me old?!”

Other commenters said the situation could be worse.

“My partner got a senior coffee at McDonald’s without asking,” wrote user John Croteau. “Talk about feeling old.”

“I would’ve kicked the screen, and I’m not even playing,” said Talley.

Update, June 25 12:33 p.m. CT: According to a Publix spokesperson, the TikTok might not be what it appears to be after all. That spokeperson said, “The video you referenced from Tik Tok is clearly edited and does not represent our practices for age verification.  Per our policy, a Publix associate responsible for attending self-checkout verifies age for all alcohol purchases.”

The creator, responding to the Daily Dot’s inquiry, admitted taking a bit of creative license in the video, noting, “The voice at the self checkout register wasn’t real but could be real in the near future?”

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