People waiting in line(l), Walmart cart(c), Closed self checkout(r)

Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock @the_lingerers/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘Looks like the rumors might be true’: Walmart shopper says his store keeps closing self-checkout, making him go to person

'They tried to save money by hiring fewer workers and instead got robbed.'


Kahron Spearman


Posted on Mar 6, 2024   Updated on Mar 6, 2024, 1:00 pm CST

Walmart once had plans to go 100% self-checkout by the end of 2021. Fast-forward to today, and the retail giant seems to have changed course as it is now closing self-checkouts and having customers check out their goods via human cashiers.

TikTok videos by @the_lingerers brought this development into sharp focus. The TikToker narrates their observations and conversations with Walmart employees in these videos, revealing a potentially significant shift in the retail giant’s approach to customer checkouts.

In the first video, the TikToker (@the_lingerers) notes, “Second time this week that I’ve gone to Walmart and all their self-checkouts are closed.

The shopper says he even visited two separate Walmart locations, and at both stores, the self-checkouts were closed. “They started to open up the regular lines again. … I heard a rumor that they were gonna come to an end with the self-checkout to lower theft.”

“Looks like the rumors might be true,” the TikToker captioned the video, which was viewed over 90,000 times.

Walmart spokesperson Joe Pennington told Business Insider that “based on several factors including customer and associate feedback, shopping patterns, and business needs, some locations are temporarily testing different checkout staffing options.” Pennington did not say whether the move was to also combat theft, but that’s what viewers suspect. “They tried to save money by hiring fewer workers and instead got robbed blind!” said one commenter after watching @the_lingerers’ video.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Walmart and @the_lingerers for comment.

@the_lingerers looks like the rumors might be true. #walmart #selfcheckout #denver #shopping #ihateselfcheckout #walmartreceipts ♬ original sound – The Lingerers

A follow-up trip by @the_lingerers to Walmart adds weight to these observations, at least for the TikToker’s Colorado location. The TikToker shares, “Spoke with somebody, … and he said that it was a corporate decision. They are shutting down self-checkouts nationwide. So there’s a little victory for us little guys.”

Pennington told Business Insider quite the opposite. Pennington said the decision to close self-checkouts is up to the discretion of management at individual stores and was not a corporate decision.

At some locations, Walmart has introduced limitations on self-checkout lanes, reserving them for Walmart+ subscribers or Spark delivery drivers, according to the Street.

Other retailers like Target are experimenting with self-checkout limitations, such as reducing operational hours or strongly enforcing item count limits. A Target spokesperson told CNN that it is giving the customers what it believes they want. “Our guests tell us they enjoy interacting with our team,” Target Chief Operating Officer John Mulligan said, per CNN.

Target said that theft had nothing to do with its new self-checkout strategy. However, the reason why shoppers think such stores are closing self-checkouts to mitigate theft is because self-checkouts make it easier for customers to steal products, either by accident or on purpose. Stores that offer self-checkout as a means of checking out had a loss rate of more than double the industry average, a study that was cited by CNN found.

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*First Published: Mar 6, 2024, 2:00 pm CST