people in long line at walmart with caption 'Walmart's stupid idea to go full self checkout. I hate this place.'


‘Spent more time in line than shopping’: Viral TikTok of huge line at Walmart’s self-checkout after removing human cashiers sparks debate

'Stupid idea to go full self-checkout.'


Kahron Spearman

Internet Culture

Posted on Oct 29, 2021   Updated on Oct 29, 2021, 12:10 pm CDT

viral TikTok video showing footage of a massive line at a Walmart self-checkout after the store removed human cashiers sparked a debate on the platform.

Jewel Walling (@screamingjewelz) filmed and posted herself in the line at local Walmart, which allegedly had no human cashiers to check out shoppers. The caption said: “Spent more time in line than shopping. #walmart #walmartfail #walmartfails.”

In the text overlay, she wrote: “Walmart’s stupid idea to go full self-checkout. I hate this place.”

She appears to be so far back that the self-checkout isn’t even visible from her location. The lack of cashiers may not have been the plan for that particular Walmart that day; however, the big box corporation has been leaning heavily into a more “self-checkout, fewer cashiers” model—which is reportedly being officially tested in Plano, Texas.

The top comment on the video reads: “Everyone says they hate that complain about having no cashiers, but yet you shop there. I don’t understand.”

Walling responded: “Because the other store didn’t have the cat litter I needed. So I had to go here.”

Much of the argument in the comments section about the Walmart line seems based less around the ridiculousness of not having cashiers available and more about Walling choosing inconvenience because of her personal preference of cat litter. She did say she “got my stuff in 5 min, but took 20 min to check out. Ridiculous.”

One commenter said, “Don’t blame Walmart; blame the checker that didn’t want to come in and do his or her job to check you out.” She responded, “We are a small town where a lot of people actually want to work [rather than] drive 35 minutes to another city to [check themselves out].”

It also appears the Walmart location funneled everyone into a single register or a small grouping of checkouts—so people with a few or even just one item were among people with full baskets. Walling noted, “I think if they put 10/20 items or less self-checkouts, it would help fix some of the problem.”

Some also commented on how technology is allegedly taking people’s job, with one saying, “this is one of the many reasons unemployment is going up, instead of 12 self checkouts there could be 12 cashiers.”

“I don’t shop there for a reason! Hate the fact these put people out of work,” another said.

According to a press release by Walmart regarding the “new checkout experience,” employees that previously worked the cashiers were “transitioned to a new type of job called ‘Host.’”

“It’s the Host’s job to make sure the checkout experiences are exactly what customers want them to be. If a customer wants to check themselves out, a host is there to show them to an open register. If a customer wants to be checked out by an associate, a host rings them up and bags all of their items just like they would have in the old lane-driven layout,” the blog reads.

The Daily Dot has reached out to @screamingjewelz and Walmart for more information.

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*First Published: Oct 29, 2021, 11:55 am CDT