Why I’ll Never Use Self Checkout

Shane Dayton
3 min readJun 17, 2021


Sometimes a little inconvenience is worth it. Especially if it comes because you are following your own morals or codes to try to make the world a slightly better place. Usually this comes along in some sort of philosophy or high minded argument.

And in my case, this time, it doesn’t. I’ll never use self checkout because to me self checkout doesn’t represent convenience, necessary advancement in technology/society, or a positive step forward.

Self checkout isn’t any of those things. To me, it’s a demand for my cooperation to receive less service, have a more frustrating experience, get rid of jobs, and pay more to pad corporations’ bottom lines the entire time.

And I won’t do it.

Photo by Daniel Herron on Unsplash

Personal Belief, Not Preaching

I’m not preaching that everyone should skip self checkout all the time. To each their own. And I get that even one person, or even a lot of individuals just won’t change things at the end of the day.

But in my recent experiences with the Hy-Vee grocery chain in Iowa the intent was clear: mass firings and refusing to man more than one register no matter how busy it was to force use of self checkout.

And to me that’s not right.

Look jobs get lost to technology all the time. That happens, and is part of progress. When it’s necessary. When it’s better. When lower jobs are lost for better ones.

Self checkout isn’t any of those things. Especially when it’s a blatant labor cut from the top on down (Note: talked to four managers in three stores and although there was definitely some evasiveness, it wasn’t hard to read between the lines that this was a top down decision and not individual store management idea).

The strategy has been obvious in each of the stores I frequent regularly: fire the longest tenured employees (aka highest earners, best cashiers) and either have one or no manned registers open.

Not going to encourage that.

A Couple Bright Spots

At least around my area I’m not the only one who seems to think this way. Long lines are forming for a single manned register. A manager shouts that self checkout is open. He receives a lot of glares.

At the very upper middle class Hy-Vee the same thing occurs. An old lady with the feistiness of my grandmother loudly exclaims “There’s no God-(swear) (swear) way I came here to (swear) scan and bag my own (swear) groceries.”

I break out laughing with others in line. Eventually all the registers are manned while the self checkout stays open, though the lines are long because it went from 10 registers to 4.

These are nice little moments even if I know from a practical standpoint that it’s past the point where it will likely affect anything. But I do what I can do and beyond that, well that’s what I can do.

I don’t need to be anywhere that fast. And if the hardball route ends up with 50 minute average waits…I’ll take the long mile walk to another store. Those are my personal beliefs and whatever anyone else thinks — I won’t compromise them.

Others might disagree or they might not and that’s fine.

But I won’t participate in harm and mass job stripping for the sake of minor “convenience.” Especially when the experience is actually worse.



Shane Dayton

Writer, gamer, passionate traveler, I'm at my happiest when I can spend my time where my interests meet. Hope you enjoy and thanks for reading!