Walmart Charging $98 to Use Self-Checkout, Shoppers are Outraged

Since 2018, Walmart has started an integration of self-checkout options in their stores for customers to be able to autonomously scan their items without a cashier. Other major retailers such as Target, CVS, Marshalls, and more have welcomed the self-checkout machines as a way for customers to easily buy their items without an attendant. However, a new fee set forth by Walmart has set the internet aflame with anger.

Self checkout machines seemed to be a win-win for retailers and customers. In theory, the stores would be saving money on labor costs due to the “do-it-yourself” nature of self-checkout. And customers were happy to scan their own items and pay in a swift and efficient manner, as opposed to waiting in line for an open cashier.

However, shoppers started to take notice of some changes being made to this method of shopping. Oftentimes this quick checkout option was closed and shoppers were forced to go to a regular checkout line with a cashier, all but eliminating the point.

While it may have seemed like an optimal checkout experience for everyone, major issues have started to rise for retailers that use self-checkouts. According to CBS, a third of Gen Z shoppers admit to shoplifting using the self-checkout machines.

Walmart has been battling a severe increase in theft incidents since 2020, when the machines were starting to gain popularity. The major retailer has tried implementing anti-theft technology to get these numbers under control, but theft incidents continue to eat away at their bottom line. Employees admit that they are not trained well enough in theft prevention to make an impact on lowering the number of shoplifting incidences.

Recently, rumors started swirling about Walmart’s plan to start charging an annual fee in order for customers to use the self-checkout. The internet was collectively outraged at the prospect. One user took to TikTok to express his frustrations.

User @jackmacbarstool states in the video (which now has well over 400,000 likes), “Not only do we not make any money, we are now charged to spend money”. He also claims that stores charging for the self-checkout option is similar to the way subscription services have ruined television. To end the video he asks, “What’s next? What are they going to charge next? Oxygen?”

Jack’s response was the overwhelming response of most shoppers. Fortunately, Walmart has come forward to explain that they will not, in fact, be charging shoppers an annual fee to use self-checkout lanes. However, there will be changes coming to self-checkout in an effort to continue to limit theft incidences.

Walmart has been forced to close stores all over the country, and is under pressure to perform. They did add a feature for in-store scanning for members only. This allows members to scan items on their phone as they shop, but has nothing to do with the self-checkout fee rumor that spread across the internet.

As for now, it appears Walmart is not going “the way of Costco” and will not be charging a fee to customers who want to self-checkout. But more than likely there will be many changes coming to the self-checkout process soon.