|Shaw's adds self checkout|
[Looks like NCR is consolidating their gains with this chain. I wonder if the shelf check that "wasn't" Y2K compatible was installed by PSC, the company ERSI bought to get into another line of retail business?]
By: Jessica Lee September 23, 2002
ROCKLAND - Customers at Shaw's Supermarket can now check out the newest technology in self-service checkouts.
The Rockland store has added two self-checkout counters for customers with 10 items or less. Here, customers-on-the-go are in control of scanning and bagging their own groceries. Payment can be made through cash, credit or debit.
Bernard Rogan, Shaw's spokesman in the Portland office, said Friday that the self-checkout counters are being installed in each store, as each undergoes renovations. They have been in operation in Rockland for about a month, and Rogan said the response has been very good.
"It's very unobtrusive. It's self instructional. People who use it love it," he said, comparing the machine to the now-familiar ATMs. "Once you go through it once at a steady pace, next time it's a breeze."
Shaw's, headquartered in West Bridgewater, Mass., first tested the self checkout in 1999 in its Derry, N.H. store.
"It was the first of its kind in New England," Rogan said. "Customers loved it."
However, when the year ended, the machine did not prove Y2K compliant and had to be removed. Rogan said Shaw's then searched for a compliant machine, which it found from NCR Corp. of Dayton, Ohio.
Rogan said the new self checkout installed "allows the customer to control their shopping experience."
Primarily, the counters offer an even faster alternative to the speedy checkout lines, he said, especially when only purchasing a few items.
As a result, "there's never a line," Rogan said, at the self checkouts.
"It's a good way to move yourself along and feel that you're moving faster and it cuts across all age groups, all demographics," he said.
The machines - now installed in roughly half of Shaw's supermarkets, which include Star Market, throughout New England - will not replace any employees, according to the spokesman. Instead, they have allowed the stores to reassign an individual to another section of the store that may require more attention.
The potential for shoplifting, he said, has been addressed with the design.
"There is a method to the madness," Rogan said.
Once an item is scanned, the customer must place the item in a bag. A scale underneath the bag then weighs the bag. If the bag seems too heavy or too light, the machine will shut down until an employee is called over. There also are video cameras installed overhead.
As with any technology, Rogan said, the self checkouts will undergo fine-tuning in order to best meet the customers' needs. He said the machines already have been made more "ergonomically correct," so that self bagging and scanning does not strain the customers.
"This is in a constant state of evolution," he said.
©Courier Gazette 2002