Back in December, rumors started circulating that the popular retail chain was making a big change to self checkout at some of their locations. At the time, the Minnesota based retailer didn’t make an official statement. 

Eventually the rumor that Target was limiting the number of items you could take through a self-checkout late to 10 or fewer made it to CNN, which confirmed that the change was being tested at some Target stores to shorten wait times and better understand what customers really wanted. At that time, Idaho shoppers hadn’t noticed a change locally, but team members that worked in Southern California were all over Reddit talking about how the change was affecting their stores. 

Target Rolling Out New Rule at Idaho Locations, Expands Policy in California

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In mid-March, Target finally issued an official “fact sheet” about changes at self checkout. That’s when we learned that only about 200 of their stores were part of the self checkout pilot program. Apparently, they were very pleased with the results. Based on their findings, self-checkout speed doubled under the new rules. A survey of shoppers also found that they were happier with the checkout experience at the pilot stores than they had been before the change was put in place. 

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That’s why as of March 17, Target rolled out the 10 items or fewer policy at almost all of their locations, including the seven Idaho stores and over 300 stores in California. Naturally, the reaction online was “does this mean there will actually be lanes with cashiers open?” It’s a question Target anticipated and said that they will be opening more traditional lanes and will empower individual store leaders to make decisions regarding how many staffed lanes are open and what hours self-checkout is available. 

Why Is Target Making the Change?

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While Target’s official word seems to be to increase customer engagement, team members who frequent the Target Reddit that was created by team members, for team members but is not affiliated or endorsed by the corporation itself, say otherwise. Many say that Target isn’t willing to admit that their losses due to shoplifting are just as high as competitors like Walmart.

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Team Members on the forum noticed that sometimes when customers brought large orders through self checkout, they would scan items inside the cart and not scan everything. Sometimes that was an innocent mistake. Other times, it was intentional. They also reported customers engaging in “ticket switching” by taking lower price stickers and attaching them to higher priced items before they scanned them. It’s something that the machine wouldn’t necessarily catch, but a human cashier is going to notice that the bedding set you’re trying to buy is not the travel soap that the sticker says it is. 

Will Customers Appreciate the Change?

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It’s tough to say. Personally, we really love not being stuck behind someone that has an entire cart full of stuff and struggles with technology when all we want to do is buy a Gatorade and some Twizzlers after a run.

When Costco made a self checkout policy last summer, it was NOT well received in Idaho. You can read the updated policy and local reaction HERE. 

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