View Full Version : K-mart making your x-mas a little colder -- self checkout!

11-29-2001, 11:03 PM
I went to my local K-mart in desparation the other day and while I failed to find any SW figures, I did pick up a few other things. I get to the checkout area and there's ONE checker and a line halfway out the building, so I snoop around and I notice that the express lane appears to be open. As I get closer, it looks like I came to the wrong side of the checkout stand... until I see someone using the next one over - K-mart has added 4 self-checkout lanes! This thing feels a might slower than the lanes with checkers doing the work, and as soon as I started trying to figure the thing out, there were about 20 people in line behind me. Immediately, the one I was about to use had a printer malfunction, so I was now in line to use the only one that was operating. Here's how it worked out:

The previous customer finishes his transaction and leaves, the system resets and you begin by scanning the first item, then rubbing it over the security-measure deactivator, then placing it in a TINY waiting area, and start the scanning process over for the next item. Each item scanned shows on the touchscreen computer a description and price, and the computer reads the price aloud. Now, there's not a lot of room for stuff, so if you have more than 3 items, you'd naturally want to put them in the bags located next to the scanner... however, when I tried doing this, it nagged me for bagging items I had not yet purchased. It asked for coupons (which I had none) and then payment, so, I tried to use my credit card - I swiped it in the regular CC reader and it immediately yelled at me that this didn't work, and made it sound as if the card had automatically been declined (what I neglected to notice was that on the touchscreen, it doesn't automatically take CC payments, you have to hit the small, barely noticable "pay by card" field first) so I whipped out my cash. By this time, the people who had followed me to the self-check station were getting nasty sounding and it wasn't helping that I wasn't familiar with this system. Finally, I shoved several bills in the bill collector and it spit out my change, both coin and bills, and printed out a receipt, it was only NOW that I was allowed to bag my items, which made the line even madder. It was only at this point that I had a chance to look up and notice the security guard glowering at everybody at the self-check line - it was clear he wasn't going to allow an item to go unscanned. The machine also let me know that I could take any items with external security tags to the customer service desk along with my receipt of payment where they would remove them (the customer service deks had a HUGE line all night). Finally, the transaction was complete and I split, listening to the line grumble at the next poor soul behind me.

As soon as I got out of there, I knew this thing was destined to put employees out of a job and make customers' shopping experiences less pleasant (which is really saying something since they're already at K-mart!). However, why they want to start this system right around the big holiday shopping period is beyond me - this store has something like 20 checkout stands and those 4 self-checkout stands are not going to make up for the fact that a store during the holiday rush has 19 closed checkout stands!

11-30-2001, 12:44 AM
The one K-Mart has does suck. They should have it like the grocery stores and have someone there help you out if you need it and take your money when your done.

11-30-2001, 01:06 AM
Actually the K-Mart near me has had the self-checkouts for a while now, and for the most part I like them. Then of course, my K-Mart is always empty because right across the street is a Wal-Mart and a Target that are newer and easier to get to.

For the most part though, K-Mart is my most reliable store around. I think I'm the only one who buys SW figs there, and have gotten most of the POTJ line there.

11-30-2001, 01:42 AM
Thank god we don't have any of those machines here *whew* :)

Rollo Tomassi
11-30-2001, 10:21 AM
pretty soon they won't need ANY employees. Everything will be in giant vending machine type rigs where you swipe your card and it opens up for you to get one item out. Then you take all your purchases to the front and it "correlates" all your purchases onto one bill. Not a soul in sight who works there except maybe the SWAT team that holes up in a security room, waiting for someone to steal something. At which point they drop in the tear gas and come out with tasers ready...

11-30-2001, 10:47 AM
That's how convenient stores are in Japan, everything is automated. Giant vending machines to rule them all, giant vending machines to find them....

Its nuts.

Mandalorian Candidat
11-30-2001, 10:51 AM
Wow, JT. That system sounds like it blows chunks. What's to stop customers from not swiping an item or two if the rent-a-cop isn't around or there isn't a security tag? Sounds like a shoplifter's wet dream to me.

BTW, why is it called K-Mart? What's the "K" for anyway?

11-30-2001, 10:57 AM
Kresge, as in Sebastian Kresge.

Would you like to know more? (http://www.kresge.org/about/)

11-30-2001, 10:12 PM
Rollo, that's kinda how it felt when I left the store, like the only people with jobs anymore would be those keeping us from stealing. It was not a pleasant feeling.

MC, I don't honestly know what they expect to keep folks from stealing. The one I went to is in a fairly poor neighborhood with moderately-high crime and these self-checkout stands are the ones closest to the door! Not only that, but the system can let you buy bulk items, so you weigh them yourself... but what's to stop you from only putting HALF on the scale, or holding the bag so it weighs less?

Swaffy, that is SO wild, now we know the truth! I wonder what Sebastian would think of his chain these days. K-mart is the rock-bottom worst chain in LA now that Woolworth and JJ Newberry's are out of business.

12-01-2001, 12:03 AM
JT, when I was in school in LA one of the popular insults was to say to someone's momma bought them their clothes at Zody's. Zody's was like the South Central equivalent of K-Mart. I doubt they're still around. The one by where I used to work got robbed, literally, nearly every day.

K-Mart seems to be trying to re-invent itself almost every year lately, but always reactively in response to WallyWorld's gobbling up all the discount retail market share. Judging from how empty their stores are everywhere and every time I go to one, while the Wal Marts down the street from them at those same moments are always bustling, I imagine their days are probably numbered.

I probably spend over $3000 a year at Wal Mart, so I'm as guilty as anyone of being an accessory to the murder of the downtown business districts and their mom & pop local small retail businesses. I do sort of fear we may be sowing the seeds of our own economic undoing, in that one day we're going to find that we helped Wal Mart run every other retailer out of business, and then with no competition they will be able to start charging extortionate prices for the things they now discount.

12-01-2001, 02:11 AM
Perhaps, in the future, selling others' wares for profit won't be the basis of "mom & pop stores". Corporate entities are getting bigger and bigger and we don't keep them in check very well (case in point: Hasbro buying Galoob just to dismantle it), but perhaps we shall see mom and pop offering us something that corporations can't offer and then, they'll start turning the tide. But, until then, my wallet is sadly too thin to spend an extra $5 per $12 item just to keep a small business going.

12-01-2001, 08:39 AM
i always thought the K in K-mart stoot for Krap.


those self scanners don't sound too pleasant. if one of them started hasseling me, i'd just leave all my items there and walk out. but the people at the registers aren't much better. most of them are like zombies.

12-01-2001, 04:12 PM
There is one positive aspect. If you want your figures to be kept mint condition then you don't have to have ayone except yourself handle it. Whenever I am in a store with one of those thingsand have a figure, I use it.

12-02-2001, 10:27 PM
derek, they ARE unpleasant, if I wasn't so desparate for the 2 new Gundam figures I was buying, I would have just split. Plus, I didn't even mention that the bulk of the scanner glass was covered with some gross substance that interfered with scanning the items, I had to use the horizontal reflectors to get anything to scan.

Of course, that point about most K-mart employees being totally out of it is accurate too, but at least it's THEIR fault the lines are so long, not mine. ;) Plus, I can't blame them, the K-mart environment seems much more zombifying than Target or Wal-marto.

12-03-2001, 01:29 PM
They have the auto checkouts at my local Wal-Mart Neighborhood stores (for anyone who doesn't know, Wal-Marts Grocery/Drug Store). I find them quite disturbing, and refuse to use them, but one said something kind of funny the other day. A lady was scanning some potatoes and I guess she left them on the thing, because the automated voice thing kept repeating, "Please move your potatoes, please move your potatoes". What a bleak horrible future we live in, where machines demand we remove our potatoes from them.

Mandalorian Candidat
12-03-2001, 03:45 PM
Originally posted by SWAFMAN
JT, when I was in school in LA one of the popular insults was to say to someone's momma bought them their clothes at Zody's. Zody's was like the South Central equivalent of K-Mart. I doubt they're still around. The one by where I used to work got robbed, literally, nearly every day.

Holy crap! I was just thinking about Zody's when I read JT's post about Woolworth's and Newberry's. I remember there used to be one in Norwalk off the 605 and Imperial (it's a Food 4 Less now). I used to get all my SW stuff there. I remember specifically going there when I was about 11 to get the DV figure case.

Yeah, Zody's was pretty funky, but not as bad as Pic-N-Save.

12-03-2001, 04:08 PM
Personally, if the lines aren't too long, I prefer to use self checkout lanes. But at most of the stores I shop at, the self checkout are longer than the standard checkout lanes.

12-03-2001, 11:43 PM
At least it didn't threaten to move her potatoes for her. ;)

MC, the only thing funkier than Pic-N-Save (I'm told the lowest quality of all the Big Lots chains which it's a part of) is the 99 cent Store. Then again, I spent most of my allowance in the mid-80s on Pic-n-Save's LARGE quantity of unsold Star Wars toys. :D

12-04-2001, 07:46 AM
I've told this story before but many of the Targets in my area quit carrying SW a few months ago. (The one Target closest to me started carrying them again last week; they had the Lando/Tessk wave of figure.) In the meantime, I had considerable luck with KMart; that's where I found the last two waves of figures.

12-06-2001, 01:02 AM
That's weird, the only SW figs my Kmart ever has are old Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Tatooine.

I used the self-check again because I had to return the Gundam GM Sniper I bought before, they changed the procedure to have the user bag the item as soon as they scan it, and it NAGS you if you don't bag the item right away. What the heck? Anyway, with all 4 operating, there was no line and it was more convenient, but I looked at the checkers who were busy at work and having personal interaction with the customers, and I felt bad for them because they could lose their customer service job to a machine and a security guard... no wait, the security guard wasn't even there this time. So weird! I guess if they just had a few of these and the rest of the lines still had checkers, I wouldn't feel so cold towards them, but I just know Kmart will want to go further with this, I can feel it. And it's weird, you'd think Kmart would rather weed out the bad employees from the competant ones instead of going to these extremes... but I guess not.

01-22-2002, 12:25 AM
FLASHBACK: Dec. 1, 2001 - SSG forummers predict demise of K-Mart (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/vbportal/forums/showthread.php?postid=23570#post23570)

K-Mart seems to be trying to re-invent itself almost every year lately, but always reactively in response to WallyWorld's gobbling up all the discount retail market share. Judging from how empty their stores are everywhere and every time I go to one, while the Wal Marts down the street from them at those same moments are always bustling, I imagine their days are probably numbered.

January 21, 2002 - NY Times predicts bankruptcy filing for K-Mart (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/22/business/22SHOP.html?ex=1012280400&en=d7946e0e5cbcfa79&ei=5006&partner=ALTAVISTA1)

01-22-2002, 01:23 AM
In the immortal words of Nelson Muntz:

Haw haw!

01-22-2002, 02:08 AM
It would kind of suck if K-Mart went under, since they are one of the more reliable Star Wars toy stockers in my area. Wal-Mart's and Target's section seem to get smaller everyday and I've totally given up on TRU. K-Mart was the only store in the area that regularly got in new figures.

01-22-2002, 04:11 PM
good riddance to k-mart. they have very poor customer service, their stock, if any, is always in a state of disaray, and they are the last place i would shop.

01-23-2002, 07:46 AM
It would suck if KMart closed. I've had more luck there during the holiday season than Wal-Mart, Target and TRU combined. The Targets in my area flucuate too much with their SW section to be considered reliable stops on my regular toy searches. And the closest Wal-Mart to me still have 12" Wattos at regular price collecting dust!

master jedi
01-23-2002, 10:41 PM
I heard K-Mart went bankrupt recently. No wonder because k-mart sucks anyway. Everything there is higher priced there.
One of the last times I was there they had 1 really beat up TPM figure there for $7 bucks. What the heck is up with that?

01-24-2002, 07:43 AM
KMart filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday. It doesn't mean the company will go out of business like Service Merchandise. What will probably happen is, some of the less profitable stores will close and efforts will be shifted to the better, more successful stores.

I've mentioned before, I'd better luck at KMart finding newer figures than Wal-Mart and Target combined this holiday season. Target is too hit and miss anymore.

01-25-2002, 08:38 AM
K-Mart is good in my area for stocking older figures.Well after the
Ep1 line started,I found a ton of POTF2 figures for $5.99.Also,they
have many new waves there because people arent as interested
at my local K-Mart.I won't be sad though if K-Mart goes out of business.Wal-Mart and Target always have better stocked
sections and selections.

Lowly Bantha Cleaner
01-26-2002, 11:05 AM
Personally I'd be a bit saddened if the K-mart in my city went under. For the longest time it was the only store in my area to stock Star Wars. It wasn't until 1995 when Wal-Mart moved in my city. Since then, I have been getting most of my figures from that store and I have watched K-mart go down the tubes. But the K-mart brings back a little nostalgia everytime I go in there, because they have the same mini merry-go-round there that I used to ride in as a kid and the same K-mart family restaurant that I fondly remembering dining at many times as well.

04-06-2002, 09:08 PM
I used self checkout for the first time at Wal-Mart last night and it was a bit weird. I first felt like the machine was yelling at me, it was a loud and very direct voice. The scanning procedure was sweet, that might come in handy if I am taking carded SW product up to the registers ;). I admit to being a bit confused by the payment system though . . . it wanted loose change first, and then bills. But since there are 2 separate payment slots, they have 2 separate change returns. Overall though, it wasn't bad. I might use it again. :)

04-07-2002, 10:39 PM
I found myself using it again at K-mart recently and while I still dislike the general idea, it seems that with the announcement of financial disaster for the big retailer, their employees have become angry and rarely interested in working, so it was my only choice. All in all, if I have to do checkout myself, maybe they need to lower the dang prices.