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Big (Wh)Y: Closing Self-Service Checkout Counters

Area shoppers weigh in on the departure of self-service options.

Apparently you can't miss what you don't use.

Supermarket chain Big Y announced earlier this month that it plans to phase out the use of self-service checkout lanes across all of its stores. That would apply to 61 locations across Connecticut, including the three local branches in , and .

Though many factors have been cited for the announcement, the chief motivation appears fairly simple: customers weren't using the self service lanes. According to a Huffington Post article, market studies showed that only 16 percent of 2010 supermarket transactions took place at a self service counter.

Local shoppers confirmed that trend.

"I never use them," said Newtown resident Renee Obel, who declined to provide her age. "Maybe some of the younger generation like it. But I imagine the reason they're closing [the lanes] is that probably no one uses them. And I usually like to talk to someone, too."

"It makes no difference to me," said Don Elmer, 79, of Newtown. "I sure don't use them."

The lack of self service lane traffic appears largely attributable to the fact that many customers enjoy interacting with an actual employee instead of a machine, feeling it makes for a better shopping experience and actually cuts down on errors and time.

"I think it's a good idea," said Bob Haig, 78, of Southbury. "I don't think they help save any time, especially on larger orders."

Haig pointed out another benefit of closing the self service counters.

"You know, it might actually create more jobs for people, too," he said, referring to the need to add more cashiers to accommodate the change.

Theft may also have compelled Big Y to make the change, according to a Hartford Courant report, which stated that a significant amount of theft (both intentional and not) occurred in the self service lanes.

Despite the apparently low usage and customer ambivalence, local store managers were tight-lipped about the impending change. Officials from local stores refused to comment on the matter, directing inquiries to their corporate office amid concerns of public backlash stemming from the announcement.

Calls placed to the company's corporate offices over the last two weeks were not returned.

Big Y first instituted the self service lanes in 2003 and is one of a number of national supermarket chains either considering or implementing the lane closures in the near future.

mike murphy October 03, 2011 at 09:52 PM
well then all i can say is good for you and you make your parents proud for teaching you what really matters in life
Christine E. October 03, 2011 at 10:04 PM
What is this you're going on about now?
mike murphy October 03, 2011 at 10:07 PM
her name ispatt. a part is something that makes up something bigger. i have stated since my 1st post that i don't use self checkout because i don't like them. where have i been a hypocrite i've stuck to my comment i do not discriminate against anyone. the younger generation discriminates against themselves by the language that they use with no regard who may be offended by a sentence in which every 2nd word begins with F part never told me to come into a new generation. she crossed he line when she brought my wife into a conversation. my generation would never bring wives or children into a discussion. that my dear is crossing the line. i do speak highly of myself because others speak highly of me and i also am very proud of what i have accomplished. i don't have a bone to pick with everyone just the idiots. i'm not quite as old as you think and no where as feeble as you wish. i don't know your age but i think you are quite young so i wouldn't worry about how you will act at my age, for the way the world is today you may not live long enough to reach my age. so ha ha ha right back at ya baby
DawnV October 03, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Sounds like someone forgot to take their meds today,,,
Christian Camerota October 03, 2011 at 10:20 PM
We want to thank everyone for offering their thoughts. At this time, we will be closing the comment thread. But stay tuned for more on the Big Y lane closures in the coming days.

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