One lawyer accused Walmart of “shifting the job onto the consumer” and called for limiting the number of self-checkout stations in its stores.
Rhode Island Rep. Megan Cotter argues self-checkout is a way to get unpaid customers to do the work of paid workers.
“When Walmart makes huge profits by not having cashiers and leaving consumers to work without any profit, there is no profit for consumers,” Cotter told WLNE.
Cotter argues that self-checkout lanes will lead to lower labor costs for businesses, leading to fewer job opportunities.
State officials are proposing legislation to stop grocery chains from installing more than eight self-checkout lanes in a single store.
The bill also aims to reward shoppers who use self-checkout with perks for bagging their own groceries.
According to Cotter, customers get a 10% discount when they buy 10 or more items.
The bill reportedly already has bipartisan support, but has yet to be taken up by the commission.
A bill must first be introduced, after which the Speaker of the House or Senate will refer the bill to the appropriate committee for decision in accordance with the RI General Assembly.
Other concerns have also been raised about self-checkout, such as increased theft.
In places like Dixon, Pennsylvania, just north of Scranton, police witness shoplifting on a daily basis, Commissioner William Bilinsky told WNEP.
The prevalence of self-checkout systems at big-box stores like Walmart has increased the temptation to simply not pay for items, he said.
“The self-checkout counter is where most thefts occur,” an anonymous Walmart employee in Spokane, Wash., told Insider.
Several shoppers contacted by the outlet said the same thing.
This is mainly due to lack of oversight.
“There will be more opportunities for dishonest people to be dishonest,” Matt Kelley, a loss prevention expert at security firm LiveView Technologies, told the outlet.
Self-checkout systems also lead to many accidental thefts, with customers unknowingly bagging items without calling.
A major retailer’s boss has warned that theft-related incidents could have long-term consequences for shoppers.
Last month, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon acknowledged that theft is at a historically high level.
He told CNBC:
Walmart and Target have resorted to storing items behind plexiglass or locking items in cabinets.