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Check Yourself Out

The popularity of Costco, Pak'n'Save, Food Source, and other warehouse shopping stores demonstrate that customers are willing to do a lot of the work themselves to save money. The bottleneck, of course, comes at the checkout. The lines get long, and if you have a slow cashier, much of the productivity you've saved gets eaten up in waiting.

Some conventional stores are now offering a system where you do some of the work yourself by scanning items as you put them in the cart. When you get to the checkout, you return the scanner to a docking port, go to an express pay station, and you're done. (Of course, no one has solved the problem of self-packing or self-unloading groceries yet.)


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