PCC grocery stores to remove all self-checkout kiosks

Jan 28, 2019, 5:40 PM | Updated: 9:12 pm

Self checkout PCC Markets...

(Flickr Creative Commons, Pin Add)

(Flickr Creative Commons, Pin Add)

PCC Community Markets has made the decision to remove all the self-checkout kiosks from their stores. They’ve already taken them out of their Fremont, Greenlake, Aurora, and Redmond stores, and the rest will be removed by summer.

RELATED: Seattle’s PCC market to stop selling chinook to help orcas

“We stopped putting self-checks in our stores in 2016 with the new stores,” said Heather Snavely, VP of marketing at PCC. “Last year we renamed ourselves PCC Community Markets and one of the things we did was look at the relationship our shoppers have with our cashiers and our staff. And what we realized was a kiosk doesn’t create community or connections. So we wanted to take those out so that when someone comes into our stores, they have a human connection with someone and an interaction that will make the experience more special.”

Removing technology from a grocery store is exactly the opposite of what many chains are doing. At cashier-free Amazon Go — which has locations in Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco — you can grab a sandwich and a soda and just walk out the door. Your Amazon account is automatically charged as you exit.

At some Walmart and Kroger stores, shoppers can use phone cameras to scan items and pay. And at some big chains, robots are already being used to scan store shelves and alert workers when things need to be restocked.

Snavely says PCC customers weren’t complaining about self-checkout, but since the removal they’re getting mostly positive feedback. I asked some people around town what they prefer.

“I typically prefer to have human interaction. It’s usually faster not having to find where to scan. Especially if you’re buying alcohol, it just makes things a lot easier, too,” said one person.

“I actually like the self-checkout because it’s convenient, you’re in a hurry. I just like to scan stuff and be done. At least have both options,” said another.

“Yes, I use self-checkout. I kind of like it but it’s usually actually almost slower than the regular checkout,” a third shopper told me.

That has been my experience as well.

RELATED: Why many Seattle area QFC’s have altered late night hours

At one chain supermarket in particular, almost every time I use the self-checkout, I end up needing a cashier’s assistance anyway. Either the machine doesn’t detect my bag, or a barcode won’t scan, or they have to come over and check my ID. I’d rather wait in line for a cashier.

“We didn’t love it,” Snavely said. “That was part of the reason we moved away from it as well, for those very same reasons you mentioned. That, for us, wasn’t a great customer service experience and that’s why we wanted to move away from them and go to express or full service.”

Snavely says removing the self-checkout machines won’t create any new jobs, they’ll just shuffle existing employees around. They’ll also build new express checkout lanes to replace the kiosks and keep the lines moving.

PCC says its emphasis is on community. But even if you don’t want more social interaction at the grocery store, at least you won’t be looking at yet another screen.

“I do believe that people are so much on their phones, so much time in front of screens that they do want a moment when they aren’t in front of a screen,” said Snavely. “Even at the grocery store to have to stand in front of the screen and push buttons just isn’t a great experience. And I do think that you’ll see more things like this moving forward. That people want to unplug from technology when they can.”

Rachel Belle

Rachel Belle...

Rachel Belle

Belle: This isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later

After 20 years in news radio, I'm leaving my post at KIRO Newsradio to focus on making my podcast "Your Last Meal" full-time!

7 months ago

emily post etiquette...

Rachel Belle

Emily Post’s “Etiquette” goes modern: Advice on pronouns, hugging

In 1922, Emily Post published her very first etiquette book. Since then, 18 editions have been published by five generations of Posts.

7 months ago


Rachel Belle

Combat winter blues with friluftsliv, the Nordic tradition of being outside

Friluftsliv is part of the culture in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark, places that are darker and colder than Seattle in winter.

7 months ago

small talk...

Rachel Belle

Most Americans hate small talk, but Seattleites continue talking about weather

Out of 1,000 people surveyed, 71% said they prefer silence to small talk and 89% of Gen Z use their phones to avoid making small talk.

7 months ago

(Igordoon Primus/Unsplash)...

Rachel Belle

Seattle sperm bank in desperate need of Black donors

Only 2% of American sperm donors are Black men, which is causing a lot of heartache for women specifically looking for a Black donor. 

7 months ago

Photo courtesy of Rosie Grant...

Rachel Belle

Woman cooking recipes engraved on gravestones says they’re all ‘to die for’

You know that recipe your family requests at every holiday, potluck and birthday party? What if you had it engraved on your tombstone?

7 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

PCC grocery stores to remove all self-checkout kiosks