Much has been said about the 'explosion' of self-checkout options in stores such as Walmart, Target, Fred Meyer Lowes, and others.  Following a bit of a boom, it now appears that maybe it's being rolled back a little. But now the wave appears to be spreading to convenience stores.

 Circle K in Kennewick puts in a self-checkout lane

To save money, it's understandable for retail stores to put in self-checkouts. Most of them are limited to 15 items or less, and they can be convenient. However, that concept might not be expected in a convenience store. With the growing issue of shoplifting and theft, especially in WA state, the idea of an unmanned checkout could be interesting.

The big reason self-checkout is being re-evaluated is due to shoplifting and theft by consumers who don't swipe all of their merchandise. It is becoming more expensive every month.

But it hasn't stopped at least one company.  The new Circle K at 10th and Union in Kennewick, which opened about 2 years ago, now has a self-checkout line. The old store was completely leveled, and one twice as big was built in its place, complete with a carwash and 4 times the number of gas pumps.

  New self-checkout doesn't involve a traditional scanner

Unlike most stores, where you swipe the bar code across the surface of the checkout counter, at this Circle K, you place your items under a device that scans from overhead. It offers cash or card options.  Some of the Maverik locations have it, but it's on a much smaller scale, not like this retail-based Circle K option. And, it does not appear to have affected Maverik staffing.

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Our picture is courtesy of A Cook of Kennewick, who frequently stops there. According to regular customers, when the store opened, they had as many as four workers at a time during busy day shifts, now, there seem to be never more than two.

Time will tell if the self-checkout concept works for convenience stores.

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