One of the nation's major grocery store chains is eliminating self-checkout lanes in an effort to encourage more human contact with its customers.
Albertsons LLC, which operates 217 stores in seven Western and Southern states, will eliminate all self-checkout lanes in the 100 stores that have them and will replace them with standard or express lanes, a spokeswoman said.
But this doesn't affect Washington or Idaho Albertsons stores. The affected stores losing the lanes belong to the "other" Albertsons, called Albertsons LLC, which operates in Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico and Utah. That group came out of a 2006 sale that broke apart the original company.
Stores in the Northwest not making a change are Albertsons-branded stores also, but they belong to the company based in Boise that operates under the name Albertsons Supervalu. (Here is the Wikipedia summary of that company).
That company says its checkout lanes are very popular. "Our customers say they love them," said Alberstons Supervalu spokeswoman Lilia Rodriguez.
Self-checkout was launched years ago to promote speedier visits to stores.
But in recent years the idea began going through review. "We just want the opportunity to talk to customers more," Albertsons LLC spokeswoman Christine Wilcox said. "That's the driving motivation."