Self-service checkouts are increasingly common in supermarkets and chain stores, not to mention at airports. Lifehacker reader and frequent commenter 66biscuits offers a useful tip for ensuring your groceries (or tickets) are recognised quickly.
66biscuits explains that it's all about having sufficient light:
I've found that for laser scanners, holding your item in such a way that as much light as possible falls on the barcode itself seems to help. It seems more consistently successful to me. I reason that more light increases the contrast of that which is being scanned, aiding the process.
I used to work on airline check-in and occasionally provided assistance to those trying to use the self-service kiosks (a little ironic), and found that if people got out of the way of the overhead lights while trying a scan they would have more success. I've used this same principle since then and it seems to work everywhere there are problematic scanners.
An obvious-but-still-worth-mentioning additional point: check the item and locate where the barcode is. I often see people frantically waving goods at my local supermarket, blissfully unaware that the code is pointing towards them and invisible to the scanner.
Got any additional tips for getting through self-service checkouts quickly? Share them in the comments. Thanks 66biscuits!