Self-checkout at the supermarket can be very convenient. If you want to speed up your self-scanning game, here’s a tip: Stop looking for the barcode, just swipe it. If you get good at it, you can walk out with a cart of shopping in less time than it would take a checkout assistant to scan and bag them for you.
Photo by Jay Gooby
Of course, the reason many of us use self-checkout is to avoid lines, or because we only have a few items (or to avoid human interaction), but whether you have one item or a hundred, you could probably speed things up a bit. Vox has a list of great tips to help turn you into the self-checkout version of The Flash, but this one stood out to us.
This is the most important way to speed up your self-checkout time, by far: never examine your item for a barcode again. Just run it across the scanner. If it doesn’t scan, your hand is covering the barcode or it’s facing you, so just flip it and scan again.
…This works because each register has a “scan zone” that will search the whole product for a code. Think of it less like a laser hitting the code and more like a field that you pass the product through. NCR even tells cashiers to use the “power slide” — they recommend extending your arm like you’re shaking hands with the product.
Vox spoke to Jennie P. Johnson, a Human Factors Engineer at NCR, the world’s largest self-checkout vendor. She explained that when people hunt for barcodes, they generally spend 2-3 seconds just looking, often for nothing, since the barcode was in a place the scanner would have caught it anyway. Overall, 2-3 seconds doesn’t sound like a lot, but it will add up over the course of a whole checkout order, something you’ve probably noticed if you’ve ever been in line behind someone agonising over each item before swiping it.
Long story short, just pick it up and pass it over the scanner. If it doesn’t scan, flip it over and do it again. Done.
Hit the link below for even more self-checkout pro-tips.