10 Self-Checkout Secrets


Most cashiers want people to know these 10 self-checkout secrets. After all, self-checkout is nice, but it’s not perfect.

Don’t bother taking coupons to self-checkout


If you’re trying to get through the self-checkout quickly this isn’t the way. One of the lesser-known checkout secrets is that attendants have to verify your coupons, so you’re better off going through the regular line.

Remember to push the “I brought my own bag” button


Ever since stores started charging for bags it’s been better to bring your own. But don’t make the mistake of placing your own bag in the bagging area without hitting this button, or the machine will think you haven’t rung anything up.

Scan your items in order


Out of the several checkout secrets, this one is more for convenience than anything. People try to go too fast and start creating errors that the attendant has to fix.

Don’t forget to put in the PLU code


A lot of fruits and vegetables look the same or might have a different price, so it’s best to remember the PLU code. Once you punch that number in, the machine knows exactly what to charge.

Pay attention to how many items you have


The typical number of items allowed in the self-checkout line is around 15 to 20. Any more than that and you’ll be better off in a regular line since you’ll take longer and hold everyone up.

Place your stuff in the bagging area, even if you’re not using bags


There are some stores where the bagging area doesn’t matter as much, but many of them still have a sensor that detects items that have been scanned. Keep in mind if you don’t place your items in the bagging area the machine could read this as an error.

If you’re shopping with someone, use them to help


It doesn’t hurt to ask your partner or child to help out when you’re trying to bag your groceries. It makes the process go a little quicker.

Pay attention to the “Card Only” signs


Several stores do have self-checkout machines that are card or cash-only, and they typically put up signs. However, if you’re not watching you can easily breeze past this and scan your groceries before realizing that you don’t have the desired method of payment.

Keep an eye on which machine is open


The thing about self-checkout is that you do need to pay attention. People tend to get salty if the person in front of them doesn’t look up to notice that one or more machines are empty and ready to use.

Understand which barcode to scan


This can get a little confusing since some items have multiple barcodes for various reasons. Thankfully, a lot of machines will refuse to scan the wrong barcode without causing an error.


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