Alex, a Walmart cashier, says she was happy to come in to work on Monday and see seven brand new self-checkout machines in the store.
She even enjoys helping customers navigate the new machines.
“It can be a little frustrating times,” says Alex, who asked to be referred to under a pseudonym. “It can be really busy trying to help someone, but I’m pretty confident that over time, people will get used to it.”
Her customers, however, have been staunchly divided.
“Some people are very happy about it, and they’re able to do it at their own pace and not worry about holding up a line,” she says.
Others are more critical in their comments, saying, “It’s not my job to scan things and pack my own bags —it’s gonna take a while for it to not get to me.”
The new machines have caused a stir in the community and on social media since their first day on the job on April 25. One Facebook post on the subject shared to a local Yellowknife group had almost 80 comments as of Wednesday afternoon. Some posters worried about the machines not working properly or cashiers losing their hours, while others were hopeful self-checkout would cut down on wait times.
Melissa Ferrier-Pye says she had a positive first experience with a large order, and that the staff were attentive and helpful. “There where 4 cashiers there to help assist with anything,” she says. “Everything went smoothly.”
Colby Jenna-Lee is also a fan of self-checkout.
“They are so much less of a hassle, easier and faster to scan things in, and I don’t have to worry about a slow line up as much,” she said. “They work very well. No problems so far. I will definitely continue to use them as much as possible.”
Jon Rumley, Walmart Canada’s Manager of Corporate Affairs, says the reaction to the new machines at the Yellowknife location has been “positive so far.”
“We continue to offer belted checkout lanes at our Yellowknife store and try to ensure that a cashier option is always available for customers who prefer to check out with an associate.”
Rumley says the change isn’t expected to lead to any layoffs.“
In fact, our Yellowknife store is currently hiring for 15 positions,” he said.