Vermont convenience store rolls out self-checkout

Published: Oct. 9, 2019 at 5:27 PM EDT
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Self-checkout systems are now common in larger stores like Hannaford, Walmart and Target but you don't see them much at convenience stores -- until now.

When the Maplefields in Johnson opened two years ago it had a self-checkout system, but they didn't start using it until about a month and-a-half ago.

"Nobody in this area, nobody in our business was sort of doing this. We were really one of the first in the country to bring this sort of technology to the table," said Otto Hansen, the store's manager.

There are 45 Maplefields throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and New York, but only three have express self-checkout. It's ideal for people who want to get in and out quickly. For those who aren't embracing the change, there is a staff member on hand during peak hours to walk you through the process.

"Certain people are intimidated by certain technologies out there and having someone out there to demystify that and walk you through that process is comforting" said Brian LaBrie, the express self-checkout manager.

The express self-checkout is much like the self-express order that Maplefields has had in place for many years. All you do is press a button and then you would order. The self-checkouts accept credit and debit cards and Apple Pay. The only things customers cannot checkout themselves are lottery tickets and gas.

Carol Gargon says she will use it in the future. "It was just very impressive the new kiosks they have and you could checkout yourself -- and it's Johnson hitting the big time," she said

Some people aren't so keen on it though. "I will use it rather than wait in a really long line. But having grown up having people check out my stuff, they can check it out while I bag it, I don't care about that. It just adds another layer of complexity I don't want to deal with" said Aleks Moore-Czaja.

So if you don't want to, you don't have to use it all. "For those who want to interact with a staff member, that is never going to go away. That will always be there and we don't discourage that," Hansen said.

We only saw one person use the self-checkout during our visit. But consensus among those we spoke to is they would much rather use it but they were buying gas so it wasn't allowed.

Once the express self-checkouts are running smoothly for a while, Maplefields hopes to put them in all its stores.