California Law Could Eliminate Self-Checkout From Some Stores

The proposed bill aims to regulate machines to reduce theft and boost employment.

May 07, 2024

A new proposed California law could make some stores get rid of self-checkout, reported ABC News. The law aims to change regulations for the machines to reduce theft and boost employment.

“The hope is that we can reduce the amount of theft that happens. That's a much better solution than punishing theft after it occurs,” said Cristine Soto DeBerry, founder and executive director of Prosecutors Alliance of California. The bill is co-sponsored by the California Labor Federation, the Prosecutors Alliance of California and the United Food and Commercial Workers, Western States Council.

If passed, retailers would have to meet certain regulations for the machines, including upping the number of employees monitoring the stations.

According to the Sacramento Bee, “Grocery and drug stores would be required to provide at least one cashier-run checkout station, and self-service checkout stations would be limited to no more than two such stations per one employee monitor, who must not have any other duties assigned. In addition, the bill would require self-service checkout stations to be limited to 10 items or fewer.”

“One of the main deterrents from theft is that there are staff paying attention in the store to your activities,” said Soto DeBerry.

The California Chamber of Commerce is opposing the bill, saying it would hurt business.

“For example, the grocery space, where they're operating on pretty thin margins. … When you're having to make these drastic adjustments or adjust staffing ratios, that can be a big cost impact,” said Ashley Hoffman, senior policy advocate of California Chamber of Commerce.

If businesses don’t meet the proposed requirements, they would need to get rid of self-checkout all together.

Earlier this year, Amazon said it would step back from its Just Walk Out cashier-less technology that relied on cameras and sensors capturing what consumers left with.

Retail giant Walmart is also removing self-checkout from some stores, as Target and Dollar General also scale back on the number of self-checkout machines available.