1. Headline
  1. Headline
The sun sets amid thunderstorms outside Newark, N.J.
By
msnbc.com contributor
updated 7/10/2011 8:03:39 PM ET 2011-07-11T00:03:39

One of the nation's major grocery store chains is eliminating self-checkout lanes in an effort to encourage more human contact with its customers.

  1. Stories from
    1. Kids Sing the National Anthem into Fans at Walmart, Are Real Heroes (VIDEO)
    2. From EW: Melissa Joan Hart to Guest Star on The Mysteries of Laura
    3. How Does a Celeb Hairstylist Create So Many Great Looks? With This $10 Find
    4. Surprise! Kim Kardashian Is Back to Brunette
    5. Let's Talk About Salt-N-Pepa's Cooking Show

Albertsons LLC, which operates 217 stores in seven Western and Southern states, will eliminate all self-checkout lanes in the 100 stores that have them and will replace them with standard or express lanes, a spokeswoman said.

"We just want the opportunity to talk to customers more," Albertsons spokeswoman Christine Wilcox said. "That's the driving motivation."

Privately held Albertsons LLC operates stores in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. To find a store, click here.

The move does not affect stores operated by grocery giant Supervalu, which operates more than 450 Albertsons stores in 16 states including Nevada, southern California and the Pacific Northwest.

Wilcox said the replacement of automated checkout lanes with human-operated lanes likely would mean more hours available for employees to work.

The move marks a surprising step back from a trend that began about a decade ago, when supermarkets began installing self-checkout lanes, touting them as a solution to long lines. Now some grocery chains are questioning whether they are really good for business.

Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the U.S. (with some 2,500 outlets), is experimenting with removing all self-checkouts in at least one Texas store, reports StorefrontBacktalk, an industry publication. Publix, another major chain, is "on the fence" about self-checkout, according to a report quoted in the story.

Self-checkout industry leader NCR Corp., which counts Albertsons among its clients, does not see the grocery chain's move as a threat to its business, said company spokesman Cameron Smith.

He said more than 150 retailers in 22 countries use the company's self-checkout lanes, and not just for groceries. The market is projected to grow by about 15 percent annually, he said.

"Ultimately, customers appreciate the choice of self-checkout," he said.

Do you agree? Weigh in below.

© 2013 msnbc.com.  Reprints

More on TODAY.com

  1. Getty Images file

    'Holy cow!' Drew Barrymore talks 'saggy and weird' post-baby body

    3/26/2015 4:23:11 PM +00:00 2015-03-26T16:23:11
  1. Nick Briggs

    'Downton Abbey' — and the Dowager Countess! — is saying goodbye

    3/26/2015 5:25:05 PM +00:00 2015-03-26T17:25:05
  1. Matt Murray (Nbcuniversal)

    'Happy' dancing kid at steals the spotlight at basketball tournament

    3/26/2015 9:23:23 PM +00:00 2015-03-26T21:23:23
  1. AP; Getty Images

    1D disaster: Without Zayn, Harry and fans break down

    3/26/2015 12:21:37 PM +00:00 2015-03-26T12:21:37
  1. Want to be 105? Check your genes

    3/26/2015 10:12:29 PM +00:00 2015-03-26T22:12:29
  1. teddysphotos/Instagram

    Watch Ed Sheeran surprise couple with wedding serenade

    3/26/2015 6:35:58 PM +00:00 2015-03-26T18:35:58