Walmart Self-checkout sign
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
March 20, 2024 ·  4 min read

Walmart Shoppers Might Soon Have to Pay to Use Self-Checkout

Walmart’s self-checkout has sparked controversy from the moment it was announced. Some customers felt that it was an unfortunate way to save money because it limited jobs. Others were unhappy because they felt like they were then performing a “job” for the conglomerate for free. Yet another group of people found joy in shorter wait times, and not having to interact with as many people. Most recently, the company made an announcement that once again has people talking.

Walmart recently announced that customers may be charged for using their self-checkout. While not all of Walmart self-checkout lanes will be this way, more and more shoppers are noticing a rise in changes. As a result, the internet is buzzing.

The senior communications manager, Kelsey Bohl, had a lot of interesting things to say regarding the Walmart self-checkout lane closures, in a statement shared with TODAY, “From time-to-time, our stores adjust the use of staffed checkouts and self-checkouts. For example, a store might start or end the day with staffed checkouts. As the number of shoppers and associate staffing increases, these stores open self-checkout registers to manage the increased customer flow. This process isn’t new,” explained Bohl.

Walmart self-checkout sign with a cart, red shoes, and a blue t-shirt in the background.
Photo Credit: Tatted Pizza | Reddit

Paying for Walmart Self-Checkout

She further disclosed that the enforcement of this new policy will be left up to each location. In other words, discretion will be up to each manager and what they feel makes the most sense. While some customers already feel that there is a lack of employees to help keep things running, she’s assured the public that there will be more cashier’s staffed to compensate for the self-checkout lane closures. Concluding, “I want to point out that this is not new; it’s not a new operating process. I feel like it stems from Reddit and social posts, and that’s why it’s bubbling up right now, but it’s not a new thing,” she emphasized.

Less than a month ago, a post was shared on Reddit. It showed a picture of a posted sign that one shopper noticed. The sign explains Walmart self-checkout lanes will only be available to customers who have “Scan & Go” or are Spark shoppers.

Meanwhile, people on TikTok have also begun discussing the changes. “This is the second time this week that I’ve gone to Walmart, and this is a different Walmart, and it’s been right about this time, and all their self-checkouts are closed, and they’ve started to open up the regular lines again.”

Read More: 30+ Photos That Only “The People of Walmart” Can Pull Off

Membership Offerings

Many aren’t looking forward to the inconveniences that will likely stem from these changes. In many cases, they may not even continue and in many cases likely won’t continue their patronage. However, many are actually interested in “Scan & Go“. A membership program that costs $98 annually, or less than $10 a month and includes various benefits such as gas savings, online ordering and free delivery, and video streaming. While Spark is a third party that allows customers to place orders, then drivers accept the order and deliver it, much like Door Dash or UberEATS.

It seems that Walmart isn’t the only company that has changed its self-checkout lanes. Nor is it the only company learning to navigate in an online world in order to generate enough revenue to turn a profit. There have been rumors that Target is also planning to offer memberships to its customers, with added benefits. Some have even speculated about a change in policy that limits the hours in which the self-checkout lanes are open. However, a Target representative was unable to confirm or deny the rumors. Regardless, major retailers like Aldi, Target, and Whole Foods have seen a massive drop in sales and has caused almost $100 billion dollars in stores all across the board.

Walmart Self-Checkout Faces Changes

Walmart has been making several changes to its business model, seemingly hoping to cut costs while increasing profits. As a result, the conglomerate introduced the Walmart self-checkout to save time and money—eventually, the making the decision to have only Walmart self-checkout lanes, eliminating the need for cashiers. Sadly, the company then eliminated thousands of jobs, making Walmart feel even more like a dystopia. While they weren’t the only company to increase the self-checkout lanes, they are among the top candidates for companies that have lost the most in revenue. It’s estimated that in 2022, Walmart lost around $6 billion in revenue due to theft. This shift will undoubtedly deter some theft, but it’s quite likely Walmart will deter some paying customers in the process.

In any case, Bohl has stated that the change in Walmart’s self-checkout policies has nothing to do with a desire to combat theft or “shrinkage.” Therefore, it’s unclear what the motives are behind the conglomerate’s decision to make these changes. However,

Read More: Why You Should Consider Not Buying Butter from Aldi


  1. Plus Membership.” Walmart
  2. Walmart Shoppers May Soon Have To Pay A Fee To Use Self-Checkout.Bored Panda. Binitha Jacob and Karina Babenok. March 14, 2024.
  3. Is Walmart’s self-checkout changing? Here’s what to know.” TODAY. Sarah Lemire. March 7, 2024.