Unsolved Mystery: How Will Bag Fee Work With Self-Checkout?
The District of Columbia is about a month away from having to pay five cents a pop for its plastic bags, and some details are yet to be worked out.
Such as: What about the self-checkout facilities increasingly populating city supermarkets—how are they going to work with the bag fee? After all, there's no human to control the bagging process there. Who's to stop some earth-hating customer from triple bagging his junk and absconding with 45 cents worth of free polyethylene?
Human oversight? Defeats the point of self-checkout. Honor system? Would certainly be dishonored. Complicated technological contraption? That would be complicated.
City Desk phoned the two largest operators of self-checkout facilities in the District—Safeway and Giant. Neither, according to their respective spokespersons, have yet figured out how to implement the bag fee at self-checkouts.
Safeway spokesperson Craig Muckle describes a behind-the-scenes Manhattan Project-like effort at his employer. Corporate executives have had several meetings on the matter, he says, and are close to working out a solution.
Though Muckle says he's been in on the talks, he declines any of the possibilities in detail—though he does mention that a solution icould pontentially involve human employees who are currently tasked with overseeing the self-checkout stands at Safeway stores.
Same goes for Giant. That dominant local grocer is also undecided on a solution to the self-checkout quandary, spokesperson Kim Brown says: "We are working on a couple of different options, but we'll definitely have a system in place."
Brown, too, declines to details what those options might be. But she gives some parameters: "We're hoping that it's going to be simple for customers to use and easy for us to track."
Read: They have no idea! PANIC!