Costco CEO Craig Jelinek is eliminating self-service checkout from stores because he says his employees do a better job.
“They are great for low-volume warehouses, but we don’t want to be in the low-volume warehouse business,” he told Brad Stone at Bloomberg Businessweek.
Costco has tested self-checkout in the past. Jelinek told Businessweek that human cashiers are more efficient.
His decision comes at a time when competitor Wal-Mart is adding 10,000 self-service checkout systems to stores.
Self-service checkouts have traditionally been seen as a threat to retail cashiers because they’re cheaper than manpower. It’s not clear whether Wal-Mart’s machines will displace workers.
Retailers in general “see their employees as a cost to be minimized and typically end up under investing in them,” Zeynep Ton, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, told Businessweek.
Costco is known for having among the happiest employees in the retail industry because of its superior wages and benefits.
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