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Self-Checkout Lines and Machines on the Rocks

Love it or hate it. Self-checkout machines continue to gain popularity among grocery and department stores. Noted for self-efficiency and speed of checkout among shoppers, management teams praise the machines for reduced operating costs, while increasing retail space. But on the other hand, self-checkout machines are loathed for technology difficulties, potential theft and little to no customer interaction with store clerks. And how about this – increased alcohol-consumption among minors? 


We’re not making this up. Lawmakers from across the country continue to drum up supportive voices who believe the self-service checkout lines and machines we’ve all grown to love (or hate) contribute to the illegal sale of age-sensitive products among minors. More states are considering (if they haven’t already) locking down the sale of alcohol when purchased via self-checkout lines. 


Take California and Washington*, for example. Both states in recent years have uncorked specific rules and regulations regarding the sale of alcohol via the self-checkout line at grocery stores and other outlets selling age-sensitive products. In California, the self-checkout line isn’t even an option for customers purchasing alcohol. Instead customers must make the purchase through face-to-face transactions with store clerks to ensure validation of identification and age requirements. In Washington, and a handful of other states, if a customer attempts to purchase alcohol through the self-checkout line, machines are programed to freeze the transaction until a store employee verifies the age of the buyer. Research indicates additional states are considering a ban on alcohol sales at self-checkout stands.** 


Is there a limit to what self-service checkout machines can do in your state? The rules and regulations of alcohol sales vary by state; protect your business by knowing your state’s laws regarding alcohol sales, as well as any pending changes. If you have questions or want to call upon The BARS Program for help, please contact us at or call 1-877-540-5500. 


*Alcohol can't be sold at self-checkout lines, SF Chronicle

New laws take effect in state Sunday, The Daily Herald

**A ban on alcohol sales at Oregon supermarket self-checkout stands, The Oregonian

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