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Why Trader Joe’s Just Says No to Self-Checkouts

Grocer’s new top execs view tech as too much work for shoppers and beneficial to workers

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Self-checkout terminals have made major inroads into grocery stores in recent years, fueled by the demand for quick, contactless shopping trips. And while that trend is slated to continue big-time in coming years, don’t expect Trader Joe’s to jump on the self-serve bandwagon, reports Grocery Dive.

In Trader Joe’s most recent podcast episode, CEO Bryan Palbaum and President Jon Basalone — both of whom are new to their roles — said the grocer has no plans to equip stores with self-checkout stations.

Palbaum said he doesn’t want to burden shoppers with the task of bagging groceries. “Self-checkout is work,” he said. “I don’t want that.”

Palbaum and Basalone also noted that keeping self-checkout terminals out of its stores is also beneficial for workers, as it preserves their jobs. This message comes as Trader Joe’s has faced a unionization drive at some of its stores over the past year., Grocery Dive notes.

The grocery chain is known for striving to maintain a traditional in-store experience, including not offering online shopping. Trader Joe’s, its execs say, prefers to focus on product innovation and opening new stores.

“That’s where the excitement comes from. You know, it’s not crazy new ideas like the robot in the aisle that answers questions and helps to clean up spills,” said Basalone.

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