Finances & Money

The Self Checkout Lane Tried To Steal $85 From Me!

self check out lane, grocery tips, grocery shopping

I love the self checkout lane. I use it because the lines are usually short as many people are either afraid of it, or simply don’t want to do the work themselves. I use it because I have more control over the checkout process, able to more easily ensure things are weighed and scanned correctly. But why, self checkout lane, did you fail me? We were friends, partners, a well oiled, efficient machine.

But then you tried to steal $85 from me.

I had scanned in all my groceries at a dizzying pace which topped the efficiency of most actual employees. My bill came to $146 and change. I remembered I had some cash in my wallet that I wanted to use, and quickly fed them to the machine. I then pushed the “pay with debit card” button on the screen and swiped my card. The machine processed my card for a few moments, then in a voice that seemed loud enough to be broadcast throughout the entire store it said those dreaded words every customer dreads hearing:

“Card not accepted.”

I knew something was not right, as I was absolutely positive that there was close to $1000 in my checking account. When I pressed the button to cancel the transaction, the screen kind of flickered, and the machine repeated the phrase, “Card not accepted.” I hit the cancel button again, and it went back to the payment screen, with the correct balance of $61. I retried my debit card, which worked the second time, but I noticed something odd.

The screen showed it had just charged my debit card the full $146 dollars.

I checked my receipt which confirmed what the screen said. I looked around at the change slot, and no money had been returned to me.

My old friend, the self checkout lane, had eaten my cash, and wasn’t giving it back.

I waved over the employee that was overseeing the 4 self checkout lanes and explained to him what had happened. I could tell by the look on his face he had absolutely no idea what to do. As he called for a manager, I envisioned what was about to happen. Someone would likely have to dig through the history of the machine to verify my story, or at the very least they would review the security video to review my transaction.

But when the manager arrived she listened to me carefully, opened up the machine and handed me 4 crisp twenty dollar bills, and a fiver.

I exited the store with my cash, but my friendship with the self checkout lane will never be the same.

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Good thing that the manager solved the problem right away! Well, technology isn’t flawless, so it’s expected to fail sometimes. Nevertheless, I think it’s a reminder for us to be more careful when checking no matter which lane we choose!

  • @SuburbanFinance – Very true, although this seems like an pretty severe bug in their system. Most of the time the mistakes are human errors (incorrect weighing, scanning twice or not at all), but this was truly a glitch in the system – we have to be on our toes at all times!

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