I have a love/hate relationship with the self-checkout machine.

It was all fun and games at first, that is, until technology advanced; now it's one wrong move and suddenly you've got 5 associates at your side demanding you explain yourself.

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And where were all those associates five minutes ago when I needed them to verify my age to purchase alcohol?! Funny how that works.

A new law recently introduced in the Alabama legislature could change the way we use self-checkout forever. Heck, if this ever takes effect here in Michigan I might avoid self-checkout altogether! Not if the stakes are going to be this high:

Alabama's new HB288 could make it easy for everyday shoppers to be charged with a Class B Felony. The bill, titled “The Retail Crime Prevention Act,” is supposedly meant to target organized retail crime groups throughout the state. But what about little ol' you and I?

Lauren G/TSM
Lauren G/TSM

See, I have a big problem with self-checkout nowadays as is. All the newly remodeled Meijer stores in Kalamazoo, MI have cameras above their self-checkout kioks; I can't tell you how many times I've innocently reached for my phone to pull up a coupon or I've forgotten my MPerks PIN for the millionth time, and suddenly the machine is yelling at me and telling me to "freeze!" and "put my hands up!"

Ok, maybe it's not quite that dramatic-- but that's what it feels like! Either trust me to do the job, or don't. Not like I'm getting paid to scan and bag my own groceries, here.

Organized Crime Retail Act

Currently Michigan does have a law in effect similar to Alabama's; called the Organized Retail Crime Act the bill was first enacted back in 2012.

Again, this bill is more aimed at organized crime rings and not your everyday petty theft, but I imagine it's only a matter of time before they start really cracking down on it. I get it-- not scanning select items at checkout, swapping barcodes, mislabeling your produce-- it's all theft, it's true!

However, I would like a little grace if I accidentally miss an item every now and then. It's all about intention. Or, how about this: let's all simply stop using the self-checkout altogether.

Read more about Michigan's Organized Retail Crime Act here.

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