Looks Like Adams Morgan Safeway 86’d Self Check Out Lanes

by Prince Of Petworth August 11, 2016 at 2:05 pm 46 Comments

admo safeway
1747 Columbia Road, NW

A reader reports:

“Apparently Monday was the last day for ‘self check-out’ at the Adams Morgan Safeway.

among the reasons:

1. too slow
2. too many items
3. too slow
4. not ready to pay
5. not sure how to pay
6. slow to bag items
7. too slow

did I mention too slow?

Honestly, this is an improvement.”

Agree or disagree?

  • Bridget

    I’m curious if it was because people we’re stealing in the self-check out line

    • L.H.O.O.Q.

      Wouldn’t be surprised. I used to work at a grocery store and people found creative ways to cheat the system all the time. From keying in the wrong type of produce, lying about how many bags they were getting, scanning a secondary barcode that didnt have price info but would stop it from setting the alarms off, “forgetting” things under the cart, etc. Self checkout makes it easy.

      • samanda_bynes


        • FridayGirl

          I legally take spices for free from Whole Foods because if you buy small amounts of the bag-it-yourself kind they don’t weigh at the register but they still have to give them to you. Muahaha….

      • FridayGirl

        Also, I don’t think stealing the bags is always intentional — although I’m sure plenty of people do just say they aren’t using a bag.
        One time at the new Target self-check out before they fixed it, I got yelled at for using a bag and not hitting the button that said “Need bags?” in tiny print before I hit “Finish & Pay.” I told the employee I thought it would prompt me like ALL THE OTHER STORES DO but she still had massive attitude about it and offered no way to fix it -_- I hate self-checkouts.

        • L.H.O.O.Q.

          Not always. Like you said accidents happen. But it is intentional in most cases and either way the store takes a loss.

    • Brentwood

      I watched someone ring up a large, large box of chicken as “bananas” one day. But when my friend was having a hard time finding the code for “bagel” and I said “I don’t know, I got a doughnut, the code was ####” an employee materialized out of thin air to point out that doughnuts were more expensive than bagels, and the right code was something else.”

      • Anon

        I know I spend more at self checkout because of mistakes like that. I mostly just shop the sales, but sometimes I code in the wrong kind of cucumber that’s not on sale and I’m too lazy/impatient to get it fixed.

    • Anonymous
  • Kathryn-DC

    Yes, I popped in yesterday and the self check lanes were gone! I’m usually in there about once a week so it must have happened quickly. There was not a large crowd at the time, so I still don’t know how this will affect the speed of the lines.

    Also, there were two trainees working checkout, and I did not see some of the usual staff there. Wondering what happened.

  • sarah

    I went last night and had to stand in line for 40 minutes. they only had 3 lanes open.

    We need them back ASAP

  • Anonymous

    Safeway’s self checkout technology is way worse than other stores’ (like HT). Not surprised.

    • Bort

      Uhh, HT’s self-checkout system is trash, so if Safeway’s is worse it is definitely better that it is gone. My experience at HT can be summarized as follows: something in the bag shifts? Gonna need the manager. Round produce rolls slightly on the scanner? Call the manager. Breathe normally during the checkout process? Manager. (Please note that I am a functional, reasonably coordinated adult human of at least moderate intelligence). Now, Giant OTOH, there’s a good self-checkout system.

      • Anonymous

        Giant’s is the best, yes, but I challenge you to use Safeway’s and have it ever work fully. HT’s is way better.

      • FridayGirl

        I think Safeway’s is better. I used it for 2 years without a problem, but I still can’t seem to use Harris Teeter’s correctly so I avoid the self-checkouts now.

        • lizcolleena

          Never used Safeway’s but Giant’s is much superior to HT in my experience.

          • bruno

            Who are *you* to be calling Harris-Teeter’s self-checkout system “trash”? :^0

          • Bort

            I’m Bort? Not sure I understand your question.

  • Crispy

    This was totally due to theft. Safeway has one of the simplest / fastest self check-outs of any supermarket. I’m all for keeping jobs but this will take things back to where they were pre self check out, i.e. slow slow slow. Granted those who didn’t know how to use the machine were slow, those who did know how to use the machine were super fast. Sad.

  • P. Lecheval

    Honestly there should be a way for the customer to earn experience points with these things, by comparing how long it takes you to get through the self check out with how many items you have. Then they could have priority lanes for people who actually know what the hell they’re doing and who won’t take 15 minutes just to scan and pay for a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. But of course that would result in somebody whining about how it’s discriminatory against disabled people or stupid people, who shouldn’t be using the self check out in the first place!

  • anonymous

    There was a recent study that was published that says people were more inclined to “steal” from self-check out lines. When asked why, people responded that they felt the store “owed” them n b/c of quality issues (meat/produce) from prior purchases.

    I do agree that self-checkout at CVS (with 10 items or less) makes the most sense. If you have so many items that require multiple bags, and you have to bag them yourself, it does slow down the line significantly.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      By your logic, we should also not allow people to use self-checkout if they have produce because that is what slows the lines up more than anything.

    • E

      The story I saw on this (on one of the national news shows) said that the reason was not because people felt the stored owed them due to quality reasons. Rather, the reason sited was more along the lines that people felt that the store owed them because of the frustrating customer experience while trying to check out. This–i gathered–was more due to poorly engineered stations, illogical checkout process (i.e. the software used at the stations) and most frustrating, items that do not scan, than it was due to poor quality product. So people end up just chucking the item in the bag, rather than deal with the problem that the store caused.

      • MarkQ

        Yeah this. Giant’s software and UI is especially bad. I get tangled up every time when it asks me how many bags I am using, FIRST….uh, I don’t know, because I haven’t bagged anything yet! Then inevitably, I get dinged when the system is thinking I am stealing, telling me my items are in the bagging area erroneously when they aren’t.. and I’ve got to start all over again or a staffer has to come reset the thing. Self Checkouts suck.

  • Teddy

    Safeway needs more self-check out rather then less. I am sure there is theft, but maybe they could just staff it with additional people looking for cheaters. 2 staff members can monitor the 8 self-checkout lanes in Petworth. Safeway needs to be better at making sure all of the self checkout lanes are working and open. I usually only stop in for a few items and if the self-checkout lines are crowded I usually just turn around. They probably lose more money in lost business then they do in theft.

  • above7-11

    Giant in Columbia Heights reconfigured the self-checkout line several months ago and it has done wonders. It also allows for heightened security. Rather then close the self-checkout line, Safeway might want to look at that as an example. The Petworth safeway self checkout lines are also a disaster.

  • Jim

    What would be more welcome is if they could actually get some decent produce and keep it in stock. I regularly drive to the Georgetown Safeway when doing major shopping.

    • Ross

      Agreed. I’m constantly amazed at how this place will regularly just plain not have lemons, limes, romaine lettuce, green onions, regular yellow onions, etc.

  • HaileUnlikely

    Safeway’s self-checkouts functioned much less well than most other stores’ implementations thereof. Their weight sensors were overly sensitive, and trying to actually bag your stuff as you scan rather than just throwing it all on the sensor first and bagging later would often result in the customer service agent having to come over and reset the thing several times for each customer. Sure, the concept of self-checkout will always have a few inherent issues that can be overcome with some effort, but this was a store-specific implementation problem that dwarfed all of the inherent issues and made their self checkout suck a lot more than it should have.

    • Rich

      Not really. Giant’s machines are much more annoying and my limited experience with HT has not been great.

  • accendo

    Surely their staffed checkout can’t be faster, unless the rarely open, super slow lanes are a Mt. Vernon Triangle Safeway thing only.

    • Lance Uppercut

      It’s just a Safeway thing. I never go in there on a Sunday after 11am or a Monday after work. Lines back up into the aisles and they never open more lanes. I don’t understand why there isn’t more staff during those times!

    • mcd

      I have never seen checkout employees move slower than the checkout employees at the 5th and K Safeway. Never in my life. I get it, you’ve proven it- you don’t care. Now scan faster please. Also I have never seen so many people use a grocery store to do their banking. I didn’t even know you could cash checks and wire money from a Safeway checkout counter until I went there.

      • Mr. Magoo

        The City Vista Safeway is an absolute paradise compared to the old Ghetto Giant (now rebooted as the 8th & O Giant, which apparently dropped in from another planet). The Ghetto Giant had Soviet-style lines at almost all waking hours, with people paying in pennies that they had found in the couch cushions, bums trying to steal beer, people doing car repairs in the parking lot, you name it. So while the lines at City Vista can be a pain, they will never, ever compare to Ghetto Giant. It’s the only grocery store where I ever abandoned a full cart of groceries and just walked out, vowing never to return. And I kept my word until they finally blew the place up.

        • Bort

          This does not match my experience at the old Giant, other than the car repairs in the parking lot (which, whatever). I do remember that the deli counter was wonderful and staffed with friendly, competent folks (since real delis are few and far between in this town, I take what I can get), and the fact that their barcode system thought that a 12-pack of Grolsch was a six-pack. “Ghetto Giant,” you say? More like “Giant of Radness.”

          • saf

            What Bort said – I liked the old Giant.

  • anon

    That’s a bummer. I tend to go early on Sunday mornings when it isn’t busy (and often use a cashier because they are faster since they have the codes memorized), but sometimes you get that person with two cartloads carrying a checkbook and I just want to get home to my coffee.

  • Rich

    Safeway was acquired by a company that has been phasing out self-checkouts in at least one of its other chains (Acme). Perhaps they will do it chainwide.

  • spookiness

    I always self-check if given the option because it is almost universally faster, and I’m better at bagging. Nobody in the DC region knows how to bag properly.

    • FridayGirl

      Disagree. Trader Joe’s is amazing at bagging. (But outside of the non-TJ’s/Whole Foods/etc. chains, yes, everyone puts milk on top of bread and it’s infuriating.)

    • Bort

      YES here is the bagging segue I was waiting for. PSA to these clowns that stand there–maybe staring at the goddam phone, maybe staring off into space–definitely doing literally anything other than bagging up their sh*t (especially when there is not a dedicated bagperson already doing it and all the checkout lines are long): all these people standing on line would also probably rather be somewhere else, so please bag up your items as they flow down the belt, pay quickly and GTFO. If you are out buying your own groceries, you are not too good to bag them up yourself. /drops bananamic, rides off on grocery scooter

      • west_egg

        I will never understand why people just stand around looking dumb instead of bagging their own groceries.

  • Bananas=4011

    As someone who shopped at this store regularly, and as a hater of waiting in line, this is a major disappointment. Put me in the unhappy column.

    Access to quick check-out was the only decent reason to shop here — you can’t say much about the cleanliness of the store or the quality of its produce, but at least the shopping experience could be quick. I stopped in at my usual time yesterday and saw the lines extended deep into the aisles — far worse than usual, and not a good sign for anyone who values convenience. Moreover, it looks like they pulled out the four self-checkout terminals without adding a manned checkout station or increasing the number of checkout staff. That’s not a good sign.

    I walked out without buying anything, and I’m not sure when or if I’ll be back. I’ll be hitting up the HT much more frequently now.

  • Kevin

    So happy. I wish more places would follow suit.

    CVSs are the worst. Self-checkout has replaced a cashier. I’m fine with self-checkout as a supplement, but not as the only option.

    Or if it is the only option, then give me 10% off for doing your job for you.

  • JakeOnDC

    For me I always have found this Safeway to be dirty and dingy, not the best variety and all the checkouts manned or self were horrid. Going down the street to Harris Teeter, a newer facilty thats clean and all check out’s manned by real people makes grocery shopping certainly easier and more pleasant. On record living in AM for 20 years I can honestly say I have never had one person working there say hello and ask if I needed help finding something. SAFEWAY.. old shitty brand. Given everything that is happening in AM and all the new construction they best have a vision going forward or they will be squashed by someone else..

  • C. Hohman

    I shop there and have for decades.
    Refuse to use them on principle.


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