Taking Care of Business: Scan and Go offers new experience

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, February 10, 2018

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This week, I bring you my highly scientific evaluation of Walmart’s new Scan and Go system.

After hearing mixed reviews from family members and friends, I decided I’d give it a try and report back to the masses.

I first thought I’d go in the middle of the afternoon, you know, for the full Walmart effect, but then I decided, “why torture myself?” Since I was giving the new system a whirl, I decided it would be best to do an early morning run when it’s less crowded.

I hit the store Thursday morning about 7:30, grabbed a scanner and got a few instructions from a Walmart clerk. To accommodate the new technology, the carts have been modified to include a holder for the scanner on the right side of the handle, a device on which to hang bags at the end of the cart, and a cup holder on the left side of the handle. (Side note: why did they wait til now to install cup holders? I could have used those years ago.)

Anyway, since this was just a test run, I kept my shopping list short. The way it works is you scan each item and bag them as you go. At the end of your trip you should have a cart full of bagged groceries, a quick checkout and then be on your way.

The scanner worked perfectly for me while shopping. Sometimes the art of grabbing an item from the shelf, scanning it and then getting around to the end of the cart to bag it was a bit cumbersome. It could become more fluid with practice. It wasn’t difficult, but it does require a little room to “work,” which could be hard if the store is really crowded.

Although I didn’t buy produce on this trip, the clerk showed me the procedure because it involves more than a simple scan and can be a little confusing. You have to enter the fruit or vegetable’s numerical code into the scanner, weigh the food on digital scales in the produce section and then manually enter the weight into the scanner. If you regularly use a smartphone, it’s not a foreign concept, but it seems like it would be tedious if you were buying a lot of produce.

Everything was going great until I got ready to check out. My scanner misbehaved, and despite me pushing the correct button numerous times, and the helpful clerk doing the same, it took a few minutes for the scanner to calculate what I owed. Once the scanner calculates your total, you scan a QR code on the checkout kiosk to make payment – but don’t forget to hold your tongue just right and by all means, hold the scanner at the exact level and distance required or this step will take longer than necessary, too.

I’m thinking Walmart will work out a few of these kinks the longer the system is in place. It’s new, so no one should expect it to be perfect right away, but at this point, I wouldn’t attempt to Scan and Go an entire grocery shopping trip.

Other observations:

  • You can also scan items with a Scan and Go app on your phone.
  • The store is conducting random audits, meaning a clerk could do a quick check to make sure you’re not stealing anything. This is understandable, but just know this could cost you in time.
  • The only checkout available on my shopping trip besides Scan and Go and self-check was the express lane, 20 items or less. I presume this is because it was between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m., but a complaint I have heard from others is there are few regular checkout lines open, pushing customers to Scan and Go.

If you’ve had a Scan and Go experience you’d like to share, email it to me at


Tyler Larson

Tyler Larson of Boyd, a Modern Woodmen of America managing partner, recently attended the Modern Woodmen Leadership Career Institute, held at Modern Woodmen’s home office in Rock Island, Ill.

Modern Woodmen’s top managers are invited to attend the event where they learn to become better leaders, improve results in their regions, and inspire those with whom they work.


A curious headline showed up on the newsroom white board this week: “Chick-Fil-A to open in 2021.”

No one would admit to adding it to our story list. It’s most likely the work of a prankster, but could it be foreshadowing? Stay tuned.

Days Without Chick-Fil-A (starting in 2018) – 41.

Kristen Tribe is assistant publisher of the Messenger. If you have a submission for Taking Care of Business, email

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