I love Kmart, I love the reasonable prices, the kids’ craft, toys and clothes. But when it comes to paying, I absolutely hate Kmart. I walk out there shattered and mentally bruised and feeling like a criminal who has just barely escaped jail.

About two years ago, the powers that be, decided it was a good idea to shake up the entire Kmart layout. For some hairbrained reason that I will never understand, the discount department store shifted the cash registers to the middle of the store (why, oh why???) and moved everything else around too. After having a map of the Kmart layout ingrained in my brain, I was left lost and confused and bewildered by all the changes.

Gradually, very very gradually, I have been able to get to know which product is where, although I do sometimes walk around aimlessly trying to find that elusive item. But for the life of me, I just can’t get used to the whole process of paying.

Battle At the Checkouts

Firstly, there may only be one real person behind a checkout counter and unless you want to stand in a long queue for personal attention, there is no choice but to go into battle with the self-checkouts.

Now, I’m not altogether opposed to self-checkouts. I use them all the time with no issue at Woolies. But the Kmart self-checkouts are evil, housing vindictive robots, with the sole aim to send frazzled mums into an abyss of anger and frustration.

Ouch!

Firstly there are about 20 checkout machines stuffed in a tiny square, so before you even begin to beap your products, you’ve been jammed by at least two trolleys trying to squeeze by and knocked out by a passing basket or two. So nursing my throbbing shins, I take a deep breath and steel myself to start the laborious process of paying.

0.0000001 Of A Second

To kick off the process, you need to find the location of the bar-code, then make sure you get your product in the exact position so the infrared picks up the code. Then you’ve got literally half a micro-second to place the beaped item on the bagging shelf, before it starts yelling at you for not doing what you clearly should be doing. Faster…faster…faster!!!!

Once you’ve managed to successfully appease the machine, you continue the process. Out of nowhere, the machine starts yelling “Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area. Remove Item!” it threatens. The red light starts blazing on and off and I’m just waiting for a siren to start blaring. I look around – what the heck???? Ah, it’s my toddler son leaning on the bagging area platform. I scream at him to “STOP TOUCHING!” and then vow to never go shopping at Kmart with a child in tow…ever again!

Frazzled!

After this mini-breakdown, I’m getting more frazzled and I accidentally scan a bunch of socks twice!! YEESH!! I madly signal for the assistant. She does all she can to ignore me (seriously!). I pretty much have to go up to her, grab her by the arm and bring her to my checkout area. She darts a suspicious look at me and my fidgety child and takes a long hard look over my goods, before voiding the extra item. Victory (well, at least a small one!)

Delicate Balance

By now there’s a delicate pyramid of products balancing precariously in the bagging area. Damn, I forgot my own bags again but I can’t even transfer my items to my trolley out of fear of self-checkout harassment. So the game of Jenga continues…. And then to my horror, I discover a big storage box which I clearly should have beaped first. I look at my mountain in the bagging area and look back at the box and just want to burst into tears with frustration.

But no, I am not going to be beaten!

I somehow manage to maneuver the box onto the scanning ledge, beap it and then with the precision of a snake stalking its prey, I very slowly place the box onto the hill of items on the bagging area. Pshew, I’d done it!

kmart self checkouts and paying area

Aaaaarrrghhh!

But then, as if in slow motion, the tower starts to topple and I watch in horror as my goods start spilling all over the ground. Disaster! I will the linoleum floor to open up and swallow me…but no such luck. The other shoppers avert their eyes or gaze at me with a mix of sympathy and “Thank goodness that’s not me!” looks.

That one single attendant was now attending to some older lady who was having major issues figuring out the system. I would have just picked myself up and started again, but the machine was going nuts. It thought I had escaped with all its beloved gear without paying and was about to alarm the armed guards.

Eventually, I get help from the somewhat grumpy helper and what felt like hours later, I managed to complete the transaction.

Run the Gauntlet Of the Kmart Gate Keeper

So all that remained was running the gauntlet of the suspicious Kmart gatekeeper at the exit who will release all sorts of hell if you don’t have your receipt on hand. Seasoned Kmart shoppers suggest that you don’t even make eye contact and walk out confidently before the staff member can even blink. But this time, my toddler had had enough and was having one of those mega tantrums as we made out way towards the doors. The gate guard targeted her infrared vision on me and I knew I was toast.

She demanded my receipt, ignoring my crazed kid, and dutifully counted each product before dismissing me with a nod. I was just about to let rip, at her, at the %$^%* self-checkout machines and the out-of-touch management team who came up with the ludicrous idea to make the payment process so torturous. But instead, I smashed my way out of the shop and wrote this article instead. I reckon my written words would have more power than screaming like a banshee.

Ok, vent over!

Do you battle with the self-checkouts at Kmart? Tell us your Kmart woes in the comments below.

More On Mouths of Mums

  • I absolutely hate the self checkout at Kmart, try telling your toddler why they can’t have whatever it is that they want because the check out hasn’t registered the weight of it in the bag, or if your child had taken the thing out of the bag, you would then need to wait for the 1 assistant to notice you before you can move onto scanning the next item…

    Reply

  • Such a random layout. I never understood it either

    Reply

  • I always feel like I’m going to be accused of stealing because of the layout with stuff in the centre.

    Reply

  • I don’t like the new layout of the Kmart stores. To me it’s too easy to walk out with something and not paying. Where do they come up with these ridiculous ideas. I will wait in line for a checkout chick or else I won’t buy from there. Problem solved.

    Reply

  • I agree, the layout of the store is terrible, with the registers in the middle and having to show your receipt is crazy.

    Reply

  • Agree with everything, especially the checkouts in the middle of the store – ridiculous! And – once after my aggravated struggle with the machine, also had everything in my bag checked. At least the gestapo at the door was gracious enough to apologise for holding me up to do so. Still wasn’t a nice feeling, but at least they had to get someone else off their butt to look after other shoppers who were leaving at the same time!

    Reply

  • What about the look you get when your item doesnt have a price tag,its like you pulled it off yourself.

    Reply

  • I still don’t understand why they put the check outs in the middle and then you have to present your receipt!

    Reply

  • I thought it was just me!!!! The dreaded gate keeper, seriously, this system is RIDICULOUS!!

    Reply

  • Don’t have Kmart near by.

    Reply

  • Self check outs in general can give problems, not only at Kmart but also at Coles there are regularly errors. Still I prefer to use the self check outs, so I don’t complain.

    Reply

  • Oh thank goodness for this article. I always thought it was just me. I feel so normal again since this resonates to home for me.

    Reply

  • Oh I thought it was just me! This is so accurate. I thought I was conquering the self checkout but it is more trouble than it’s worth. I feel like they are trying to get us to change to online shopping by annoying us.

    Reply

  • Oh I am totally with you!!!

    Reply

  • On any given day… who knows what I’m going to get? Some days are good, some days you need help from the staff member roaming the area. I’m not in love with these, but clearly we don’t have much choice.

    Reply

Post a comment
Like Facebook page

LIKE MoM on Facebook

Please enter your comment below
Would you like to include a photo?

No picture uploaded yet
Please wait to see your image preview here before hitting the submit button.

Your MoM account

Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your comment and join MoM:

You May Like

Loading…

Looks like this may be blocked by you browser or content filtering.

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating
Join