Trader Joe’s President Addresses Self-Checkout Rumors

If you’re looking for a quicker way to get in and out of your favorite discount grocery store, you might be out of luck.

On Monday, Trader Joe’s president Jon Basalone responded to rumors that the grocery chain would be adding self-checkout lanes on a Q&A episode of the company’s in-house podcast.

“I have a bunch of rumors that I would like to prove true or false,” interviewer Matt Sloan tells Basalone. “Are we ready? True or false, coming soon, self-checkout.”

Related: ‘We’re Helping Everybody’: Grocery Shoppers Treated to Over $2,000 of Free Food After Store’s Refrigerating System Breaks

The president had a very clear-cut — and heartwarming — response.

“That’s as false as false can be because we believe in people, and we’re not trying to get rid of our crew members for efficiency’s sake or whatever [the] reasons are people put self-checkout in,” he said bluntly.

Basalone joked that he could never implement the technology because he personally has had difficulty using it when trying to get out of a store.

“I couldn’t get the thing to scan … and then the person came over and was trying to explain to me,” he laughed. “I’m like, I do this for a living, and I can’t get this thing to work.”

Though self-checkout aisles won’t be hitting the front of Trader Joe’s stores anytime soon, Basalone did speak hopefully about the future of the grocery chain.

“We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, but we’re going to grow. And so the newness comes from the new customers we’re going to be able to reach, the new products that we’re going to see on our shelves, the new opportunities for the crew members who get promoted and get to run those stores into the future,” he explained. “It’s not crazy new ideas like the robot in the aisle that answers questions and helps to clean up spills. It’s simpler than that and actually more exciting than that.”

The California-based grocer has been under scrutiny lately after several recalls have forced stores to pull popular items off of shelves, including rock contamination in several cookie flavors and multigrain crackers containing metal.

The chain operates roughly 560 locations in the United States across 40 states.

Related: The Secret to Trader Joe’s Success? Embracing This Japanese Business Strategy

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