Most customers are nice and honest people, but temptation can be a bit hard to resist, as one convenience store discovered this week after it tested out an unmanned shop with an automatic check-out machine and wound up losing a fair amount of money when some customers ran out without paying.
According to Rocket News 24, two convenience stores in Hangzhou and Beijing replaced their regular store staff with automatic payment machines this week and advertised the shops as relying on the honor system. Customers had the option of either paying with their phones or leaving cash in a box to pay for their snacks and beverages, and most of the stores’ clients did just that. But a few found another way and just took off.
Three customers were reportedly observed picking out high-end items and then leaving without paying, while another took some top-shelf goods and then left just 10 yuan, or $1.61. The stores said that all in all, they wound up short by about 20 percent, or approximately $485, during the one-day test.
Most customers did choose to pay, though, so the stores say they’re considering the experiment a success. Self checkout machines are likely to become even more popular at convenience stores, but maybe keeping at least one staff member around to dissuade thieves would be a good idea.