A SoCal state Senator is pushing a new bill that would eliminate self-checkout stands from many stores in California, under the reasoning that self-checkout is responsible for a whole lot of shoplifting, and to keep more human cashiers employed.  

We are already seeing some retailers abandoning their self-checkout stations that they paid good money to install, with several Bay Area Target and Safeway stores ditching self-checkout because it seems to have facilitated shoplifting. Indeed, some of SF's most notorious serial shoplifters frequently used self-checkout as part of their schemes.

But the removal of some of those self-checkout stands is not enough for one state lawmaker, as KGO reports on a proposed new bill that would eliminate self-checkout for many stores in California.

It’s called Senate Bill 1446, and Los Angeles state Senator Lola Smallwood-Cuevas’s bill would not completely ban self-checkout in the state. Instead, stores using self-checkout would have to meet several criteria, “including having no more than 2 self-service checkout stations monitored by any one employee and requiring the employee to be relieved of all other duties.”

But many of the bill’s supporters say its real value would be cutting down on retail theft.

"The hope is that we can reduce the amount of theft that happens. That's a much better solution than punishing theft after it occurs," Prosecutors Alliance of California executive director Cristine Soto DeBerry told KGO. "There's data on this that shows there is stuff that happens at self-checkouts."

The California Chamber of Commerce is against the idea, saying the self-checkout technology is important for retailers to keep labor costs low.

"In part it's codifying some requirements that I think, from our perspective, are a little heavy-handed, as far as getting down into the granularity of how business or a store needs to operate," the chamber’s senior policy advocate Ashley Hoffman said to KGO.

Self-checkout seems to be working for some retail franchises, and not for others. This seems like a decision that maybe just ought to be made by the retailers themselves. But it is surprising to see how many retailers spent heavily to install that self-checkout machinery, and then decided that the benefits just don’t check out.

Related: Sure Enough, Shoplifting Was Not the Reason For the Closure of Target at Folsom and 13th Streets [SFNews]

Image: A girl customer scans and pays for bottle of juice from a supermarket in an automated self-service checkout terminal (Getty Images)