Why It's Easier To Scan Products At Aldi Over Other Grocery Stores

When shopping at Aldi, you might notice that the cashiers are able to scan and bag items at an absurdly quick pace. You're not just imagining things — every item sold at the chain comes with multiple barcodes on the package, allowing staff to scan any side of your box of granola bars or carton of milk and be done with it. Even better, many of these barcodes are so large that they're impossible to miss with a scanner, with no flipping, searching, or squinting needed.

Naturally, easier scanning translates to getting through the checkout line in a fraction of the time that you might spend at another store. Moreover, speedy checkout helps a small number of cashiers serve more customers at a quicker pace, allowing each Aldi store to maintain a small staff and keep those oh-so-cheap groceries at a low price. The less staff members Aldi has to pay, the lower it can price its goods.

Beyond the clever use of barcodes, Aldi takes further measures to keep things speedy at the checkout section. Speed of service is one of the company's core values, so cashiers are timed and scored on their on-the-job speediness and performance. With larger barcodes on their side and no need to flip items over (plus a low chance of missing with the scanner), staff members likely don't have a ton of difficulty keeping up to speed.

Aldi's barcodes could help its future checkout plans

While speedy cashiers are a defining part of the Aldi experience, the chain may soon change things up a bit. One of Aldi's proposed changes for 2024 is the installation of self-checkout kiosks at select locations. This sounds convenient, but self-checkout express lanes aren't always faster than checkout via cashier — and compared to Aldi's extra-speedy staff, self-checkout will almost undoubtedly be slower.

Self-checkout lanes come at the cost of customer error. Shoppers might struggling with scanning items, using coupons, and other tasks that are usually a cashier's job. Human error or a malfunctioning kiosk can also holding up the line, as customers wait for help from an employee. Aldi's plans to introduce self-checkout will likely bring longer waiting times to stores, but hopefully, the multiple large barcodes on each item will minimize issues with scanning. Just as its cashier checkout is faster than at other stores, Aldi's express lanes might outpace the competition, even with all that room for customer error. 

At the end of the day, however, there's no way the average customer will be able to scan and bag items as quickly as Aldi's legendary cashiers. Unless you're only buying one or two items, getting in line at a cashier's stand is pretty much guaranteed to be the fastest way out of your local Aldi.