It seems that Walmart is at war with its customers.

They don't seem to care that shoppers overwhelmingly dislike self-checkouts. At a time when online retailers are taking an ever more significant chunk of total retail sales, you would think that traditional retailers like Walmart would be even more interested in holding on to their customers.

A woman reads the bar code of instant noodles soup at the self-service checkout machine in supermarket
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Despite healthy quarterly profits, Walmart insists on pushing self-checkouts.

On top of that, starting on January 1st, shoppers at 200 Walmart stores across the nation will have to start paying ten cents for each single-use plastic bag they use to tote the goods they purchase home.

Fortunately, for now, Texas is exempt from this policy.  It will go into effect in Colorado, Vermont, Maine, and New Jersey.

Walmart says they are charging for single-use plastic bags, not because of economics, but because of the company's goal to be more eco-friendly. A Walmart blog announcing the program wrote:

While the convenience of the plastic retail bag cannot be disputed, the average working life of one of these bags is only 12 minutes. It's estimated that 100 billion plastic bags are being used annually in the U.S. alone, and less than 10 percent of them are recycled."

Walmart has a zero waste goal and has joined a program called the "Beyond the Bag" initiative. This probably means Texas Walmart stores will soon be added to the initiative to rid stores of single-use plastic bags.

Walmart isn't the only retailer to join this initiative. Target and now CVS have also vowed to join.  CVS is on a roll now that they've made those extra-long receipts optional.

Photo: Walmart
Photo: Walmart
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The good news, all this might be temporary.  Walmart is already testing out a new pilot system called GOATOTE.  This app-based program allows customers to "check out" reusable bags that can be used for free as long as they're returned to the store within 30 days. After that, customers would be charged $2.

While helping the environment is a worthy goal, it still seems that the average Walmart, CVS, and, Target shopping experience is getting a lot more complicated.  Between that and the much-maligned self-checkouts, many of us are longing for the days when the only thing we had to watch out for was falling prices.

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