SUPERMARKETS New item: Check it out yourself

After scanning the aisles,shoppers can scantheir purchases.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Grocery shoppers used to be asked, "Paper or plastic?"
Now, shoppers often ask themselves a different question, "Human or machine?"
More area stores are giving shoppers the option of going to a self-checkout lane, where they scan their own groceries instead of going to a cashier.
That's an easy question for people like Mike Rakocy, 77, of Boardman. He doesn't want any part of new self-checkout lanes that have been added to Giant Eagle's store on Doral Drive in Boardman.
"I don't trust those machines -- too many mistakes," he said after shopping at the store last week.
Loved it: Others are choosing the machine. Joe and Amy Berry of Columbiana tried it for the first time last week, and they loved it.
"It was convenient," said Joe Berry, 36.
He said he and his wife liked making sure their items were scanned properly.
Amy Berry, 25, liked not having to wait for a cashier to make change. She placed her money in the machine and it gave her the change.
Others aren't sure yet how they feel.
Irene Nieves, 53, of Boardman, tried the self-checkout for the first time last week but couldn't make it work. She tried several times to scan her Giant Eagle card to begin the process and nothing happened. She gave up in frustration and took her grocery cart to a cashier.
At first, she said she would never try the self-checkout again, but then she said probably would if she could have someone from the store help her through it.
Recent addition: Giant Eagle recently started to add self-checkout lanes to its stores in the area. Laura Karet, senior vice president of marketing for the Pittsburgh-based chain, said about half of its 210 stores will have the feature.
She wasn't sure which stores from this area would receive self-checkout but said it would be about half of them.
Larger stores that handle big volumes are receiving the technology, she said. They will receive between two and four lanes, depending on the size of the store, she said.
One Giant Eagle shopper, Judy Goist, 62, of Struthers, said she may try the technology at some point, but it troubles her.
"It's another way to get rid of people's jobs," she said.
Karet said Giant Eagle doesn't view the technology that way at all. The company is having trouble finding enough cashiers and there have been no reductions in cashiers since Giant Eagle began adding self-checkout last spring.
"What we're trying to do is keep more lanes open more of the time," she said.
How it works: At Giant Eagle, shoppers may scan their own items and place them on a conveyor. The machine tells the shopper the cost of the item. Karet said the items are weighed while on the conveyor to make sure nothing is placed on it without being scanned.
A cashier is assigned to the self-checkout lanes to help customers, receive check payments and watch to make sure all items are being scanned.
Self-checkout lanes are becoming more popular in other areas and first appeared in this area last year at the Shop N' Save in New Castle. Tops Friendly Markets in Niles and Warren and Rulli Bros. in Austintown added the technology this year.
Receptive shoppers: Frank Rulli said shoppers have been receptive to using the self-checkout at his store. The line is dedicated as an express lane for small orders.
Sometimes, there is a line of people waiting to use the machine, which shows that it's working, he said.
Not all grocery stores are ready to add the technology, however.
Rich Yager of Yager's Sparkle Market in Canfield said the owners there are watching to see how it works in other stores. He said he doesn't see an immediate need to add the technology, based on the size of the store and what he knows about his customers.