Self-Serve Grocery Shopping

Few things steam up grocery shoppers faster than a slow line at the checkout counter.

"People with 20 items that are behind us, and they see that we have two carts, they practically want to kill us," says shopper Natasha Nelson Ling.

But forget venting your frustration on the checkout person. Ling is checking out her own groceries, using a new automated checkout system allows shoppers to scan iced tea, cereal, soda, and everything else themselves, reports CBS News Correspondent Maggie Cooper.

"If everything goes correctly at the register, there's no interaction with anybody but the computer," says Kevin Clarke, a store manager at the A&P in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., a supermarket that is using the innovative technology.

"It's just the barcode, and it prompts you to put the item into the bag," Clarke explains. "If you don't put the item into the bag, it will keep saying, 'Put it into the bag,' until you do."

And don't think you can fool the computer, passing sirloin off as a bar of soap. It automatically reads every item by weight.

Satisfied store owners say that scanners can do the job of four human checkers. As this new technology gains in popularity, it may well reduce human interaction in the grocery shopping business in the same way automated teller machines have transformed banking. But it comes with a price.

In the next few years, 40 percent of banking jobs are expected to be cut due to automation, a trend Clarke says will not affect grocery stores.

"I don't think you'll ever get away from the need for customer service," Clarke says.

But some customers say, do-it-yourself is no service at all.

"It was a little bit of work because you had to weigh it and then put it in the bag, and punch a lot of numbers, so it was almost as though I was working here," shopper Melissa Katz says.

As the technology rolls out nationwide this summer, shoppers will determine how much of a bargain it really is.