BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Shopping may be a pleasure at Publix, but checkout is now a nightmare. Like retail outlets nationwide, Publix recently turned on its “chip reader” in the credit card processing machines used by customers. If your Boca-area Publix isn’t using it yet, it will be soon. The Loggers Run and Clint Moore/441 Publix locations went online within the past several weeks.
Chip readers are not entirely bad — they are designed to prevent the widespread credit card fraud that hit Target and Home Depot over the past several years. It’s safe to say consumers benefit when credit card fraud is reduced.
But Publix’s implementation is, arguably, among the worst of major retail outlets. Cashiers, according to cashiers, are being told to expect a three minute processing time per customer. Even in the express lane.
That’s just too long.
Publix, according to employees, has added its own security layers to the software and processing checks already in place. That’s great for Publix, but horrendous for customers. Buying a half gallon of milk and want your 6 Marriott Rewards points by using Visa? Three minutes. Want a sandwich from the deli that only took 2 minutes to make? Give yourself three minutes once you’re at the front of the checkout line.
And there’s this: Put your card in a second before the screen says “insert card?” and it’s all but guaranteed that your cashier will have to reset the transaction. Add another two minutes while the system reboots to three minutes it takes to process the card.
Publix has to do better. The place that gives free cookies to kids, has employees who legitimately smile as they welcome customers by name, the company that employs — and embraces — workers living with Down Syndrome, must find a way to balance security with speed. Credit card security is good. But Publix must lead in the implementation of a system that isn’t glitchy and slow.