For a store that was so ahead of the curve with touchscreen food ordering, this seems like a long time coming. But then again, Wawa has always emphasized a friendly customer experience.

The other day I was in a nearby Wawa when I noticed what was always a cashier's kiosk replaced by two self-checkout machines. I've been to Wawa locations all over the state, as well as in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida, and not one ever had this option.

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It looks like Wawa began testing this out a few years ago, according to a website that reports exclusively on convenience store news. But I did not know of any NJ locations using self-checkout until now.

This Wawa is located at 135 NJ-70 W in Lakewood.

I'll tell you one thing. I've been in this store a few more times since this switch happened, and I have really come to appreciate what cashiers have to deal with all day. People walk up to the self-checkout kiosk and just scratch their heads in confusion. Completely clueless.

In theory self-checkout is a great thing, but if the customers using it are going to continuously need assistance from employees, it may not speed things up as much as Wawa is hoping.

This post by an employee on the Wawa subreddit alludes to a potential nationwide rollout, and also really drives home how little confidence some of them have in customers being able to navigate their way through the process:

Rivals QuickChek and Royal Farms have had self-checkout kiosks for a while now, and they seem to be doing just fine. Most of the time I see customers in those stores go the route of going up to the actual cashier and paying the old fashioned way.

I wonder which chain will be the first to take the bold step of going exclusively self-checkout.

The only major hurdle there would be dealing with tobacco products and other items behind the counter. But it's only a matter of time.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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