(Parts 4 and 5 are still in progress and editing)
Today I stopped at Walmart to pick up some groceries. I don’t know for sure that they have a staffing problem but a lot of the shelves were empty. A lot. Several items I was looking to pick up were out of stock.
I noticed that the self-checkout area has at least doubled in size since my last visit. That suggests they are having difficulty hiring staff – and are substituting automation and customer provided labor to handle check out.
We will likely see more and more self-check outs in more kinds of stores. Besides the obvious substitution of customer labor for paid staff labor, this also address the current hiring problems.
Walmart’s grocery was out of so many items that I stopped at Safeway on my way back home. Their PA system had periodic announcements that “Safeway is hiring! Apply Today!”. Was pretty aggressive about it.