That is increasingly the case at some upper end stores and boutiques. Ray A. Smith has a very good WSJ piece on this phenomenon, here is one bit:
More high-end boutiques and department stores are moving the machine out of sight or eliminating it entirely.
Instead, sales associates walk the floors with mobile checkout devices or handle transactions in discreet nooks. Stores aim to make the experience of paying more elegant, akin to private shopping, and to eliminate a pain point that keeps some shoppers from completing a purchase—having to wait in a visible line. Hiding the cash register also forces shoppers to interact with the salespeople and might even encourage them to buy more.
1. Waiting in line is described as “unenlightened.”
2. I enjoyed this remark: “We’re downplaying that last transactional part of the experience…” And this: “”Researchers have identified a concept known as “the pain of paying,” said Ziv Carmon, a professor of marketing at Insead, a business school with campuses in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. “Doing away with the queue and even with the register makes the upcoming pain of paying less salient,” he said.”
3. When customers are not waiting in line but rather having their purchases processed “privately,” salespeople are encouraged to socialize with them and get to know them better. And: “Stores say sales associates are expected to sense when a shopper is ready to pay.”