Purpose : Self-service technologies (SST) have become more and more pervasive in retail to facilitate autonomous checkout. In this context, customers play an active role and, as such, can be considered as “partial employees.” Partial employees have to perform a wide range of tasks, get rewarded for their work and need to understand the terms of the exchange, all without being subject to a formalized contract. In this research, the authors suggest that partial employees go through a process of organizational socialization that allows them to define the psychological contract they hold with the organization. Design/methodology/approach : In order to investigate the psychological contracts of partial employees, 324 Canadian customers using SST completed an online questionnaire, in which their SST use, psychological contract fulfillment and organizational socialization were measured. Findings : Descriptive analyses highlight that customers as partial employees build a psychological contract with their most frequent retailer, as they perceive not only retailer inducements but also their own contributions. Multiple linear regressions suggest that organizational socialization favors psychological contract fulfillment, but that specific dimensions of organizational socialization are important for employer inducements vs. employee contributions. Moreover, results suggest that the frequency of use of SST as well as the patronage positively predicts psychological contract fulfillment. Originality/value : This research investigates a specific situation of unconventional employment – that of customers as partial employees with organizations. It contributes to the literature on the psychological contract by broadening its application to new relations and to the literature on customer management by reemphasizing the relevance of the psychological contract in this domain.