Monday 23 August 2021

Self service

 It's been dull as dishwater here all day - the weather, that is......wall to wall cloud.  According to the weather app on my phone, it's supposed to be sunny this afternoon.  My brother, who lives in Cornwall, has just said it's been a beautiful sunny day there - he's obviously holding onto the sunshine and not letting it up here!  Ah well, I've been busy today so no time to go and sit outside.  Ironic really that it's been so cloudy, we had a pair of sun lounger chairs delivered earlier, don't fancy sitting in them at the moment!  They're to go to the caravan anyway.

Several times recently when shopping in Sainsburys, I've been given a voucher for money off my first SmartShop - that's the handset zapper thing that you bleep your own shopping with, pack it as you go along and then simply pay at the dedicated SmartShop tills.  Well, apparently that's how it works....I don't actually know as I've not used it before.  All the supermarkets seem to be pushing us into self service, they have fewer and fewer manned checkouts - in fact I think I may have read somewhere recently that Morrisons are intending to do away with manned checkouts altogether.  No doubt the others will follow suit.  They want everyone to go cashless presumably, and employ fewer staff.  Obviously, since the start of Covid, most shops etc have been wanting us to use cards rather than cash - in fact, I can't remember the last time I took any cash out of a machine.

The self service checkouts are all very well, but what about people who still use cash? (I presume there are some).  And people, elderly predominantly, who aren't ok with using those checkouts....maybe because they don't know how, or because they like having a chat with a real person?  I've used the self service checkouts a few times, but always seem to have a problem arise ('unexpected item in the bagging area', or some alarm goes off and a supervisor is requested).  Perhaps it's just me!  But it's obviously the way things are going to be in the future (I think it's called progress or change), so I guess we'll have to get used to it.  It would be nice though to have a trained staff member to show you what to do for your first time - but our Sainsburys has had a distinct lack of staff lately.  There used to be someone greeting you as you came in, and always someone watching over the self service checkouts - they've been conspicuous by their absence though the past few weeks.

I've downloaded the app onto my phone and think I'll have a go at a small shop initially, just to test it out.  But what about if you're buying loose fruit & veg, how does that work?  And what do you actually do when you get to the checkout?  Can anyone enlighten me? (seeing as there are hardly any staff available in the shop, and they seem to have done away with the Customer Service desk).

How long will it be before supermarkets are fully automated with no human staff at all?


  1. I hate self service tills with a passion. I do very occasionally use one - if there are long queues, I only have a couple of items AND I'm not too fussed if there are problems, so I can forget it! The only experience I have of the Smart Shop zappers, was a work colleague who used it. She was in a bit of a rush that day and, of course, that was the one time she got stopped for her shopping to be checked. Apparently, and understandably, the shop does that from time to time. I much prefer using cash, especially to pay for a coffee. Maybe it's my age, but I can't help thinking things were much simpler when you got paid, in cash, on a Friday and that's what you had to last the week. If you'd spent it all by Tuesday, you had to go without! xx

  2. No it isn't just you with the self service till bleeping - they are so annoying.
    Hope that isn't right about Morrisons - although my nearest Asda have gone down to just 4 staffed tills and Morrisons have about 10 checkouts but only use half a dozen at the most.

  3. I don’t like self check out
    My family uses it
    I buy all groceries etc with credit card as it gives me points for gift cards
    I do use cash too

  4. Regarding the loose fruit and veg. There will be scales at the end of the aisle which produce a label which you then scan at least this is what Tesco have.

  5. I hate self serve grocery stores! I want to be catered to & waited on or why am I paying their prices??? I will not use self serve & have been known to go elsewhere if it's my only option. The little stores still have service, especially the ethnic stores, so I usually shop there. So far, in my part of Canada, there's still some people in all grocery stores even those with self serve aisles.

  6. I've been using a scanner for years now and feel decidedly uneasy without the 'gun' in my hand. I can pack everything straight away and don't have to take it out of the trolley, put it onto the conveyor belt and re-pack at the checkout. It is as Pam says, you weigh your loose produce and put the sticky price label, which has a bar code, onto the bag/produce and then scan it at the checkout in the usual weigh.

    There is a 'port' on the trolley you can put the scanner in so you still have free hands, that's why I don't like the phone app as I never know where to put my phone and have to do everything one-handed. Takes twice as long to do the shopping. There are dedicated scanner checkouts so I hardly ever have to queue to pay and at our big S'bury's there are always about three members of staff on hand to assist.

  7. We tried the Sainsbury's self scan when it was first introduced and after the fourth attempt gave up on it because of all the problems we encountered and went back to 'normal' shopping. Each time we came across a different problem and also they couldn't guarantee a good signal around all the store and it did often lose connection which was annoying. This method did however highlight the fact that their red sticker reduced items displayed on the shelves are not always valid and so when you think you are getting a bargain you find the scanner puts in the usual full price. We queried this the first time we noticed a difference when buying a pack of Cauldron vegetarian sausages supposedly on offer. We found a member of staff who told us that sometimes the offer has finished before they can change the ticket on the shelf and apparently the offers finish at all different times throughout the day. Having been told this we then started checking all our red sticker purchases and yes you do have to be careful as sometimes the offer has finished and the normal price has been applied at the checkouts.
    Some of the labelled loose fresh foods were not recognised by the scanner and so a person had to be found at the checkout who then had to go and find a code. So all in all it took us much longer than normal especially as on the last time we used it we had to have a full trolley check (which are done randomly)but meant unloading and rescanning all our shopping to check against our receipt (presumably to make sure we had not overlooked scanning something) this took about 20minutes and made us overun the 2 hour free parking allowance and we could well have been hit with a hefty £50 fine if we had not complained and the frozen foods were defrosting. So until all the teething problems have been sorted we will be going to a checkout.


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