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Click pic to view comments Fortnightly face-off: Normal checkout vs Self-scan
Posted: 19:05 Sun 15-02-2004.
Snackspot reports: An astonishing range of responses to last time's debate, with some confessing they found "King Size" products excessive, others questioning the very idea of a chocolate bar being "too large", and a general consensus that quite a few brands were no longer quite the size they used to be. Anyway, on to this weekend's (belated) discussion topic, largely inspired by my friend Ben's enthusiastic account of using the "Self-scan" checkout option in Islington Sainsbury's: Do you prefer the old checkout traditions or would you prefer to scan all your groceries yourself?

...Do you have any customer-assessing tips for minimising the time you spend in the queue? If you do scan your own groceries, how tempted might you be to give yourself a couple of "special reductions"? (Ben says that the Sainsbury's one cautions you by announcing "There is something surprising in your bag", or words to that effect.) And, with the news that Asda is introducing a new, rubber hammock based Bender Ender shopping trolley, are there any other improvements that you'd like to see to enhance your own supermarket-visiting experience?


Posted: 21:39 Sun 15-02-2004 by Snackspot # permalink comment
Comment: When I'm in the supermarket queue I'm sometimes reminded of (I think) the Jerry Seinfeld routine where he berates, well, women in general for not having their money ready at the till *almost as if they've never purchased anything in a shop before*.

More practically - what's your weirdest request for change? Once my bill at KwikSave came to something like £5.97, and the cashier - completely straight-facedly - asked "Have you got the 97p?"

Posted: 21:40 Sun 15-02-2004 by "appletizzy" # permalink comment
Comment: A firend once freaked her (striped-shirt-wearing) boyfriend out by palming a barcode label from a product and then 'scanning' his shirt. He spent ages trying to cancel the random item he was sure had been added to his bill before she put him out of his misery.
Posted: 04:40 Mon 16-02-2004 by "Adrian" # permalink comment
Comment: Oh yes, and you see it at the ticket machines on trams as well - women fumbling in purses for change only afer they've selected the type of ticket they want, and have already spent a couple of minutes waiting for the machine to become available, during which time they don't even open their purse to see how much change they have. It must be something to with fellers keeping their money in their trouser pockets and women using purses.

Hope that doesn't derail the face-off...

Posted: 09:24 Mon 16-02-2004 by "Mike Gray" # permalink comment
Comment: Self scan checkouts would be fine if they ever actually came and removed the electronic tags from products. Razor blades, DVDs, CDs, clothes, whenever I buy any of these from my local Tesco the staff don't bother coming to remove the tag, I get stopped at security thus negating the time saved.
Posted: 10:47 Mon 16-02-2004 by "Nebbish" # permalink comment
Comment: Never used a self scan, but there are much discounts to be had with the self-weigh and attach your own barcode stickers at the fruit n veg sections in some Sainsburys - the trick is to hold your bag of veg so it is just delicately touching the scales when you weigh it, ensuring a hefty discount. It's fool proof because if you get caught at the checkout you can just blame the scales.

But, coming to think of it, it's ages since I came across a weigh-it-yourself Sainsburys and they've phased it out at my local one, so maybe they rumbled my little scam.

Posted: 11:36 Mon 16-02-2004 by "Diarmuid Mallon" # permalink comment
Comment: Its almost impossible to queue to pay, without at least one person in front being 'what you want money? Ohh, let me look for my purse/wallet' type. You also get the type who finish packing BEFORE handing over they credit/debit card. For godsake - multi-task.

So the trick to saving time at the checkout is to go for the till with the fewest people in the queue; even if you only have a basket and they have a trolley load. That way you have less incompetent types in front.

(And don't even start me on those who stand up large bottles of pop, that then come crashing down on my food when the conveyer belt moves.)

Posted: 12:27 Mon 16-02-2004 by Snackspot # permalink comment
Comment: I used to be annoyed by people who'd drag huge baskets through the "10 items or less" checkout - though I've actually started bending the regulations there myself recently, sometimes getting away with as many as 11 or 12!

As Bill Murray says in Ghostbusters: "It's more of a guideline than a rule..."

Posted: 12:34 Mon 16-02-2004 by Snackspot # permalink comment
Comment: Also, what do the panel make of the modern habit of eating products while you're wondering round the aisles then just asking them to scan the packet?

I don't do it myself, but once mounted a spirited defence of it to some friends who deemed it "disgusting" - by pointing out that it's exactly the same sequence of events that takes place in most restaurants, after all...

Posted: 01:52 Tue 17-02-2004 by "KoolAid" # permalink comment
Comment: WRT opening packets before you've paid I would say, if you have kids, then it's an acceptable practice.

If you've no kids to use as an excuse, and can't wait until you've paid, then it is a bit pikey.

Posted: 15:38 Wed 18-02-2004 by "Angry Shopper" # permalink comment
Comment: The one that gets me is people leaving their trolley in the queue and then going off to buy some more stuff!! Come on, have you finished or not? What's next, putting an empty trolley in the queue and then starting your shopping while the trolley keeps your place?
Posted: 01:01 Thu 19-02-2004 by "Adrian" # permalink comment
Comment: Snacking in the supermarket seems kind of wrong to me. The only acceptable munching is trying a grape or cherry to see if they're worth buying. Or maybe asking for a sample slice of a particular smallgood to see if you like it. However, all bets are off when someone is standing in the aisle behind a little table of "free samples", especially cheese. Then you go as hard as you possibly can. The best ever free sample I've had was in a Bayswiss - they were handing out sample shots of vodka and gin.
Posted: 11:32 Fri 20-02-2004 by "Daveybaby" # permalink comment
Comment: Face-off comprehensively derailed!

The people i hate most of all in supermarkets are.... all of them. Every single last shuffling gawping fuckwitted one of them. And that goes for all other types of shop as well.

Posted: 13:02 Fri 20-02-2004 by "Mike Gray" # permalink comment
Comment: For me it's the shuffling, umbrella carrying elderly in our local Morrisons on a Saturday who carry it under their arm and then stop suddenly as if trying to impale you, Buffy style.
Posted: 13:43 Fri 20-02-2004 by Snackspot # permalink comment
Comment: I often shop at "antisocial" hours (for the reason Daveybaby outlines) like, I dunno, 10am on a weekday - if you then try going along on a Saturday morning (for example) the supermarkets seem to be *full* of idiots pushing trolleys...
Posted: 14:39 Fri 20-02-2004 by "Alex" # permalink comment
Comment: I've still yet to achieve my goal of going to Tesco's at 2am.

On another note, I jsut bought 15 packs of Liquorice Skittles for £3

Posted: 19:37 Fri 20-02-2004 by "KoolAid" # permalink comment
Comment: Tesco's at 2am is a shoplifter's paradise. I went there the other night (escaping a dumb-ass nightshift) and all you can see is roll-cages and boxes floor to ceiling. This provides excellent camouflage from the shelf-stackers (not that it's needed since all they seem to do is be talking to each other). There's usually one bint on the checkout at night time, and she'll be talking to the customer services girl anyway, so you can walk right out with a bulky rain coat full of loot.
Posted: 19:42 Fri 20-02-2004 by "Saramond" # permalink comment
Comment: Daveybaby....Why not just shop on t'internet? Saves mixing with the lower classes!

On the same lines, anyone one else noticed old people insist on going into town centres on weekend days and shuffle along with their old shopping trollies,

WTF can't they go in the week????

Posted: 19:57 Sat 21-02-2004 by "Nick" # permalink comment
Comment: I get very angry with the obviously-retired in the supermarket on Saturday and Sunday. "Oi ! Get out ! You've got this place for 5 days a week, whilst I'm out earning tax for your pension."

You can virtually hear them trundle. And brake suddenly. Somebody fit them with lights !


Posted: 19:58 Sat 21-02-2004 by "Nick" # permalink comment
Comment: And another thing. Getting back to the topic. I don't mind self scanning supermarkets, but when their checkouts are all empty and the others are choccablock it does irritate me that there's a 'Scanners only' sign up.
Posted: 20:07 Sat 21-02-2004 by "Daveybaby" # permalink comment
Comment: Nice to see its not just me who is morphing, power rangers stylee, into Victor Meldrew.
Posted: 22:20 Sun 22-02-2004 by "Flameproof" # permalink comment
Comment: My local Marks & Spencer's just had a self-scan system installed in its food hall. Rather than bumbling along with a little box scanning as you go you scan everything at the end as you bag; I can't help feel this is simply a measure because they couldn't be bothered to employ a checkout monkey! Costsavings taken a bit far? Even though there's only one queue for the 6 machines it still moves remarkably slower than the 'just buying my lunch' queues.
Posted: 05:04 Tue 24-02-2004 by "Ricco Alesi" # permalink comment
Comment: The new self scanning tills at sainsuburys market in Victoria are hopeless. They work on a scales system, and if the scales think that you have put an item too many into your bag, then you have to take everything out and start again. You also can't have more than 2 bags of shopping.

Self service tills: only good if you're buying milk and a packet of biscuits.

Posted: 17:33 Wed 21-04-2004 by "Blow Pop" # permalink comment
Comment: If your not smart enough to do the damn thing yourself you should not go shopping unless your mommy is with you!
Posted: 15:45 Wed 19-05-2004 by "SainsburysGuru" # permalink comment
Comment: You absolute monkey, im the checkout manager at sainsburys and even tho your comment was for marks and spencers its not that they dont have enough staff. If we have one attendant for 4 tills in thory thats three extra cashiers we can put on tills. Plus you dont have to start again if something goes wrong just ask for help instead of making a scene and thinking that there's nothing more to life than whining about your food shopping.
Posted: 16:04 Wed 19-05-2004 by Snackspot # permalink comment
Comment: new best comment opening - "You absolute monkey, I'm the checkout manager at sainsburys".

Still, if they are who they say they are, then at least it shows the supermarkets haven't completley lost touch with what the public are *really* thinking...

Posted: 14:36 Thu 08-Jul-2004 by "Sainsburys Checkout Supervisor" # permalink comment
Comment: If you are really a checkout manager you should be ashamed that you a sticking up for a company which gives all its staff noting but grief.

"If we have one attendant for 4 tills in theory thatís three extra cashiers we can put on tills."

Whatís this bullocks about saving hours on self checkouts and putting them on normal checkouts. Everybody knows that if you've been managing well without these 'extra' three cashiers there is no need in having them, and if you werenít managing well then you should have been given more hours by the store manager to hire three extra cashiers in the first place. So you are correct that it is "in 'THEORY' thatís three extra cashiers we can put on tills"

Posted: 02:13 Fri 09-Jul-2004 by "cresta" # permalink comment
Comment: checkout tactics - I often try to identify which operator looks the slowest (it used to be the young lads, but they seem to have been trained recently). I'm sure I'm not the only one who actually likes to spend longer at the checkout, so I can pack my bags in some sort of order, rather than pile all the heavy stuff on top of squashy things.
Posted: 14:07 Fri 09-Jul-2004 by "Phillerena" # permalink comment
Comment: Aldi stores have the fastest checkout chicks and guys I have ever seen. It's literally "blip-blip-blip-blip-blip" "and that'll be £7.30" please-thankyou-bye".
Posted: 19:01 Wed 08-Jun-2005 by "Sainsburys rules! (ish)" # permalink comment
Comment: look, i don't like people making fun of sainsburys. it may be a low paying, boring place to work but its my low paying, boring place to work. The only thing worse than working there is having to listen to people like you on a saturday morning bitching about how it could be better! Do something about it or pi$$ off to tescos!
Posted: 23:38 Thu 29-Dec-2005 by "Joe" # permalink comment
Comment: I'm a Service Manager (checkouts etc.) and personally I find that the idea of these "self-scan" terminals is stupid. There needs to be training for every customer that comes through them. The problems and queries they will cause will be horrendous. And the amount of people going through them and not scanning a few items will be high. At ASDA we have telxon units that are used if we have a very busy period. Colleagues from the shop floor simply scan your shopping and a checkout is selected specially for this "queue busting" so that the operator simply scans a receipt and away the customers go.

There have been many different ways that retailers have devised to cut down on wages and being more efficient and non of them have worked. What ever happened to interaction with the customer? Next they will be talking about making the place look like a warehouse. I feel that when you go into a shop you need to be looked after and by doing away with a lot of colleagues is gonna turn supermarkets into factories.

Posted: 08:16 Fri 30-Dec-2005 by "charl" # permalink comment
Comment: the geek in me loves using self scan (i even got a software diagnostic print out with my receipt in tesco!) but i do worry i am making people redundant by using it.
Posted: 01:21 Mon 02-Jan-2006 by "Garg" # permalink comment
Comment: At the tesco near me, they have some of these self service doohickys, where shop blokes can look after several lanes. This means less money spent on shop blokes. This could lead to cheaper food. This makes me quite happy in my pants.
Posted: 19:58 Fri 16-Jun-2006 by "Gary" # permalink comment
Comment: I'm a Checkout Manager in training at Sainsbury's and I do agree with a lot of your comments on the self service "Issue". I agree that the self checkouts are not for everyone and there is a lot of stupid time wasting mistakes made by customers that obviously like to jump in the deep end and not even have a brief look at the demo before using the checkout and would rather make a big scene shouting and hollaring at the assistant which is literaly looking after 4 tills at one time and can't allways attend to everyone at once. But on a plus side they are quicker for the 'office person' at lunch with just a sandwich and a drink, their out in no time x 4, which instead of waiting in a queue in front of people with full baskets and trolleys. But you will still get thoes customers that dismiss all thoes 'Basket Only' signs and start overloading the machines with too many items, which we are asking supervisors and security to be extra vigalant in this as the selfscan clerk dont allways see them and its bad 'PR' to tell them to go to a normal checkout mid transaction. "SainsburysGuru" I agree with and its not up to the store manager how many hours the department gets its the ROM's and Head Office directors and if you dont adhear with your set hours and go "over" you will face harsh disaplinary action. Yes Managers get it too, but alot harsher!!
Posted: 23:55 Sat 17-Jun-2006 by "Chubworth" # permalink comment
Comment: I love self service checkouts as it avoids me having to talk to people. Or to put it charitably, avoids people having to talk to me.
Posted: 00:28 Sun 18-Jun-2006 by "polarbear" # permalink comment
Comment: i kinda agree
Posted: 00:27 Fri 14-Jul-2006 by "checkout girl" # permalink comment
Comment: im one of the people who man the self-scan tills. the system is really clever and simple, cust cause they own problems by not asking for help, or reading the screen, they get suck they just start whacking all the buttons hoping they eventually hit the right one. i thought the elderly would cause the most problems but they come straight over and say ive never used it before can u explain it to me. maybe next time you go try doing the same thing once you know the rules it is so simple and quick. Although i do find the automated voice really annoying!! p.s if you make loads of mistakes it aint the checkout persons fault, try not to shout out them to deflect your own stupidity.
Posted: 00:04 Sat 15-Jul-2006 by "Fiona Corke's wardrobe supplied by Kamizole" # permalink comment
Comment: I think i've finally got used to the self scan at ADSA, you have to put your scanned items in the bag & 'press down'...yipeee!! after about 6 nightmare tries I've done it! - long live the self scan
Posted: 15:10 Wed 27-Sep-2006 by "166" # permalink comment
Comment: Speaking as some one who works in a supermarket, my fellow workers and I can't stand customers talking on their mobile phone - the height of bad manners, nor can we stand the next customer expecting us to start scanning their groceries before the customer before them has finished. We don't like being blamed for doing our job the way management asks us to, if you don't like it tell the management, not us. Don't be rude, it gets you nowhere and shows you up to be a bigger idiot than you already are. Your problems are far more likely to be solved if you are courteous. We are human beings with feelings and we dislike it as much as you do when things go wrong.

Anyway, get a life all those of you who moan so much - if you can get this overexcited about doing your grocery shopping why don't you get as overexcited about the more important things in life?

Posted: 16:43 Wed 27-Sep-2006 by "Phillerena" # permalink comment
Comment: I totally agree with the above. 74496 5
Posted: 02:32 Sun 10-Dec-2006 by "Rhys" # permalink comment
Comment: i live in Australia as a department manager in waiting and part of my training is using a checkout, you people need to get a life and stop moaning about checkout lines and the staff, you dont relise how hard it is until you use one, we have to deal with you type of wankers everyday that are too busy to read the three items or less sign or had a bad day so cut the line in the three items or less with 20 items and say you had a bad day, you all are fucking loosers! get a life and stop moaning!
Posted: 04:30 Sun 10-Dec-2006 by "Marquez" # permalink comment
Comment: I've never seen this 'self-scan' business in sainsbury's or any other supermarket, can someone explain? sounds good though, you could just pretend to scan certain items but don't actually put them through!
Posted: 00:10 Tue 12-Dec-2006 by "Self-checkout" # permalink comment
Comment: Was in Vauxhall's Sainsbury's the other day and after scanning all my purchases, the machine went to a perpetual "Item removed from the bagging area, return item to the bagging area before continue". And the staff was like "may be you should start again". I bought quite a lot of stuff that day so it was honestly quite annoying.
Posted: 20:46 Tue 12-Dec-2006 by "Yay! Lovely Fish!" # permalink comment
Comment: Self scan is getting everywhere now, even our local Tesco Express has had half the normal tills removed for 2 new self scan ones...
Posted: 20:19 Sat 16-Dec-2006 by "jon" # permalink comment
Comment: i wouldnt mind working on a till so much if we didnt have to pack everything ourselves! its so much slower! if the people who brought the shopping packed their shopping away, stuff would work so much easier.
Posted: 09:45 Tue 15-Jan-2008 by "Vanessa " # permalink comment
Comment: Well thats just lazy of the staff not to do help the customer to put the items in the bags. I mean can't they even give a hand to the customers who then have to put all of that shopping in the trolley then go to the car and put all the shopping in there then put the trolley back. How hard could this be? Helping someone should not be a burden especially if they have to do alot of shopping. Try to understand other peoples feelings. As far as self-scan comes i have never experienced using one. I can't say much about that. But there is one thing i cna say and that is that customers that are carry very few items caould use the self-scan as this will be more faster for them.
Posted: 10:18 Tue 15-Jan-2008 by "Ronnie DiMarco" # permalink comment
Comment: I hate self scan, enough said!
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