Self-service machines repel customers in their droves

15 October 2013

Here’s an unexpected problem in the bagging area – a third of customers hate self service checkouts so much that they will actually leave a store rather than having to deal with one.


Customers not only become incandescent with rage whenever they’re within 2 metres of a self-service machine, but they also fear it’s going to accuse them of nicking stuff if they don’t scan their shopping in correctly.

In a survey by retail technology company Tensator, they found that 40% of customers have experienced annoying issues with idiot machines, and 80% say they have needed help (mostly because the stupid things freak out whenever you scan anything, put anything in a bag, buy a bottle of wine or exist near them). They’re so awful that 60% would rather deal with a real-life crotchety assistant with a name tag and an attitude problem, who secretly wishes you were dead.

More than half of customers believe that it doesn’t even save time, due to the constant balls ups and pleading electronic calls for assistance involved in scanning in the average shop.

Tensator chief executive Alan McPherson said: ‘If such a high number of shoppers need help when using self-service tills, retailers need to be looking at the technology they use and the way it’s being presented to the consumer.If so many people need help, it’s not self-service.’

Basically, the self-service machine is a glitchy pile of useless crap that has put millions out of work, and it isn’t even doing its job properly.



  • jim ?.
    well said
  • Warwick H.
    Odious machines,I left my trolly and walked out of B&Q last week because they refused to put a till on.You want my cash ? well its on my terms.
  • Owen W.
    If Google made these machines they'd work"!
  • Orange M.
    Plus, you can't wank over a self-service machine's tits.
  • great s.
    ^ yes you can
  • Alexis
    Sainsbury's are pretty good actually. Morrisons' are wank. They should be getting some money back of fwhichever supplier sold them to them.
  • JustJames
    I seriously question these findings! I will go out of my way to use the self service till, and since I'm not a moron I can work the service point without having to call a member of staff over. On the other hand, if I am in a shop that doesn't have a self service point, I have to compete with staff who stand around chatting rather than getting on a till or staff who are having a conversation with each other while on a till.
  • Obi K.
    The big supermarkets just need to train their staff to stop fucking chatting and dicking around, and - novel idea - scan items through as fast as they can. Aldi and Lidl manage it, so why can't the others? Ideally you need a combination of the skilled operators of Aldi/Lidl (or fear of god or whatever else makes them work so fast) with more than one fucking till open at a time in those stores.
  • shakesheadsadly
    B&Q's are particually hateful. They're just so slow. And you don't often buy normal shaped items at B&Q. How do I fit a christmas tree in the bagging area?!??!?!?!??
  • jim
    "...40% of customers have experienced annoying issues with idiot machines, and 80% say they have needed help..." So this means at least 40% of people using self service have needed help just lining up an array of lasers with a bar code? >40% of people are too stupid to work a till, we're doomed!
  • B S.
    There are some very trite comments (surprise surprise) here. Obviously it's not that people can't physically scan something, it's that the scanner doesn't recognise something, or the weight isn't set right in the bagging area, or staff intervention is required to OK an alcohol purchase etc. FFS, get a fucking grip you tossers.
  • Grammar N.
    I agree the Sainsbury's ones are good, but the Tesco ones are terrible - too slow, seem to require approval for pre-packed fruit (!), and can never tell when I have put the product into the packing area.
  • Peter P.
    I'll second the Morrisons ones being shit. After scanning an item you have to reach around the unit to stick it in a bag, unlike every other shops bags being directly to the side of the scanner.
  • jt
    "or staff intervention is required to OK an alcohol purchase etc." If you're stupid enough to go to the self service till when buying alcohol then more fool you.
  • Dod G.
    If you scan the booze as loose onions you'll be alright mister.
  • SB
    It's not the machine thats the problem.. Its the idiots using them. I get frustrated that there arent more of them as the assistants are so slow and the ones they do have are full on monkeys f*****g stuff up.
  • fibbingarchie
    The stats don't make sense. '40% of customers have experienced annoying issues with idiot machines, and 80% say they have needed help..' If they're meant to be self-service, then needing help would mean you have experienced an annoying issue, therefore the % quoted in the first statement should be higher than that quoted in the second statement, because you can experience an annoying issue without needing help. Innit?
  • MS
    Never had much of an issue with self scan tills in the past when buying a small basket of shopping. I know to avoid when buying age restricted items etc. But the problem now is that supermarkets (ASDA I'm looking at you) are replacing manned tills with self-scan tills with conveyor belts. 8pm on a weeknight the local 24hr ASDA has only about three manned tills staffed all with huge queues whilst some dickhead points a "space here" sign at the self-scans. You are effectively forced into using the self scan ones unless you want to queue for an eternity. It took well over ten minutes last week to process our trolley of goods whilst we dealt with umpteen "unexpected items in the bagging area" alerts. It wouldn't even be so bad if the staff that are supposed to help actually made themselves available instead of being stood chatting to their friends.
  • Sean M.
    It looks like people are rebelling!
  • Sean M.
  • james
    "retail technology company finds that retail technology needs improving" Surveys paid for by companies to get their very boring products and services into news outlets is NOT NEWS.
  • Andy A.
    the next thing will be these machines in Bank branches......
  • Marky M.
    Go into many smaller Duane Reade shops in New York and you'll find self-service is the ONLY option. I can think of at least two shops - approx the size of a shop in a train station here - where there was just one member of staff, whose job was only to keep the self-service machines running.
  • I_Like_Crumpets
    "Unexpected item in the bagging area" "Unexpected item in the bagging area" "Unexpected item in the bagging area" "Unexpected item in the bagging area" "Unexpected item in the bagging area" "Unexpected item in the bagging area" oh fuck off *walks out*
  • Mr C.
    These things fill me with rage. I have walked out before leaving the items at the scanners. I have also walked out when the 24h ASDA hell-hole shut all of the manned tills leaving just the self service.. certainly no option when you have a trolley full of items. Personally I think you should get a discount for using them.
  • Old G.
    @Mr Crump So you were the annoying idiot who left his three trolleys worth of shopping blocking up the only working self-service scanner in Asda??? You left me with no other option than to wank over your shopping instead.
  • Custard C.
    @Old Git So you're the bastard that wanked over all that shopping? Took me ages to lick it all up.
  • Benny
    This is not true in my experience. The number of times I notice empty manned tills, while people flock to self-service suggests that actually, most people like self-service. Brits are particularly lonely creatures and naturally prefer it that way.
  • Steve
    Just been to Asda in mean wood ,Leeds. I asked the staff member for till service and point blank refused me this service, saying the till out of operation and said I have no option but use the self serve checkout. Only moments later he was using the till to check through a pensioner who refused to use the self service, "bunch of lazy bas,,,rds" My next plan is to get a whole bunch off shopping and if they refuse to check it through leave it and walk out slowly!

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