Supermarkets' self-service option leading to longer queues for 'human' checkouts
We all love self-service checkouts in supermarkets don’t we? Smooth, effortless transactions that are only interrupted if we’re trying to buy booze or something where the bar code doesn’t work properly. Even then, the delay is only somewhere between fairly and very irritating. Great stuff.
But it seems that rather than shorten the queues at the human-manned checkouts, they introduction of the self-service has actually made them longer. According to the Telegraph, the average wait for a staffed till has gone from 5min 15sec in 2008 to 5min 42sec this year. At Sainsbury’s there has also been a rise in average queuing times, from 5min 30sec to 5min 35sec.
Research has shown that one in six of us who use self-service tills find ourselves putting our hands up like a frightened schoolchild who needs to go to the toilet as the whole thing goes calamitously wrong.
Yet still the supermarkets insist on rolling out more of the things – Waitrose are the latest chain to trial them, and there’ll be 15,000 self-service checkouts in the UK by next year.
Worse still, shop workers’ union Usdaw reckon that the robot checkouts are the cause of ‘shop rage’. Their general secretary John Hannett said: “Frustrated shoppers experiencing problems using self-service checkouts can often take out their anger and frustration on the nearest shop worker, and this is both unfair and unacceptable.
“In our latest survey, self-service checkouts were cited for the first time as a cause of abuse – only in three per cent of incidents, but we will be very concerned if the situation worsens as the use of self-service checkouts becomes more widespread.”
Have you ever punched a self-service checkout in the balls are do you know how to work one without having to resort to crying like a tit? Maybe you avoid them altogether and select your checkout according to how much you fancy the person sitting behind it. Tell us your stories. We REALLY care.