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Those self-service supermarket tills do not ring my bell

By Lindy McDowell

Published 24/05/2012

It may have taken a while but finally till bells have sounded the alarm to major store chains that customers really do not like self-service checkouts in shops.

They may be acceptable when you've got only a couple of items to buy and an assistant immediately on hand to sort out the inevitable "unidentified item in the bagging area" snarl-up.

But for any shopper hoping to process an entire trolley load of groceries before nightfall they are purgatory.

And shoppers today have, let's face it, options.

Why has it taken so long for the big chains to spot this?

Could it be because so few of the executives who take the decisions about these things actually have experience of doing something as bog standard as the weekly shop?

They expect the rest of us to be so taken with the buy one get one free offer on fabric softener we haven't noticed that we're expected to make up for profit loss by a quick stint as an unpaid shop assistant at the till.

The shop bosses themselves have obviously not had a lot of experience of wrestling with a loaded trolley, bags that refuse to hang off the prongs provided, the disembodied voice demanding you "call for assistance", random items requiring proof of age before purchase and barcodes that will not ping no matter what way you swipe them.

Otherwise they might have spotted before now that there was a real problem in their damned bagging area.

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