Self Service Tills

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Self service tills, love or hate? Let’s look at both sides of the agreement here:


  • Speed: They can get you through the transaction process much quicker
  • Anonymity: You don’t need to talk to anyone after a hard day in the office. Small talk with a till operator isn’t the greatest of banter any way.


  • Self Service Tills HelpQueuing with other people: When you finally get to the front, your eyes circling to see which till will become free, or go direct to the till that is ‘Out of order’, so you have to get back to the friggin’ queue!
  • The voice: The sound of the tills voice coming at you from about 6 different angles. A posh computerised lady.
  • Bags: The bags are never ready and open, ’what is this!’
  • The noise: <beep>
  • Stealing: The till believing that you are stealing something when you have just put the item in the bag. Take it out, put it back in again and start again. It does it again. ‘Excuse Me…’
  • Loose items: Please look up item: ‘Oh god I have Parsnip, does ‘P’ come after ‘M’ in the alphabet?’ You begin to sweat as the concept of the alphabet deserts you.
  • Reduced Items: You think you have an absolute bargain, your smug face scans the item , you then realise that the machine scanned the real barcode (the full price) ‘Excuse me…’
  • Alcohol:  You scan in a bottle of red and then hear ‘Approval Needed’, you then wait an age before the self-service till operator comes to help, it’s ok he only has to help  about three other people first <sigh>.
  • Embarrassment: It is actually quite embarrassing saying ‘Excuse me…’, as you receive scowls from the queue behind.  ‘It’s not me, it’s the machine.’
  • Payment: ‘Select payment type, have you swiped your Nectar card?’… NO!
  • Receipt: Payment is easy enough, but then you got to wait for the receipt just in case you get stopped on the way out by security. If you are in a hurry you grab the receipt before it cuts off, thus ending up with half the receipt roll in your hand.

Here is one of my recent experiences in Sainsbury’s, please stay with it, it becomes incredible!

I think you will see that we are firmly in the HATE camp. By the time you have queued, including the number of times you asked for assistance, did really save that much more time? I don’t know, but I will continue to use them…

These supermarkets need to change something, change the voices to something else or integrate a selection of whale noises as a backing track to calm us down, before we smash the screen and launch our shopping back down the aisle…

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