A case that broke my heart and redoubled my resolve to never use a self checkout.

James Bond
2 min readNov 2, 2023

Today my heart broke when I heard a cashier talking at a supermarket.

She’s 62. She was forced to take retirement from her last teaching job. Besides it was getting too much for her.

She had to take this supermarket job because her pension doesn’t pay that well. The problem here is she is on a zero hour contract so she doesn’t know one week to the next if she has work or not. She then said to her colleague that if people start using self scan machines they will do away with cashiers more and more.

My heart sank. I will oppose self scan machines till my last dying breath but this redoubled my resolve.

This is from one of my websites and explains the financial plight of mums.

When you go on maternity leave your income halves. At the time of writing the UK minimum wage is £8.72 per hour for those over 25. Let’s assume you work for 40 hours per week. That equates to £348.80 per week. After tax and national insurance that works out at £275.68.

Childcare per child is £45 per child per day. Assuming you work for 5 days that works out at £225 per week. Hence a mother who returned to work would take home £275.68-£225= £50.68 per week.

That works out at £1.27 per hour over a 40-hour week.

That’s why many families rely on tax credits, universal credit and child benefit to get by.

Many people are on zero-hour contracts, so they don’t know one week to the next if they have work.

All too often the other half (if there is one) has to take on a second job. That results in the other half having the heart-breaking situation of missing the children growing up.

Inflation is 3% (now higher). Wage rises if you are lucky are 1%. Hence your wages are worth less and less. Hence many people struggle financially.

Worse still many people can’t afford to put anything into a private pension. So, they retire on the state pension of £134.75 per week- around 40% of what they were struggling to live on to start with. Hence so many pensioners work in supermarkets.

How did we allow this to happen?

Please make sure you use staffed tills only to help people like this lady. Please write your comments below.