A step in the right direction

James Bond
2 min readNov 10, 2023

I was absolutely delighted to see this on facebook.

Hopefully, more supermarkets will follow suit.

I am wholly opposed to self-service checkouts. They do not speed things up, they slow things down.

Now let me tell you the story of Mrs. Jones- not her real name. When I was an assistant for the Coop Mrs Jones came into our shop. She burst into tears and I went to assist her. She told me that her husband had recently passed away and he did all her shopping for her. She was very unfamiliar with supermarkets and shops.

She had a shopping list.

I told her there was no problem. I got a basket and took her round the shop getting everything on the list. In the end, I took her to a till, put them all through, and packaged her shopping for her. I told her that we were not busy on Mondays to Wednesdays and anytime she wanted such help just to ask for me.

Sadly, it worked too well! Lots of elderly and mums with babies caught onto this and asked me to do this. The average spend per customer rocketed. I am amazed more supermarkets don’t do this. Also, young teenage men asked for this service as well. Before I came along the shop was wholly staffed by women and so they were too embarrassed to buy condoms.

When I started working there, you’ll be amazed at how many would give me the money on the shop floor and ask me to put them through the till for them! Before I started working there, we used to sell 5–10 packs per week. As soon as I arrived it was at least 10 packs per day! It’s stupid!

It reminds me of the Mates Condoms advert.

Self-service checkouts are not faster. It is immeasurably faster to go to a conveyor belt till where someone is unloading from their trolley onto the conveyor belt. Then as they bag at the other end you unload yours. As you bag your stuff the customer behind you unloads.

Whenever I had queues of customers, I would put them in one queue. Open up 3–5 tills and allocate accordingly. They would go down like there was no tomorrow.

Now let me have your thoughts.

Bibliography

Self-service: Booths supermarket puts staff back behind its tills https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-67373472

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