Self-service checkouts are a regular feature in our supermarkets, but it’s been claimed that they haven’t cut queuing times. Whether this is true or not, your votes show that more of you loathe than love them.
A small increase waiting times at staffed checkouts in Tesco and Sainsbury’s have been cited as proof that self-service checkouts don’t work.
The timings were provided by The Grocer, but even they weren’t convinced that these waiting times (up by around 10 seconds) actually refuted the value of self-service.
For a start, the same report showed that waiting times in Asda and Morrisons had in fact dropped in the past two years. Secondly, when taking self-service checkouts into consideration, waiting times overall have dropped in most supermarkets.
But then there’s the opinion that more self-service checkouts mean less staff – an ugly detail that supermarkets have tried to deny. There’ll always be questions over whether scanning shopping ourselves is for our benefit or for the benefit of the supermarkets’ bottom line.
Whatever the truth, it looks like we’ll have no choice – around 15,000 of these ‘unexpected item’ scanners are expected to be working in our country’s supermarkets by next year.
Most of us hate self-service checkouts
And it looks like this roll-out won’t please most shoppers – six in ten of you said that you hated self-service checkouts in our poll of over a thousand people. Of those cynics, two in five said they were worse than unsmiling checkout assistants, with a quarter finding them difficult to use.
In our comments section others said that the robotic checkouts were unintuitive, with others frustrated by the need for assistance when buying items like alcohol. But they do have their supporters – a third of you said you liked them because they’re speedy and convenient.
Although most disliked self-service checkouts, quite a few of you had a soft spot for Waitrose’s quick-check system, where shoppers scan their shopping as they go. Whether this will catch on in other supermarkets is unknown, especially since the system relies on trust.
In the end, whether you love or loathe self-service checkouts, what’s important is having the choice of using a staffed till. Personally, I’m waiting for the day when I can load my shopping trolley and just walk out of the supermarket as it’s all automatically scanned and charged to my card. Now that’s convenience.