Wednesday, October 05, 2011

It Comes To Us All.

I was in Tesco's today getting just two items and so, as I approached the checkouts, I decided to make use of one of their self scanning units.

Now I've always regarded self scanning as a technological mixed blessing. If the other staffed checkouts are very busy and I've only got one or two items, then it makes sense to do a self scan. On the other hand I've known these machines to "act up" and if I see a checkout line with only one person in it, I'll slot in behind them rather than risk finding an hormonal scanner that is having a particularly bad day.

I just don't need the stress.

Anyway today there were several self scanners tempting me to approach them by being devoid of customers. I took the bait.

I scanned both my items, chose the cash option, put in my £2 coin and whilst waiting for my change to be delivered, I heard several sighs coming from the little old lady using the scanner next to me.

With my purchases safely bagged and my change and receipt in my pocket, I looked across and noticed the lady was very agitated and almost on the brink of tears. The staff member covering the self scanners was dealing with another customer's problem and so I went over and asked if I could help.

"Can I help you" I said, trying not to frighten her with my height and bulk.

"I just don't know what to do" she replied, looking up at me with large slightly moist eyes.

"Well ok, what are you trying to do" I asked, gently.

"I don't know. I've never done this before" she said.

She didn't have anything on the scales and I noticed the scanner was asking for her to enter her card.

"Did you press the card option ?" I asked.

"Yes but I don't know where to put it" she said in a voice so pathetic it melted my heart.

When I looked down at her hand, everything became clear.

She had scanned her single item and managed to press "finish and pay" and when it asked for payment method, she had pressed "card". The scanner then asked her to "enter your card" and this is where she had lost the plot a bit as she was trying to find a large slot to actually push her single shopping item into the scanner.

Why ?

Well her single item was........a birthday card !!


Daphne said...

I've never used one of those self-scan things. Today I walked into Sainsbury's at Leeds Station and ALL the checkouts were self-scan so I walked straight out again. I'd love to say it's because I'm protecting jobs - - and it is, partly. But it's also because I know I'm turning into that elderly lady more with every passing day. Sighhh. I'm glad you helped her though.

Jennyta said...

I refuse to use them because, as I always point out to the staff, it's enough that I have to trawl the aisles to find what I want without having to scan it all myself as well. :)

Milo said...

I don't remember the last time I DIDN'T use a self-scanner. Even at the fairly large Sainsbury's Market (one of the biggest in central London) - I always use self-scan because I'm shopping on foot so never buy more than I can carry.

The M&S Food near my office - always self-scan, same for the Tesco I sometimes pop into on my way to work (like this morning, buying cereal).

In this city the customer service can be so awful (and unintelligible) so much of the time - I would much rather serve myself.

rhymeswithplague said...

Sometimes I use the self-scanner and sometimes I use the real, live, breathing cashier. Which one I use depends on how many items I am buying (more=cashier, fewer=self), how long the line is (long=avoid, short=use), and my temperament in general (happy=either one, crappy=neither one).

Anonymous said...

I do attempt to use self-scan periodically just in case not using them turns me into a "little old lady" in due course. However, the self-scanners in Boots turn me into just that, already. Beware! Items that are too light to register on the scales cause problems... along with suggestions to 'not bag the item'.

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