Evening Times

Is self-service shopping really what we want?

- By REBECCA GRAY

SUPERMARKE­T selfservic­e machines were designed to make our lives more convenient, but new research claims the opposite could be true. A survey has revealed nearly half of Britons do not like using self-scan checkouts, with many claiming they often do not work properly.

Shoppers at most British supermarke­ts now have a choice when it comes to paying for their goods.

As well as the traditiona­l method of allowing a cashier to scan their items, there are an increasing number of self-service machines designed to let the customer scan, pack and pay for their shopping themselves.

But they are proving unpopular, with four out 10 shoppers surveyed saying the tills often do not understand when you want to use your own bag, leading them to be charged for plastic bags they have not used.

The survey results, revealed last week, showed more than one in 10 shoppers complained that when they want cash back they have to waste time tracking down a member of staff to assist them.

A further 13% of shoppers claimed they may as well buy online, as they feel they are doing the job of the retailer by operating the checkout themselves.

The new systems were launched in 2003, and see customers fill up their basket or trolley and go to one of the special checkouts which has an interactiv­e touch screen.

They have to pass the barcode of each product over a scanner and then place it into a carrier bag on a set of scales.

Every item in store has had its exact weight entered into a computer, allowing the check-out to tell exactly what has gone into the bag, and cutting the risk of theft.

Customers then pay with either cash or a debit or credit card.

Self-service check-outs are already in use at thousands of

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Are self-serve checkouts a help or a hindrance?
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