Posted by: petedx | 06/07/2010

Working for free at the supermarket

A pretty obvious one to go for but I’ll moan about it anyway based on too many recent experiences.

I always viewed people who use self scan checkouts at the supermarkets as having a sandwich short of a picnic. Supermarkets sell it to you as having a choice to beat the queue for your benefit. If only, it’s to reduce staff costs and maximize profit. We all know it but if it’s there and helps us get out the shop quicker…

I however am a stubborn bastard!

My take on it is, if a tin of fruit retails at 50 pence then that includes the cost of the goods plus the mark up.

Contained in the mark up is the costs of getting the goods to me, and the cost of a checkout person scanning it, the rest is profit for the store.

So if we assume even a modest 2-3p built in cost for checkout staff, if I use self scan then I would expect to have that 2-3p deducted. Otherwise I provided willingly greater profit for the store.

So for me to self scan one of two things need to happen:-

1. An automatic discount of x % of the final shop total.
2. For the self scan machine to time how long I have used the till and pay me a reasonable hourly rate pro rata once I have checked out. Why should I work for Tescbury’s for free?

But now this ‘option’ has started to be forced upon me and everytime I go in to buy a few items I have to explain the above thoughts to another member of staff who comes up to me wishing to help. It’s not their fault it’s the managers so I always treat the ones at the coal face with respect when I explain my objections.

Recent episodes:
Sainsbury’s Swindon
5 normal tills at the market end only 1 manned
4 self scan, 1 member of staff wandering about.
1 very long queue for the only manned till.
This happens every day.
I always have the self scan wanderer come up to me to joyfully show me how to save time by ‘playing shop’,

I say, had they opened all the manned tills I would not be in a queue that would then need me to ‘save time’ and provide them bigger profits.

I always explain, pay me, discount the shop, or open more tills before asking me to work as a checkout operator for free.

You can tell the throttling of the manned tills is deliberate to condition customers to help Sainsbury’s eliminate staff costs.

I have the same at Tesco’s. Their machines don’t recognise their own recycling bags so you get invalid items in the bagging area. Daft sods! I once saw a customer told by a supervisor he had to use them due having a few items!!

B&Q have taken the brave move in most stores in my area by only having one manned till and providing 8-10 shiny self scan machines. ‘Come over to these tills to save queuing’ they say. I
never had to queue before you removed the manned tills!! FFS!!

After 7pm (IIRC) I have noticed there is no choice in my local store, no manned till in the evening. That’s when I go to customer services and ask to pay. When I am directed to self scan I explain I am illiterate and need help to read the screen. They then check it out for me.

Stand up all resist this change, it’s not good for anyone. But if there are 10 manned tills all with queues with just one lonely self scan in the corner I think we can all be forgiven for using it as a genuine emergency.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


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