• Dear Guest, and welcome to RailUK Forums. Our non-railway discussion forums are currently restricted until members have five or more posts, and you will not be able to make a new thread or reply to an existing one in this section until you have made five or more posts elsewhere on the forum.

Supermarket Self Service Tills

Ken H

Established Member
Joined
11 Nov 2018
Messages
3,083
Location
N Yorks
Moderator note - posts #1 - #13 originally in this thread:

How critical is the return of passengers and busy trains for railway jobs? | RailUK Forums (railforums.co.uk)


The way I look at it, if you're going to have staff anyway, you may as well give them a computer and all the relevant equipment - like a ticket office.
but in the supermarket, one staff member can manage 10 self scan tills. the customers do most of the work, only needing staff input occasionally. far more productive.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Wolfie

Established Member
Joined
17 Aug 2010
Messages
3,624
but in the supermarket, one staff member can manage 10 self scan tills. the customers do most of the work, only needing staff input occasionally. far more productive.
Based in my experiences where supermarket self-service points are dire as they constantly generate errors, often at least five of the ten need staff intervention at any one time, and the staff member is sometimes nowhere to be seen, l am far from convinced that this is a customer service model which the railway should seek to emulate.
 

SuperNova

Member
Joined
12 Dec 2019
Messages
595
Location
The North
but in the supermarket, one staff member can manage 10 self scan tills. the customers do most of the work, only needing staff input occasionally. far more productive.
Buying different types of tickets, including season tickets, and offering advice is completely different to someone spending £20 on a dozen items of shopping.
 

dk1

Established Member
Joined
2 Oct 2009
Messages
10,198
Location
East Anglia
Based in my experiences where supermarket self-service points are dire as they constantly generate errors, often at least five of the ten need staff intervention at any one time, and the staff member is sometimes nowhere to be seen, l am far from convinced that this is a customer service model which the railway should seek to emulate.
I just can’t be bothered to go to them unless it’s just a sandwich/drink for lunch. I’ve usually got alcohol anyway so it’s a faff. Much prefer a proper checkout with room to pack my bag properly. Human interaction is always a good thing anyway.
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
29,744
Location
Yorks
but in the supermarket, one staff member can manage 10 self scan tills. the customers do most of the work, only needing staff input occasionally. far more productive.

I usually end up waving frantically for someone to authorise my purchases.
 

al78

Established Member
Joined
7 Jan 2013
Messages
1,948
Based in my experiences where supermarket self-service points are dire as they constantly generate errors, often at least five of the ten need staff intervention at any one time, and the staff member is sometimes nowhere to be seen, l am far from convinced that this is a customer service model which the railway should seek to emulate.
Maybe you live in a part of the couontry with anomalously unreliable technology. I have never had any problem with the self service checkouts, they are rarely out of service at my local Tesco. I find them much better than the manned checkouts, because the queue for eight self service checkouts goes through so much faster than any single queue for one manned checkout, which is great when you live in a town where one of the local regulations is to do things as slowly as possible.
 

bramling

Veteran Member
Joined
5 Mar 2012
Messages
13,122
Location
Hertfordshire / Teesdale
Maybe you live in a part of the couontry with anomalously unreliable technology. I have never had any problem with the self service checkouts, they are rarely out of service at my local Tesco. I find them much better than the manned checkouts, because the queue for eight self service checkouts goes through so much faster than any single queue for one manned checkout, which is great when you live in a town where one of the local regulations is to do things as slowly as possible.

This isn’t the case here unfortunately. Most people seem to make such a mess of using the self-service ones that the queues can be very slow, and this doesn’t seem to have improved much over time.

I think the optimum is to have manned checkouts for those who want them, and self-service as a high-capacity express facility for those comfortable.

Railway stations work the same way, normally people who choose machines of their own free will tend to be pretty quick. The problem comes when others are cajoled into using them, either because the window queue is long, or when the booking office is closed. It only takes one person to faff around. Nowadays with the general decline in cash use things have tended to improve, as it has generally meant most stations have more machines than used to be the case in the past.

I remember a time in early NSE days when for a few months I tended to make a one-way journey daily from a station which had only a sole self-service machine open at the time I was travelling, and my circumstances meant I tended to arrive quite tight for my intended train. Nine out of ten times there was no problem, but it was rather frustrating to arrive and find someone faffing around on the sole machine.
 

Wolfie

Established Member
Joined
17 Aug 2010
Messages
3,624
Maybe you live in a part of the couontry with anomalously unreliable technology. I have never had any problem with the self service checkouts, they are rarely out of service at my local Tesco. I find them much better than the manned checkouts, because the queue for eight self service checkouts goes through so much faster than any single queue for one manned checkout, which is great when you live in a town where one of the local regulations is to do things as slowly as possible.
London Zone 2 (Islington). Not any different in the Midlands (Telford) when l go there. Some shops (e.g. Lidl have item count and weight caps on the self-service tills too).

So do I, especially in Sainsburys. Other shops don't seem so bad.
Lidl is poor. Tesco not much better.
 

birchesgreen

Established Member
Joined
16 Jun 2020
Messages
2,052
Location
Birmingham
I find self-serve tills work fine though you always have to be slow and deliberate with what you do, which kind of loses some of the speed advantage.
 

Bikeman78

Established Member
Joined
26 Apr 2018
Messages
2,629
I find self-serve tills work fine though you always have to be slow and deliberate with what you do, which kind of loses some of the speed advantage.
My four year old can usually find the barcodes faster than me. I don't think they even existed when I was four. When I take him to the shop I let him have the scan as you go scanner. Keeps him amused.
 

Non Multi

Member
Joined
11 Dec 2017
Messages
854
I found that before the Pandemic self service tills were set up very strictly with item weights, if an item was out of their specified weight limit, you'd always need staff assistance to OK the item. They've clearly eased these weight limits, presumably to reduce unnecessary contact with staff, so self service is actually quicker now.
 

al78

Established Member
Joined
7 Jan 2013
Messages
1,948
This isn’t the case here unfortunately. Most people seem to make such a mess of using the self-service ones that the queues can be very slow, and this doesn’t seem to have improved much over time.

I think the optimum is to have manned checkouts for those who want them, and self-service as a high-capacity express facility for those comfortable.

Railway stations work the same way, normally people who choose machines of their own free will tend to be pretty quick. The problem comes when others are cajoled into using them, either because the window queue is long, or when the booking office is closed. It only takes one person to faff around. Nowadays with the general decline in cash use things have tended to improve, as it has generally meant most stations have more machines than used to be the case in the past.

I remember a time in early NSE days when for a few months I tended to make a one-way journey daily from a station which had only a sole self-service machine open at the time I was travelling, and my circumstances meant I tended to arrive quite tight for my intended train. Nine out of ten times there was no problem, but it was rather frustrating to arrive and find someone faffing around on the sole machine.
Maybe I'm lucky then. The supermarkets local to me have both self service and manned tills, so there is no compulsion to use self service if you don't like it. I tend to agree that the optimal solution is give people a choice.
 

nlogax

Established Member
Joined
29 May 2011
Messages
3,886
Location
London & Scotland
Rarely have a problem using self-serve tills. The basic premise is fast approaching twenty years old and I've become well versed in their quirks over that time. If you just want to get a relatively small amount of shopping done as quickly as possible then self service is the way to go.
 

Baxenden Bank

Established Member
Joined
23 Oct 2013
Messages
2,542
Rarely have a problem using self-serve tills. The basic premise is fast approaching twenty years old and I've become well versed in their quirks over that time. If you just want to get a relatively small amount of shopping done as quickly as possible then self service is the way to go.
Same here. Always use them (in Tesco), the quirks have generally been ironed out.

Three minor gripes:
Why can't they sort out the price of custard tarts (two pack)? For years the price has been the same (80p) but it insists on asking me if that is the correct price. I'm tempted to say no and offer 60p instead.
Painkillers are age restricted (Think 25 - yeah mate, I can't even remember being 25). This week I bought on two occasions - first time the assistant sorted it at the till itself, the second from their control screen.
For the duration of the National Crisis, just three of the six tills deal with cash. This means, whilst waiting for one to come free, I can play 'shop assistant' and ask people whether they are paying by card and would you like to use one of the unused tills then! There is a second bank of self-service tills, but they are not available all day, so I don't know how many of those take cash, nor whether the staffed tills take cash.
 

PeterY

Member
Joined
2 Apr 2013
Messages
946
I rarely have any problems with self service check outs. The problem I do have with them is most machines in supermarkets don't accept cash. I never feel guilty giving a machine a £20 note for something that costs less than a £1 . :D :D
 

hexagon789

Veteran Member
Joined
2 Sep 2016
Messages
11,779
Location
Glasgow
I have it on good authority that the reality is the shrink loss at self-scan checkouts is barely offset by the reduced staff overheads. Maintenance is also expensive.

The main reason they have them is they can deal with more customers with small shops quickly in a reduced space than standard tills, the staffing cost reductions are not what they are made out to be.
 

skyhigh

Established Member
Joined
14 Sep 2014
Messages
1,427
I found that before the Pandemic self service tills were set up very strictly with item weights, if an item was out of their specified weight limit, you'd always need staff assistance to OK the item. They've clearly eased these weight limits, presumably to reduce unnecessary contact with staff, so self service is actually quicker now.
Not near me. Morrisons in particular are awful - it won't accept the weight of a packet of crisps roughly 1/3rd of the time. Same thing with loose items priced individually like a cucumber or cabbage. There's always only one poor assistant and they're constantly running around sorting the self checkouts. I don't find Sainsbury's or Asda ones nearly as bad, plus there's multiple staff looking after them. However, I always use the handheld scanners in both of those stores. It normally takes me under 30s to pay, unless I need something approved or a random check.
 

1D54

Member
Joined
1 Jun 2019
Messages
52
All the Tesco Metro self - service tills have gone card only in Leicester and have been like this for the last few weeks. No complaints from me though as i no longer leave these establishments with pockets full of copper.
 

Ianno87

Veteran Member
Joined
3 May 2015
Messages
14,437
Not near me. Morrisons in particular are awful - it won't accept the weight of a packet of crisps roughly 1/3rd of the time. Same thing with loose items priced individually like a cucumber or cabbage. There's always only one poor assistant and they're constantly running around sorting the self checkouts. I don't find Sainsbury's or Asda ones nearly as bad, plus there's multiple staff looking after them. However, I always use the handheld scanners in both of those stores. It normally takes me under 30s to pay, unless I need something approved or a random check.

Morrisons self service tills are truly abysmal.
 

Gloster

Established Member
Joined
4 Sep 2020
Messages
2,351
Location
Up the creek
In recent months all three of the supermarkets that I regularly use have turned half the self-scan tills (four out of eight in each case) over to ‘Card only’. However, there seems to be no effort to make people who are paying by card use the ‘Card only’ tills. So you get someone with a full basket of shopping or (in Tesco) a trolley using a ‘Cash/Card’ till, while a cash payer with only a small amount of shopping has to wait. At my local Tesco Express the self-scans are now card only. I am sure that only a cynic would think that they are trying to eliminate the handling of cash.
 

lxfe_mxtterz

Member
Joined
3 Mar 2018
Messages
513
Location
Horse Stables
I've always found Poundland's self service tills (and customer service, for that matter) absolutely atrocious! Nothing ever seems to scan, and when it does, you're in with a 50% chance of getting charged the wrong price for the item - particularly an issue now that they've decided to rip us off by making it so that hardly anything is actually £1 anymore!

Then you've got to call one of the (often unhelpful and miserable) customer service assistants to huff and puff their way over to sort it out.

The amount of time this wastes is shocking, yet they never bother to open the actual tills...
 

hexagon789

Veteran Member
Joined
2 Sep 2016
Messages
11,779
Location
Glasgow
At my local Tesco Express the self-scans are now card only. I am sure that only a cynic would think that they are trying to eliminate the handling of cash.
At Supermarkets I've been to in Switzerland, Luxembourg, France, Belgium and the Netherlands you could only pay by card at the self-service tills - cash transactions had to be at conventional tills rather like in IKEA
 

skyhigh

Established Member
Joined
14 Sep 2014
Messages
1,427
At Supermarkets I've been to in Switzerland, Luxembourg, France, Belgium and the Netherlands you could only pay by card at the self-service tills - cash transactions had to be at conventional tills rather like in IKEA
Slightly at a tangent, I'm sure I remember that at McDonalds in an European country (Italy maybe?) if you want to pay with cash you still place your order on the touchscreen but take the receipt to the counter to pay and receive your food. It seemed unusual to me!
 
Joined
23 May 2020
Messages
290
Location
Blandford Forum
Painkillers are age restricted (Think 25 - yeah mate, I can't even remember being 25). This week I bought on two occasions - first time the assistant sorted it at the till itself, the second from their control screen.

Not only age limited, but the quantity is limited too. Only 32 ibuprofen or paracetamol at a time.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
19,549
In the early days they weren’t good. Now - no problems at all. Most of the shops I go to have card only non-scale self serve tills anyway. So much quicker.
 

TechDan2002

Member
Joined
4 Oct 2019
Messages
191
Location
Penryn
Slightly at a tangent, I'm sure I remember that at McDonalds in an European country (Italy maybe?) if you want to pay with cash you still place your order on the touchscreen but take the receipt to the counter to pay and receive your food. It seemed unusual to me!
Yes was the same at the maccies by Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin when I went during a GCSE History trip in February 2019.
 

Mcr Warrior

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2009
Messages
4,293
However, there seems to be no effort to make people who are paying by card use the ‘Card only’ tills. So you get someone with a full basket of shopping or (in Tesco) a trolley using a ‘Cash/Card’ till, while a cash payer with only a small amount of shopping has to wait.
Similar issue at my local M+S food store. Four self service tills, only one of which takes cash, but invariably it's being used by someone faffing around trying to remember their payment card PIN number, whilst the other three (card only) tills are not being used.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
19,549
Similar issue at my local M+S food store. Four self service tills, only one of which takes cash, but invariably it's being used by someone faffing around trying to remember their payment card PIN number, whilst the other three (card only) tills are not being used.

I have not seen anyone paying by cash at a self service till, or for that matter at a supermarket, for a long time. Certainly not for a year.
 

Mcr Warrior

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2009
Messages
4,293
I have not seen anyone paying by cash at a self service till, or for that matter at a supermarket, for a long time. Certainly not for a year.
Not paying by card for a packet of fruited tea cakes costing the princely sum of 79p. ;)
 

Top