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Supermarket Self Service Tills

Wuffle

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Another initiative that ran alongside was the Greenbox. From memory these had to be purchased, but the idea was that the customer brought their boxes from home and scanned the shopping straight into them so that there was no packing required at the end. Special trolleys were introduced to carry them.
The Greenbox - we still have 4 of them
 
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trainophile

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I prioritise using local shops rather supermarkets, cash rather than cards, and operator tills rather than self-scan.

My ideal is my local greengrocer, where I buy most of my fruit and veg:
  • nothing is prepacked (except eggs in boxes), so I can buy the exact numbers and sizes of each item that I want
  • there's no plastic packaging, if I want to keep small items like sprouts together there are wads of brown paper bags hung up on string around the shop
  • when I've got everything I want, I take it to a wooden counter in one corner, where ...
  • the greengrocer weighs items that are sold by weight on a mechanical scales and counts those that are sold by number, and ...
  • works out a total price using an unknown algorithm that always gives the answer as a multiple of 50p
  • money goes into, and change is taken from, a compartmented wooden drawer below the counter
There are no barcodes, scanners, receipts, nor even a till. All payments are strictly cash only as they do not have a card or phone reader. Their system is proof against bank system failures, internet outages, and even power cuts, though in that event they might need a few candles in the winter.

Despite (or may be because of) all the above, it's a pretty busy shop!

Wow that sounds amazing, you're very lucky to have such a place nowadays. Are the prices competitive? I expect so, local independent fruit and veg shops often are.
 

DelW

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Wow that sounds amazing, you're very lucky to have such a place nowadays. Are the prices competitive? I expect so, local independent fruit and veg shops often are.
It's not that easy to tell, since no prices are displayed anywhere - it's all based on trust really. But I generally have a rough idea of what I'd be paying for a similar quantity from my local Sainsbury's, and I think it's usually cheaper or at least competitive. Plus there's often a free comedy routine between the greengrocer and his son who also works there :D
 

Bald Rick

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Another initiative that ran alongside was the Greenbox

Ah yes I was going to mention the greenbox in my post but forgot. The precursor to the bag for life I suppose - but I seem to recall buying one was quite expensive for its day. You often see these out and about quite a bit now a days at allotments and food banks amongst other places

...and in my garage!
 

PeterC

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I hate self scanning at Tesco or Sainsbury's. The tills can never cope with the weight of a shopping bag so everything has to stack on the scales before being packed. Waitrose, or at least the branches that I have used, don't check the weight which makes things much quicker. Waitrose does have the disadvantage that the system attracts the occasional person with a fully loaded trolleys who then block the tills on either side as they transfer a car boot load of shopping from trolley to an massive collection of shopping bags rather than have a few seconds of human interaction with a cashier.

Scan as you go is perfect if you need more than a couple of items. I don't know about the other supermarkets but with Waitrose no separate application is required, you just need their loyalty card.
 

61653 HTAFC

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I never use self service tills; I much prefer to keep people in their jobs...
I'm not convinced that anyone has been made redundant due to self-checkouts. Supermarkets will no doubt have reduced headcount of checkout operators but this will have been done through natural turnover/redeployment.

It is interesting to see how different chains (and even different branches of the same chain) operate their self-service tills though. My local big-brand supermarket tries to get away with having one supervisor for about 16 tills (including the "self-scan" part) which inevitably leads to queues and delays. Their nearest large competitor always has two people available, and as a result you're rarely kept waiting even if you've a load of security tags and restricted items to deal with.
 

Wuffle

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I'm not convinced that anyone has been made redundant due to self-checkouts. Supermarkets will no doubt have reduced headcount of checkout operators but this will have been done through natural turnover/redeployment
In conversations with staff, when servicing said self checkouts (job creation there for Software, Hardware and Install "engineers" or technicians as well ) many were moved to other roles - pickers and drivers for customer delivery, shelf stackers, etc.,
Many stores opened for 24 hours and would have 1 manned checkout and the self checkouts open
 

Gloster

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I'm not convinced that anyone has been made redundant due to self-checkouts. Supermarkets will no doubt have reduced headcount of checkout operators but this will have been done through natural turnover/redeployment.
Even if nobody is made redundant, there may be a reduction in staff numbers due to not replacing those who leave for other reasons. As a result there are fewer people starting jobs at the supermarket, a reduction in job opportunities for those coming onto the jobs market and an increase in the general level of unemployment. The taxpayer then pays more so that the supermarket can save. (I realise that this is is a bit of a simplistic way of looking at things, but, as Lenin may or may not have said, ‘Everything is connected to everything else’.)
 

61653 HTAFC

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Even if nobody is made redundant, there may be a reduction in staff numbers due to not replacing those who leave for other reasons. As a result there are fewer people starting jobs at the supermarket, a reduction in job opportunities for those coming onto the jobs market and an increase in the general level of unemployment. The taxpayer then pays more so that the supermarket can save. (I realise that this is is a bit of a simplistic way of looking at things, but, as Lenin may or may not have said, ‘Everything is connected to everything else’.)
Though in that case, we're talking bigger things than self-service checkouts in supermarkets.
It's naïve in the extreme to think that by insisting on using a traditional checkout, you'll force the hand of Tesco to not do everything in their power to minimise costs and maximise revenue.

The only thing that would stem the tide of automation would be if it reduced profits for the supermarket. Losses through theft were obviously high enough at my local supermarket, that at the start of lockdown they closed off one of the exits from the self-scan tills, forcing everyone to exit through the crowded self-checkout area. It was only after multiple complaints (including from the local MP) that they reversed this policy.
 

Busaholic

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Safeway actually started work on the ABC card first, but Tesco beat them to market.
Seem to remember that Clubcard was rushed through in response to a sophisticated attempt to extort large sums of money from Tesco by blackmail, involving such pre-internet tricks as coded small ads in newspapers.
 

ABB125

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Seem to remember that Clubcard was rushed through in response to a sophisticated attempt to extort large sums of money from Tesco by blackmail, involving such pre-internet tricks as coded small ads in newspapers.
I've never heard of that (admittedly it was before I was born!). What was going on/who was trying to blackmail Tesco?
 

GusB

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Safeway actually started work on the ABC card first, but Tesco beat them to market.
I wasn't aware that Safeway were slightly ahead, although I knew that ABC had been piloted elsewhere and was slowly being rolled out on a store-by-store basis. Our store (Aberdeen King Street) received it earlier than most in the region, presumably because a refit was planned, along with the installation of Shop'n'Go. I was one of the unfortunate people who were chosen to stand at a table by the front door to promote the damn thing, and one of the most common responses I got was "aye, ye's are jist copyin Tesco!"
 

py_megapixel

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I wasn't aware that Safeway were slightly ahead, although I knew that ABC had been piloted elsewhere and was slowly being rolled out on a store-by-store basis. Our store (Aberdeen King Street) received it earlier than most in the region, presumably because a refit was planned, along with the installation of Shop'n'Go. I was one of the unfortunate people who were chosen to stand at a table by the front door to promote the damn thing, and one of the most common responses I got was "aye, ye's are jist copyin Tesco!"
I don't remember the early scan-as-you-shop systems in Safeway. How did they compare to the modern ones?
 

Busaholic

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I've never heard of that (admittedly it was before I was born!). What was going on/who was trying to blackmail Tesco?
I'm afraid I don't recall many of the details, but it was the police and the (attempted) blackmailer who were exchanging the small ads. I do remember that Tesco later attempted as much damage limitation as possible and would never admit that Clubcard was started, or activated, in response to the blackmail attempts, but it was the police who provided the evidence, POSSIBLY at trial, but again my memory is hazy. I believe it helped spawn subsequent attempts by (sometimes psychopathic) individuals to extort large sums of money from that unfortunate supermarket (a term I thought I'd never use of them.)
 

ABB125

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See here under 'Incidents'.

I'm afraid I don't recall many of the details, but it was the police and the (attempted) blackmailer who were exchanging the small ads. I do remember that Tesco later attempted as much damage limitation as possible and would never admit that Clubcard was started, or activated, in response to the blackmail attempts, but it was the police who provided the evidence, POSSIBLY at trial, but again my memory is hazy. I believe it helped spawn subsequent attempts by (sometimes psychopathic) individuals to extort large sums of money from that unfortunate supermarket (a term I thought I'd never use of them.)
Thanks.
If anyone else is interested, here's the relevant text:
In January 1995, Frank Riolfo, a former member of the Royal Army Medical Corps, attempted to blackmail Tesco, forcing the introduction of the previously trialled discount card. Threatening to inject AIDS-infected blood into stock, Riolfo demanded payment via Tesco's new loyalty card system.[4]

The cards, he specified, were to contain magnetic strips allowing them to function secretly as ATM cash withdrawal cards. Coded copies of the PIN code were published under his instruction in National newspapers. Clubcard was subsequently launched nationally with a Direct Marketing campaign by Evans Hunt Scott, Terry Hunt's advertising agency.

Customers, including Riolfo's wife, signed up to the scheme and collected a card. Riolfo and his wife then toured the country withdrawing cash until they were eventually caught on 22 April 1995.[5] Frank Riolfo pleaded guilty and was jailed for six years, after appeal.[6] The loyalty card scheme was not discontinued.

In the end of 2000, Robert Edward Dyer made a similar attempt at extortion involving Clubcards with a magnetic strip for ATM withdrawals. Dyer sent several letter bombs, one of which exploded when the recipient opened it, before Dyer was arrested in February 2001.[7] David Sainsbury, then chairman of J Sainsbury plc, rejected the idea of introducing a similar scheme. However, the effect that Clubcard had on Sainsbury's sales led to the reversal of that decision, with the launch of the Sainsbury's Reward Card in June 1996.[8]

After two slight amendments to the design of cards in the 1990s by Evans Hunt Scott's creative team, the scheme had a major relaunch in 2005 with all members being sent personalised cards and key fobs which could be scanned at the checkout, rather than swiped. The scheme was again relaunched in 2008 with all seven million members once again being sent new design cards and key fobs.
 

trainophile

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Interesting that some supermarkets seem to be steering away from collecting points on loyalty cards, instead of which they are introducing at-checkout discounts on certain products linked to having a loyalty card. Tesco I think started it (some excellent up to almost half price savings over the last couple of months) and I now see Morrisons are following suit. As I never got the point of the Morrisons More card (scanned it every time but never got a thing back) that is good news.
 

roversfan2001

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Interesting that some supermarkets seem to be steering away from collecting points on loyalty cards, instead of which they are introducing at-checkout discounts on certain products linked to having a loyalty card. Tesco I think started it (some excellent up to almost half price savings over the last couple of months) and I now see Morrisons are following suit. As I never got the point of the Morrisons More card (scanned it every time but never got a thing back) that is good news.
Morrisons More is quite possibly the worst loyalty card scheme I've ever come across - I'm not surprised they're moving over to a discount model rather than points collection. I don't think Tesco will ditch Clubcard points anytime soon, the 'Clubcard Prices' seem to be put in instead of the standard offers to try to encourage more people to sign up to it.
 
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Interesting that some supermarkets seem to be steering away from collecting points on loyalty cards, instead of which they are introducing at-checkout discounts on certain products linked to having a loyalty card. Tesco I think started it (some excellent up to almost half price savings over the last couple of months) and I now see Morrisons are following suit. As I never got the point of the Morrisons More card (scanned it every time but never got a thing back) that is good news.
I would prefer points. I have used points every year for a few years now to pay for my Eurotunnel tickets, meaning I get a return ticket for less than £10. All worked well until last year. As holidays were cancelled I couldn't use the ticket. If I had paid using another means I would have got my money back. However, I was given a voucher which I have to use by August this year, and it says in no circumstances will it be extended. So, unless I can get a further extension I have lost my points. Luckily I have accumulated enough points to buy by that method again.
 

Darandio

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Morrisons More is quite possibly the worst loyalty card scheme I've ever come across - I'm not surprised they're moving over to a discount model rather than points collection. I don't think Tesco will ditch Clubcard points anytime soon, the 'Clubcard Prices' seem to be put in instead of the standard offers to try to encourage more people to sign up to it.

Morrisons More was fantastic when it first started because they completely miscalculated how it worked. It was very easy to at least have the machine print at least one £5 voucher for you per week, often two.

They also did a few partner deals, one of which was with Sambonet who create really high quality knives and it ran for a couple of months. Every £10 got you a sticker and 20 stickers allowed you to pick four Sambonet products, these were both single knives and packs. During those two months we got around £140 worth of knives simply from our normal shopping (household of five) habits. Still got every one and they are all as sharp as the day they we got them.

Suffice to say they completely overhauled the points system and did away with partner offers once they realised their sums didn't add up!
 

BluePenguin

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I've given up on cash mainly because I pay for as much as I can on a cashback credit card, which I pay off in full every month. It earns me a decent amount of free money every year. Other than that, I will deliberately use whatever methods of communication involve the most admin as often as I can.
Which card is this I wonder? I am interested. I might like to sign up for it and earn you a referral bonus if you like. My inbox is open...
 

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