Moreover, other supermarket chains were now stationing employees to check that self-checkouters really had paid.
I kept wondering what was wrong with this picture. Why were all these fine supermarkets suddenly experiencing a lack of human trust?
Going to a human cashier is often quicker, as they're good at what they do, know all the codes for produce, and even do the bagging for you.
Going to a self-checkout simply involves you attempting to do its jobs without any prior training.
Now, though, a big supermarket chain has instituted another fine wheeze. The British chain Sainsbury's -- quite a posh place, on a good day -- has installed barriers after you perform your self-checkout duties.
As the Manchester Evenings News reported, self-checkouters now have to scan their receipts before being allowed to leave the building.
Please imagine the shoppers' frustration. Self-checkout is meant to be quicker. Now there's one more thing shoppers have to remember in order to complete the task.
Well, let's hear the words of one disgruntled Sainsbury's customer: "Essentially they are holding [people] hostage against their will as they refuse to let people leave without scanning a receipt that not everyone chooses to get in the first place. What will they do? Hold someone hostage and rifle through bags before releasing you?"
Very possibly, I imagine. Perhaps they'll have to hire a full-time self-checkout security person, who'll be paid more than they pay the cashiers.
One can, of course, understand retailers wanting to use technology to save money. Supermarket retailing is a low-margin business. Why, Walmart is even threatening to close stores because of an increase in pilfering.
Moreover, Sainsbury's insists this is "not a new security measure and features in a small number of our stores at the self-service checkout areas." (I wonder how the company chose which stores would enjoy this fine service.)
Too often, technology is being used to turn customers into employees, without there being sufficient benefit for the customers.