Do You Self-Scan Or Use The Normal Checkout

As I was dragging my temperamental and hugely tired daughter (LM) around Tesco today, I was already asking the question “should I self-scan today or wait in the queue?.” Its a question I ask myself almost everytime I go to a supermarket these days.

Supermarket self-scanners

The love and frustration of barcode scanning

When I first heard about self-scanners a smile the size of canary wharf appeared on my face. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll probably guess that I was really excited about the idea of scanning barcodes on my own – leave me to the technology I can do it!

Then reality set in. It wasn’t quite as straightforward as it looked, or as time-saving, or as much fun as I thought it would be. In fact, it was a real chore. If you’ve ever tried it at Morrisons you’ll know what I mean. Any little thing can cause an error and with only one person on-call to help, it got pretty painful pretty quickly.

Barcodes on frozen food were almost impossible, anything with a tag was a nightmare, over 18/alcohol products – forget it, bad packaging, special offers, fruit and veg. You name it, if it wasn’t a straightforward cereal box, the scanner would refuse and flash up an error.

Then there was the bagging process. You have to put the product into the bag before you can continue scanning. I’m sure there’s an art to this, but everything I put into the bag is a problem. Don’t even try to buy a product from the craft section – a packet of stickers for your child? Forget it. It weighs as much as a feather and the self-scan would rather throw up a bag of frozen peas then move onto the next product.

Its not just the self-scanner either. If you, like me, go round supermarkets with kids the decision is even harder. If I self-scan I have a constant fight with LM not to remove anything from the bags once they’ve been scanned. Its a fight that’s usually not worth having as bells and lights start flashing and a bored assistant swipes their card, rolling their eyes each time.

If I decide to line up in a normal checkout, then I have to keep a constant eye on her as she wanders off to whatever takes her fancy – usually a ride-on machine that the supermarket has tortured parents with not only outside the store these days, but at the end of the checkout lines. Or, on worse days and usually at Morrisons (again) who seem to have the most useless exits, making sure LM doesn’t force her way through closed checkout lines and those pointlessly annoying emergency exit barriers – causing all the alarms to go off.

All in all, on top of the hassle of grocery shopping, plowing through dubious promotions and price changes, supermarkets have made it even harder as I have to make my choice how I prefer to buy my shopping as well.

What about you? Do you prefer the self scanning checkouts or queue in lines waiting for a cashier?

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5 Responses to Do You Self-Scan Or Use The Normal Checkout

  1. Mellissa williams says:

    My Co-op has such surly staff it’s nice not to have to interact with them! One downside to self-scan trying to find an assistant when you’ve bought a bottle of wine 🙂 and I do find it annoying when the machine talks to you like you are a kid… when you are waiting for the product to settle. I often get strange looks as I talk back to the checkout!

  2. gadgetmum says:

    Does the Co-op one talk to you? Must try and find one of those!

  3. I hate self scanning! Those machines don’t like me. They don’t do clothes either because there’s no way of removing the tags. I prefer to queue. Glad it’s not just me who dislikes the things! @chaoskay

    • gadgetmum says:

      lol I think you speak for a lot of people! The thing is, I really WANT to like them and I keep using them if I’ve only got a few things…but even a small basket takes ages

  4. Dawn Costen says:

    I am with you I REALLY WANT to like them, but I fear I am too stupid to use them! Each time I have used them it has been a disaster! I think on one trip I actually ended up stealing something, but not quite sure…. oh the shame! Another trip ended up with the machine beeping at me constantly because I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong until my friend pointed out that the bag needs to be left on the scale thing instead of being lifted by me each time I put something in for her! Oops! So, yeah..anyway I steer well clear of self service even though I am magnetically drawn to wanting to use them…I am not allowing myself the humiliation any more!

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