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Monday, 3 October 2011

Lost In The Supermarket

Mr Justin King
Managing Director
Sainsbury's plc

Dear Sir/Madam,

I feel compelled to write to you following my experience today at one of your self service tills.

The whole experience has left me severely traumatised; you can ask my wife who witnessed (open mouthed) the whole sorry episode.

Let me say straight away that I write more in sorrow than in anger. I have shopped at Sainsbury's most of my adult life ( I remember going with my dear departed mum to the local store and watching as  the nice girls behind the counter playfully handled the butter and sliced the bacon).

I did switch to Waitrose for a while after I was mistakenly  given a 100% pay rise by my employer, but had to stop shopping "up market" when the "pay award" was withdrawn. More recently, we've been shopping at Asda, not because we want to, you understand, just that it's much cheaper.

I'm sure you're a very busy man, trying to compete with all the other supermarkets, so I'll get straight to the point.

We didn't buy too much today, what the price of things, and I pride myself as being a bit of "technophile", so we decided to use your self service tills. What with the three or four manned  tills in a state of meltdown, and at our time of life, we couldn't afford to queue.

I did like the idea of having a dedicated member of staff overseeing the self service tills: although I did wonder whether they got extremely bored just hanging around directing customers to an obviously free till. I shouldn't have worried.

Things went swimmingly initially, I was scanning my purchases with no trouble; until the small tins of cat food.

Now I really don't know who made the first error - me or the machine, but as I was scanning the tins the machine's screen flashed "Unidentified item in the bagging area". Well, I'm afraid that throw me. I had, at the time, three small tins of Sheba "Tuna and Shrimp" in my hand ready to scan. I put the tins back in my trolley but since I already scanned one of them and hadn't put it in the designated bagging area, the machine flashed up another message "Place scanned object in the bagging area". So I picked up the cat tins and put them there.

Of course, I hadn't scanned all of them so up popped "Unidentified item in the bagging area." I tried to carrying on scanning but what with the bells and flashing lights going off, the dedicated member of staff was on to me in no time.

I'm sure she was doing what she thought was for the best. But to be told to take a seat while she completed my shopping didn't go down too well, I can tell you. So I snatched a packet of Rolos ( I do so like them; always have) she was about to scan and scanned it myself. I admit I was confused, what with the "unidentified item.." incidents and my pride being hurt. Instead of putting the confectionery in the bagging area, I pocketed them.

On reflection, I can understand why my wife burst into tears. It couldn't have been nice for her seeing her loved one being frogmarched into the manager's office. 

You'll be pleased to learn that I wasn't charged with shop lifting, although it was a close run thing. The CCTV footage showed clearly my state of confusion.

All because of your stupid self service tills.  Can I suggest you also discourage you staff from being too judgemental. Just because I've a few grey hairs doesn't mean I'm senile.

I'm afraid we won't be shopping at Sainsbury's again. Not while the 6 months' ban is in place.


Anonymous said...

Bastards. It is not unknown now for smaller supermarkets to hsve no tills open in the evening and to force shoppers to use their shouty self service machines. Stick that unidentified object up your **** bagging area I say!

Steve said...

Loathe and hate self service tills. I feel like a cattle going through a pen at market rather than the farmer choosing his stick. And surely is the wrong way round.

The Sagittarian said...

I refuse to use them don't get your shopping any cheaper for doing the job yourself so bugger them I say! (Plus I have this idea that doing so is taking someone's real job away....and I won't do that willingly or knowingly either).

Marginalia said...

Dear friends many thanks for your support and words of comfort.

Your encouragement has stirred me to set up a campaign group for the banishment of these tills. Go to youknowwhereyoucanstuffyourselfservingtills/feduppensionersandfriends/

louciao said...

My husband always insists on using the bloody self-service check out and it takes 10 times longer than if we'd just lined up and let some harassed clerk do her or his job. And the store had the gall to move the magazine rack from the area so I can no longer keep myself amused by reading the celebrity rags for free or trying to memorize cooking recipes or knitting patterns.

Marginalia said...

Dear louciao, if he insists on using those infernal machines, I'd refuse to shop with him.