Opinion: Self-checkouts are now regularly asking customers to prove they paid and that’s wrong
I don’t mind a self-service checkout.
Controversial I know since a recent poll suggests more than 90% of shoppers dislike them, writes columnist Lauren Abbott.
But the chance to dash in, pay for just one or two items rapidly by card (or phone) and be gone when you're short on time, is an option I appreciate.
Not least since a lack of staffed checkouts in most shops and supermarkets mean that there's rarely anything but queues four or five customers deep at the tills with cashiers. Perhaps that’s the ploy to get us all to self scan?
But what I’m increasingly starting to mind is the distrust with which shoppers taking the self-service option are being treated with.
Whether that’s an on-the-spot check of the receipt and bag contents by a member of staff in order to leave or the requirement to scan a receipt to be let through a barrier – security is being stepped up by many retailers, appointing staff as law enforcement, and it’s making me uncomfortable.
Now a sign of the times maybe. The cost of living crisis – and food prices in particular – have been off the scale and we’ve all seen the security tags now slapped on everything from baby milk to sun cream.
But we’ve already got security at the front of most stores and CCTV throughout the aisles. A line needs to be drawn somewhere.
Is it necessary to cast such aspersions on all customers as part of extra efforts to catch a minority? Since when did society become so uncomfortably distrusting that we’re having to treat paying customers with such suspicion?
Not to mention that I think to just accept this is the way it has to be now is a slippery slope we shouldn’t be going down.
If self-service checkouts are too much of a temptation for shop lifters then quite simply, don’t install them. But don’t make the rest of us prove we did the job we were directed to do.
Trust us to use the self checkouts responsibly or alternatively bring back more cashiers, open more tills and let people do their shopping without the need to prove their innocence.