‘Stop the madness’: Shopper’s drastic idea for Woolworths self-serve checkouts

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·News Reporter
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The scale at supermarket self-serve checkouts is a source of frustration for many Australians, particularly when it incorrectly insists there is an “unexpected item in the bagging area”.

In Coles and Woolworths stores, checkouts that register a discrepancy in items scanned and those placed in the bagging area, require a staff member’s approval before scanning can continue.

With Australians being on high alert for community transmission of COVID-19, some customers have expressed hygiene concerns with this system and suggested the scales be temporarily removed.

“It would be sensible and respectful of your customers’ and your staff members’ safety, if for the duration of the pandemic, you could turn off the stupid weighing part of your self-check machine software,” one shopper wrote to the Woolworths Facebook page.

There are concerns staff unlocking the self-service register after a weight discrepancy increase contamination risk. Source: Google Maps/Su
There are concerns staff unlocking the self-service register after a weight discrepancy increase contamination risk. Source: Google Maps/Su

“It doesn’t work well, necessitating numerous close-up visits by your staff to make the darn thing do what it’s supposed to do - enable you to buy your groceries.

“This situation happening at self checkouts is quite deplorable, as well as someone rifling through my shopping bags with their arm deep in there inspecting things, please bring this madness to an end.”

A Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia there would be no changes made to the weight system at self-service checkouts.

“Our self-service scales will remain on. We're installing clear protective screens between self-service checkouts in more than 500 stores,” they said.

“In stores without protective screens, we have every second self-service checkout closed.”

The spokesperson didn't specifically respond to questions about whether staff members would be changing their behaviour at self-service checkouts.

There have been customer limits put in place to ensure visitors to major supermarkets can maintain the mandatory 1.5 metre social distancing, with a host of other protection measures also adapted.

But many customers are still not satisfied supermarkets are doing all they can to limit contamination, some claiming to have witnessed in-store crowding and complaining the layout did not allow for social distancing.

“I’m disgusted by the lack of social distancing you have in this store, adjacent registers are open which mean you are standing right next to someone else,” a shopper wrote of the Coles in Parkhill Junction, in Berwick, Victoria.

There has been a call for Woolworths to remove its weighing system on self-service checkouts. Source: Google Maps/Rory McLornan
There has been a call for Woolworths to remove its weighing system on self-service checkouts. Source: Google Maps/Rory McLornan

They claimed they were “stuck sandwiched between two people” when all self-serve checkouts were opened to help clear a lengthy queue.

Someone else complained that staff at Woolworths did not appear to be wiping down self-serve checkouts between each use, and another expressed concern for staff working the self-serve area.

“Now we have screens on all registers and between self-serve checkouts, what protection does the employee working in self-service checkouts have?,” they wrote in a post to Woolies’ Facebook page.

Yahoo News Australia has contacted Coles for comment on the matter of temporarily removing the weight system at self-service checkouts.

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