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Coles photo sparks uproar over new 'hybrid' checkouts: 'Ridiculous'

The major change will see increasingly fewer staff at checkouts.

A Coles store in Queensland has ditched traditional checkouts in favour of 'hybrid self-assisted' registers in a move that's caused surprising outrage among Aussie shoppers.

A photo of the newly renovated Mount Gravatt store in Brisbane was shared on Twitter on Saturday showing the new self-serve registers with conveyor belts and no staff meaning customers would be required to scan their shopping themselves with the option for employees to step in when needed.

Speaking of the change on Weekend Today this morning, 2GB's Clinton Maynard called the move "ridiculous", saying a lot of people don't like such new technology. "Last week Woolworths got rid of plastic bags, this week, Coles getting rid of checkouts. What's next, getting rid of food from supermarkets?" he complained. "We still need those staff for people who need to go to a checkout."

Coles self serve hybrid checkout Mount Gravatt Coles store in Brisbane.
Customers weren't happy about the new hybrid self-serve checkouts at the Mount Gravatt Coles store in Brisbane. Source: Twitter/IreneMayPearce1

Nationals leader David Littleproud, who also appeared on the program, said it's not ideal for elderly customers. "Those older people need people. It is about the human contact and the services they get," he said.

Shoppers slam new 'self-service technology

Brisbane shopper Lara, who posted the photo on Twitter, said the store is "completely self-service only" and was worried it was the first to come of many. It follows another Coles supermarket in Melbourne which last year did the same leaving some locals unimpressed.

"I was told that Coles have done research. Apparently, we all asked for this," she tweeted. "It is the 1st store in Qld and in the future all stores will be same. The staff found my disgust amusing."

Many other social media users appeared annoyed by the store's move.

Coles self serve checkout with conveyor belt.
Coles began trialling the conveyor belts at self-service checkouts in 2015. Source: Facebook/Fairfield Gardens Shopping Centre

"Great, not! and you have to call for assistance every 3rd item because there is something unexpected in the bagging area," one person wrote. "Most people I’ve met and spoken to at self checkout don’t know how to use it, don’t like it and prefer being served for what they’re paying for," said another.

Many suggested shopping at small and local grocery stores instead.

Customers fear job loss

One of the biggest concerns with supermarket technology is job loss with many expressing worry over fewer supermarket workers being needed. In response to the change at the Melbourne store last year, one person said they now only shop online. "It creates a job for the picker, the packer and the delivery driver," they said.

Defending the checkouts, a Coles spokesperson previously told Yahoo rollout of the new system allows team members to serve customers as required. "Team members are always available throughout our service area to serve and assist shoppers," the spokesperson said.

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