Coles shoppers divided over HUGE change to checkouts at Melbourne store

A war of words has erupted between Coles customers over the supermarket giant's expanded roll-out of hybrid checkouts.

It comes after one Victorian shopper claimed in a Reddit post that the Braybrook store in Melbourne no longer has cashiers.

"Coles Braybrook now only has self-check. No checkout operators any more," he wrote, alongside an image of a self-serve kiosk with a conveyor belt.

The supermarket began trialing the conveyor belts at self-serve checkouts in 2015, gradually rolling out the technology to more stores.

A Coles customers photo of a hybrid checkout at the Braybrook store. Source: Reddit/Robot_Graffiti
A Coles customer claimed the Braybrook store in Melbourne no longer has checkout operators. Source: Reddit/Robot_Graffiti

Shoppers split over technology

The man's observation triggered a heated debate among fellow Coles customers.

Some praised the technology, with one person commenting he would "prefer" to use self-serve kiosks and another stating they "should be the norm".

"I prefer them. Hate small talk. And it's way quicker," one person said.

But many disagreed and were fiercely opposed to the loss of traditional checkout operators.

"I hate using the self-checkouts, they're okay for minor things but when you have a full trolley load, doing it by yourself is chaos," one shopper commented.

Someone else slammed the move as "laziness" from Coles, while another customer quipped that "citizens" are now Coles employees and questioned whether customers would therefore get staff discounts.

"The rise of the machines," one Reddit user joked.

A photo of a hybrid checkout at the Fairfield Gardens Coles store. Source: Facebook/Fairfield Gardens Shopping Centre
Coles began trialling the conveyor belts at self-service checkouts in 2015. Source: Facebook/Fairfield Gardens Shopping Centre

A Coles employee jumped in, writing it was "very sad" to watch elderly customers and shoppers with a disability struggle with the technology.

"I work at Coles. Absolutely hate this s***. Very sad watching how it impacts elderly / disabled people / language barriers etc," the Redditor wrote.

"I'm a wheelchair user and already have enough trouble with the wheelchair trolleys, I sure as hell don't see how I'm supposed to be using this system efficiently," another customer added.

Someone else said: "It is unreasonable to expect every member of society to be able to use a self checkout."

Customers fear job losses

As always, the biggest gripe with self-serve checkouts appeared to be about job losses.

"This is why I do my big shops online, it creates a job for the picker, the packer and the delivery driver," one person commented.

Shoppers walk past at a Coles supermarket in Canberra, Wednesday, August 18, 2021. Source: AAP
Coles workers jumped to the defence of the self-serve technology, arguing staff are always available to help. Source: AAP

A second supermarket worker defended the roll-out of assisted checkouts and hit back at the suggestion that they cause job losses.

"Woolies and Coles are in the process now of hiring more people for Christmas. Shelves still need filling, the deli needs manning, ticketing and stock counting still needs to happen, so does write-offs and repairs, markdowns of almost expired stock, and so on and so forth. All of which staff can do now that they're not standing on a register for 5 hours to serve exactly 3 people, something I've done before."

Coles responds to shopper's claim

In a statement to Yahoo News, a spokesperson for Coles said a team member would always be available to help serve customers check out at the Braybrook store.

"After listening to customer feedback, we are providing Braybrook customers with additional checkout options to help them complete their shop more quickly and pack their bags the way they like," the statement reads.

"We have installed hybrid assisted checkouts at Coles Braybrook which allow team members to serve customers as required. Team members are always available throughout our service area to serve and assist shoppers with their preferred checkout of choice."

A regular customer of the Braybrook supermarket echoed this statement on Reddit.

"FYI the staff at this Coles are lovely and are more than happy to help people scan stuff if needed," the shopper wrote.

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