Kmart, Coles, Woolworths shoppers blast self-serve checkouts in viral letter

Facebook feeds across Australia are being inundated with a shared post from frustrated shoppers.

A shopper's seething status update was directed at major Australian retailers with self-serve checkouts, and other customers are now copying and pasting it to their own pages.

"Dear #Kmart, #Coles, #Woolworths etc etc and all other stores that have self checkout," the post begins.

"You are almost exclusively self-checkout now."

Left: Screenshot of viral Facebook post which attacks Kmart and other major retailers for self-serve checkouts. Right: Hand holding smart phone to pay for items at a self-serve register
Major Aussie retailers including Kmart, Coles and Woolworths are being attacked for offering self-serve checkouts in an open letter shared widely on Facebook. Source: Getty Images

It continues to reference a claim from the original poster that a staff member for an unknown chain was checking receipts as customers exited the store.

"I didn't choose to participate in that nonsense, so I just skipped the exit line and left. I heard her saying 'Ma'am' as I kept walking and raised the receipt above my head, leaving the store," it reads.

The online rant then accuses major retailers of forcing customers to be cashiers.

"You can either trust me to do self-checkout, or you can put your cashiers back in place like it used to be.

"I'm not interested in proving that I did your job for you. You want me to be a cashier with no training then that's your problem not mine.

"Don't audit me for a position you refuse to employ any longer."

Hybrid checkout at a Coles store
Coles was among the major chains named in the Facebook status update. Source: Facebook

It then ends "signed all of us" and "Copied and pasted, because I agree 100%".

Some posters even included another sly dig, tagging two supermarket competitors.

"#IGA and #Aldi still give customer service," one person who shared the post wrote.

In other variations of the viral post, social media users addressed it to additional retailers such as Big W and Bunnings.

Since emerging on the social media platform this week, the status update has been posted by numerous personal accounts, as well as directly to the pages of Kmart, Coles and Woolworths.

Many of the shared posts have been swamped with comments agreeing with the premise of the open letter.

"Yes, not only do you have to do their job for them, you have to wait 10 mins for someone to check a price, while the stupid machine in the background keeps asking 'are you finished yet?' I'm over it," one shopper commented.

Another wrote: "'I prefer humans' is my common response when asked to use the self checkouts."

"Can I get a staff discount for doing their job at the check out?" someone else asked.

Photo of a note titled
The open letter comes after Woolworths faced criticism for installing new technology at self-serve checkouts to monitor customer purchases. Source: Reddit/shairani

Woolworths responds to viral post

A spokesperson for Woolworths responded to the viral open letter in a statement to Yahoo News Australia, saying the supermarket giant provides its customers with "multiple ways to shop".

"We’re focused on providing our customers with multiple ways to shop with us, given their ever-changing needs," the statement reads.

"Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, many customers opted for safer and more convenient ways to complete their shop which include self service checkouts."

The spokesperson added that customers also "always" have the option of being served by a cashier.

"However, if customers prefer to be served by a team member that option is always available via our service desk or other manned checkouts."

Coles and Kmart have also been contacted for comment.

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