Woolworths photo shows major customer gripe: 'Constant issue'

A Queensland man has taken to Facebook to vent his frustrations concerning long queues caused by a lack of checkout staff at his local Woolworths store.

"Just your average Sunday afternoon at Kippa-Ring, standing in a queue because you insist automation is the answer," the customer posted to the Woolworths Facebook page on Sunday, referring to the increased presence of self-serve checkouts.

"7 trolleys deep and one normal register open, meanwhile you post record profits," he continued. "Just put a 15 year old on already!"

Queue of shoppers in Woolworths store
A Queensland man has taken to Facebook to share his frustrations with the long queue at his local Woolworths store. Source: Facebook/S. Short

The shopper then went on to lament the lack of competition in the Australian supermarket space and stated that in the future, he will be avoiding the Kippa-Ring Woolies in favour of a soon-to-be-opened IGA.

"I wish there was more competition in Australian groceries. I've just come back from the UK on holiday and not only was it cheaper, it was so much better," he wrote.

"Can't wait for our new IGA to be open next week. Every chance I get to avoid this particular Woolworths going forward I will take. This is a constant issue and I've raised it before."

Reactions to the post were mixed, with another shopper from Queensland saying she'd just had the same experience at her local store.

"Had the same issue at our local Woolies yesterday," she commented. "Only ever one register open at their busiest times it seems."

Customers using self-serve registers at a Woolworths Metro store
Self-serve checkouts are increasingly prevalent at Woolworths and other supermarkets. Source: Getty

Meanwhile a number of shoppers from the UK denied the man's claims that queues were shorter there, placing the blame on the customer.

"This is pretty standard on a weekend, and shock horror, we pack our own bags too," wrote one UK resident, while another commented, "Automation is the answer if you're not too feckless to work out how to use it."

A frustrating trend?

When self-serve checkout technology was first introduced more than a decade ago, other registers largely remained manned, giving customers the freedom to check out in a fashion convenient for them.

However, an apparent trend towards understaffing checkouts in order to encourage customer flow through self-service has elicited a growing number of customer complaints voiced via social media of late.

Earlier this month, a post criticising self-service technology at Woolworths, Coles and Kmart went viral, with numerous Facebook users sharing it on their own pages and those of the retailers mentioned.

Woolworths responds

Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, a Woolies spokesperson confirmed the company was aware of the complaint about the Kippa-Ring store and assured customers that staffed checkouts are always available should they wish to use them.

"We're aware of the customer's social media feedback and have passed that onto our Kippa-Ring operations team," the spokesperson said.

"Customers can always expect service at our manned checkouts, and are encouraged to speak with their friendly local store team directly should they have any questions."

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