‘You can do something about it’: Calls grow for a mass self-service checkout boycott

Dec 17, 2023
In an age where convenience often trumps tradition, the debate over the use of self-service checkouts has reached a fever pitch. Source: Getty Images.

In a digital rallying cry that has ignited a heated debate in communities across the country, an impassioned call for a mass boycott of self-service checkouts is gaining momentum.

The outcry, sparked by a Reddit post that struck a nerve with disgruntled consumers, has unleashed a torrent of opinions on the controversial role of automation in the retail experience.

The Reddit post, titled Boycott self-service checkouts, has become a virtual town square for frustrated shoppers to air their grievances about self-service checkouts.

The user behind the post issued a passionate plea for consumers to take a stand, highlighting the encroachment of automation on jobs and the invasion of privacy concerns technology such as this raises.

“I see endless complaints (all fair) about self-serve. The tipping point for me was the cameras showing your face. Since then I have refused to use them,” the user began.

“F*#k you, if you’re going to treat me like a thief you can employ someone to serve me. Their innocent mistake in scanning won’t result in shoplifting accusations for me.

“If there are no cashiers available I wait at the service desk till I’m served. I’m not free labour and they’re not stealing other people’s jobs and hours just because they introduce a self-serve conveyor belt or some other nonsense.

“If everyone banded together and made a conscious choice to refuse to be treated like shit, there would be more job security as they would have to put more people on. Stop supporting this shit. You can do something about it. Get in a line, wait an extra minute if you have to (often it’s actually quicker) and vote with your feet.”

While some praised the user’s rallying call, others recognised that this might be a challenging battle with no clear victory in sight.

“I admire your determination. The other day the checkout thing flashed and I had to call a staff member over… I said I had no idea what I did wrong… then they said some items ALWAYS trigger the error message when scanned, so that staff are forced to check that it has been done correctly (and that you’re not stealing something),” one fellow shopper wrote in response.

“My only gripe with the self serve is the god awful camera angle. I try not to look at my little face on the screen so that I don’t walk away feeling depressed about my face LMAO,” one added.

“I get the sentiment but I don’t think you’ll win this one. They have cctv around, so if you don’t wanna be on camera avoiding self check outs not gonna help. I like them, much faster and more pleasant!” commented another.

“I’m in this bandwagon, if there is a line go up to someone and say hey these lines are massive is there any chance that you could open another checkout? It’s amazing how fast 4-5 people come out of the back to help on the registers,” another shopper suggested.

“I try not to use them. The cost of groceries has gone up so if they think I’m going to do their job for them they should think again,” one person stated.

“You won’t win this war. Most of the day, they only have 1 or two regular checkouts open – so you can boycott self-serve all you want, but be prepared to wait half an hour to check out,” advised one user.

The self-service debate has taken centre stage recently, sparking discussions about the balance between convenience and the personal touch in the retail experience. Even among our Starts at 60 readers, opinions on this contentious issue abound.

On one side of the debate, a chorus of over-60s extols the virtues of self-service checkouts. Swift transactions and shorter queues, they argue, are a game-changer in terms of convenience.

However, a vocal segment of the over-60 demographic underscores the significance of the human touch in shopping. Nostalgically reminiscing about the bygone era when friendly cashiers handled transactions, they champion a return to more personalised retail experiences.

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up