Grocery store to axe all self-service checkouts: 'We like to talk to people'

We live in a day and age where the importance of technological advancement has seen the downfall of human necessity.
From call centers to self-service checkouts at stores, people have been replaced with robots that can do the job as efficiently, but not with the same kind of charm.

While often it can be quicker and easier to use a self-checkout than queuing up for a manned till it can get pretty annoying when barcodes aren't picked up or an automated voice keeps telling you there's an "unexpected item in the bagging area".

One popular grocery store chain has recently announced that they would be scrapping all self-service checkouts as they want to be able to prioritize human connection in their customer service.
Booths, a supermarket chain in the United Kingdom that’s been selling groceries for more than 170 years, announced the major U-turn and will be implementing it in all but two of their 28 stores nationwide.

"We believe colleagues serving customers delivers a better customer experience and therefore we have taken the decision to remove self-checkouts in the majority of our stores," the company said in a statement.

Speaking to BBC Radio Lancashire via the BBC, Booths managing director Nigel Murray also spoke of the change saying: "Our customers have told us this over time, that the self-scan machines that we've got in our stores, they can be slow, they can be unreliable, they're obviously impersonal.

He continued: "We stock quite a lot of loose items - fruit and veg and bakery - and as soon as you go to a self-scan with those you've got to get a visual verification on them, and some customers don't know one different apple versus another for example.

"There's all sorts of fussing about with that and then the minute you put any alcohol in your basket somebody's got to come and check that you're of the right age," Murray added.

The director also stated that the business prides itself on their "high standards" as well as their "high levels of warm, personal care."

"We like to talk to people and we're really proud that we're moving largely to a place where our customers are served by people, by human beings, so rather than artificial intelligence, we're going for actual intelligence," he emphasized.

The company, which originally opened in 1847 in Blackpool in the north of the England, has seen mixed reactions to the decision, with some people claiming this will only increase wait times and long queues.

However, Sue from Leyland, told BBC Radio Lancashire that she's on board with the idea saying: "I think shopping is a boring, mundane thing to do and I think if staff are there chatting to you, it just makes it better."

Booths seem to agree with the opinion, adding: "Delighting customers with our warm northern welcome is part of our DNA and we continue to invest in our people to ensure we remain true to that ethos."
However, for two of their busier stores, they've decided to keep a few self-service machines.

"We will retain self-checkouts in two of our stores in the Lake District in order to meet the needs of our customers during very busy periods," they said of the decision.

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